arnold-schwarzenegger-biceps-curl-alternateI’m going to tell you something the “functional fitness” crowd doesn’t want you to hear.

If you do biceps curls or triceps extensions, your arms will grow.

I know, I know…not functional what so ever and a waste of time, right?

The “functional fitness” folk will tell you rows, chin ups, bench presses and overhead presses will work your bis and tris so you don’t need to worry about adding in arm specific work. This is almost true…but your size gains will be limited.

Why do you train (if you don’t train for a sport)? To build wide shoulders, a thick back, huge pecs and arms that fill your shirt sleaves, right? Ladies, isn’t it nice to have nice arms in your sleeveless shirts? Well, let me tell you both now, isolation exercises are the icing on the cake if your goal is having nice arms.

You’re not going to build your arms (the way you want) with just compound lifts. How do you think Arnold built those huge guns? Multi-joint lifts AND isolation-type exercises.

So there you have it. Arm isolation training isn’t weightlifting blasphemy…that’s what the best bodybuilders have been doing for years. The next time a “functional” trainer tells you to stop curling, tell them that biceps curls ARE functional training for bodybuilders and trainees who want bigger arms!

In light of this fact, here are a few biceps curls variations you can add into your program.

But you have to promise me one thing. No curling in the squat rack!

curling in the squat rack

1. Standing barbell curl, palms up.

2. Standing barbell curl, palms down.

3. Standing barbell curl, mixed grip.

4. Perfect Curl, palms up.

5. Perfect Curl, palms down.

6. Standing barbell curl, palms up 21s.

7. Standing barbell curl, palms down 21s.

8. Standing EZ bar curl, palms up.

9. Standing EZ bar curl, palms down.

10. Standing EZ bar curl, palms up 21s.

11. Standing EZ bar curl, palms down 21s.

12. Standing barbell cheat curl, palms up.

13. Standing barbell cheat curl, palms down.

14. Standing single arm barbell curl, palm up.

15. Standing single arm barbell curl, palm down.

16. Standing dumbbell hammer curl.

17. Standing dumbbell hammer curl 21s.

18. Standing cross body alternating hammer curl.

19. Standing dumbbell curl, palms up.

20. Standing dumbbell curl, palms down.

21. Standing dumbbell curl, palms up 21s.

22. Standing dumbbell curl, palms down 21s.

23. Standing dumbbell Zottman curl.

24. Standing dumbbell corkscrew curl (palms down, rotate to palms up while curling up, reverse to lower).

25. Standing dumbbell curl, palms up, alternating sides.

26. Standing dumbbell curl, palms up, holding one arm at 90-deg while performing reps with the opposite arm.

26. Standing dumbbell curl, palms down, alternating sides.

27. Standing dumbbell curl, palms down, holding one arm at 90-deg while performing reps with the opposite arm.

28. Incline bench, face up, dumbbell curl, palms up.

29. Incline bench, face up, dumbbell curl, palms up, alternating sides.

30. Incline bench, face up, dumbbell curl, palms up, 21s.

31. Incline bench, face up, dumbbell curl, palms up, holding one arm at 90-deg while performing reps with the opposite arm.

32. Incline bench, face up, dumbbell corkscrew curl.

33. Incline bench, face up, dumbbell hammer curl.

34. Incline bench, face up, dumbbell hammer curl, alternating sides.

35. Incline bench, face up, dumbbell hammer curl, 21s.

36. Incline bench, face up, dumbbell hammer curl, holding one arm at 90-deg while performing reps with the opposite arm.

37. Incline bench, face down, dumbbell curl, palms up.

38. Incline bench, face down, barbell curl, palms up.

39. Incline bench, face down, dumbbell curl, palms down.

40. Incline bench, face down, barbell curl, palms down.

41. Incline bench, face down, dumbbell hammer curl.

42. Incline bench, face down, dumbbell corkscrew curl.

43. Incline bench, face down, dumbbell Zottman curl.

44. Incline bench, face down, dumbbell curl, palms up, 21s.

45. Incline bench, face down, dumbbell curl, palms down, 21s.

46. Incline bench, face down, dumbbell hammer curl, 21s.

47. Low cable rope curl.

48. Low cable straight bar curl, palms up.

49. Low cable straight bar curl, palms down.

50. Low cable straight bar curl, palms up, 21s.

51. Low cable straight bar curl, palms down, 21s.

52. Preacher EZ curl, palms up.

53. Preacher dumbbell single arm curl, palm up.

54. Preacher dumbbell single arm curl, palm up, 21s.

55. Preacher dumbbell single arm hammer curl.

56. Dumbbell concentration curl.

57. Trink Curl.

I could keep going with Fat Grip variations, and band resisted variations, but I’ll be here all night (and I think you get the point). Don’t just stick with one type of curl…you’ll limit your growth potential and most likely get board.

2-Tickets_2If you’re looking for an arm specialization program, my colleague Dan Trink, from Trink Fitness just released his new product today called 2 Tickets to the Gun Show. It’s a 4-week program, dedicated to making your guns bigger (who doesn’t want that!?). I went through the program last night and it looks pretty good (it should be as Dan writes for Men’s Fitness, Muscle & Fitness, Livestrong.com and T-Nation among other high profile outlets). This ebook explains the program and the premise behind it (giving you huge guns!). It’s on sale this week for only $14.99.

Check it out HERE.

For real life results, my other buddy Jon Goodman gave the program a go last month and saw some nice gains!

jon goodman hylete

That’s a wrap.

Get your tickets to the gun show. This program works.

-JK

trap bar deadlift

A few of my wonderful friends and colleagues recommended JKC. I was told by one colleague that “It’ll be the best thing you ever do for yourself” and she was right! To be honest, I didn’t have much experience in any gym setting. And NO prior weight training experience. It was always so overwhelming! But from the first day, nothing was intimidating about JKC. Each workout is set up just for me, and with my specific skills and goals in mind. There are no stupid questions, you learn as you go, and what I really love, I always feel included and important, regardless of my skills/experience.

I originally chose JKC to help me rehab following back surgery. JKC was the first gym where a trainer took the time to help me identify my goals and tailor my workouts to achieve them in a safe and doable manner. 🏋🏼 Jon & Thomas are both highly professional and knowledgeable. 👨🏼‍🎓 With their guidance and informative explanations 🗣 they have enabled me to reach my ever evolving goals. At JKC I’m guaranteed fun 😆, interesting 🙃 and diverse workouts, with Jon & Thomas forever supportive and encouraging. 👏🙌👍👊

I heard somewhere that achieving your health goals is determined largely by what you do in the kitchen. I am grateful to have found Julia who brought direction and accountability to this most important piece for me. Having Julia in my corner has brought me confidence and certainty that I am on my way to achieving my goals. I highly recommend her if you are serious about making a change and feeling better about your health.

I’ve always been a gym rat, but was getting tired of the same ol’ routine. My better half was attending JKC and encouraged me to try it out. My favourite part of JKC is that is isn’t a gym – it’s a community. Jon and Thomas are awesome, and I love that every time I go I know who’s working out with me and we can socialize while working on our health. Everyone is supportive, encouraging and genuinely looks out for one another. It’s an upbeat and positive experience and I can honestly say that I look forward to each and every workout.

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Julia designed weekly meal plans that were complete with recipes and shopping lists. The food choices were nutritious, easy to prepare, and ensured that I felt well nourished and energized throughout my training and non-training days. Not only do I feel leaner and more fit, but I have more energy and I feel much more in tune with my body and food choices. Julia really helped me put everything in place so I can continue this process going forward- I cannot thank her enough!

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