Curls InfoDecide whether biceps curls are worth doing for lifters and bodybuilders.
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Curls. In gyms around the world, men are doing biceps curls. For some of these men, this might even be their entire workout. Other guys might do some bench presses as well. Are curls even worth doing? Should we do only total body exercises?

Isolation. First, curls are an isolation exercise. They work only the biceps and accessory muscles on the arms. Isolation exercises cause less hormone release by the brain. Compound exercises cause greater hormone levels.

So For this reason, compound exercises, particularly the squat and deadlift, lead to more muscle growth.

And Curls, and other isolation exercises, perhaps lead to isolated muscle growth, but less total-body enhancement.

There is some logic that once you have done lots of compound work, and are overall muscular, isolation exercises are more useful. After all, you do not need to develop base musculature any longer. This may be true.

However For most men, developing that base muscularity will require many years of work—perhaps five years.

For beginners, and young men who have been lifting for fewer than five years, isolation exercises are not the focus. Most advanced lifters and professional bodybuilders are not reading this site.

Priority. Isolation exercises like the barbell curl or dumbbell curl may have a place in your workout. They can be placed in low-priority part of your workout. First, you can do your heavy lifts like squats and deadlifts and bench presses.

Then, you can put curls at the tail end of your workout. Mentally, you can consider these an extra or bonus lift, not part of your core workout. The curls can ensure you get bulging biceps. And they are sometimes fun to do.

Enjoyment. Do you enjoy doing curls? I have enjoyed doing curls throughout my years of lifting weights. I received that benefit from them. And perhaps, for most weight lifters, the enjoyment is the most important part.

Tip If you enjoy doing a lift, it is best to keep doing it unless it might lead to injury. Don't make life harder than it needs to be.

Show muscles. Biceps are important show muscles. For guys, the biceps along with the pectoralis muscles are important for attracting the opposite sex. For this reason, the biceps curls can be kept as the low-priority part of a workout.

Attracting the opposite sex is important for the reproductive aspect of our species. And if bulging biceps make you more likely to achieve this, doing curls is likely worthwhile. The mental, and social, aspect of lifting is key.

Injury. It is important to avoid injuries when doing curls. The easiest way to avoid this is to simply do no curls. The second easiest way is to do fewer curls. And the third option is to use lighter weights.

In my view, heavy weights should be used for compound lifts such as squats and deadlifts. For isolation exercises, like curls, lighter weights are better. Even weights below your capacity are acceptable.

Scientific research has been done on using lighter weights. And the results were positive. Doing variable-resistance training is a good way to keep your lifting program in success. You don't have to lift heavy every time.

High-resistance, variable-resistance training

Also Because of the nature of curls, they are more likely to provoke injuries. I have hurt my wrists with them before.

Tip The best way to recover from a minor injury caused by curls is to take a break from doing curls for several weeks.

How Often to Lift

Elderly. Exercise is often thought of as a domain for young, healthy people. But elderly people also benefit from it. Biceps curls are an exercise used to train older, less-able people. It is used along with other low-impact lifting exercises.

Quote The authors of this study examined the effects of a 16-week exercise program... in older adults who reported and exhibited limited functional ability.

Structured exercise in older adults

In the study, several exercises were used to measure fitness. Participants had to get off the floor, use stairs, and stand up from a chair. The biceps curl, with dumbbells, was included.

Quote Dependent variables tested included measures of fitness... and measures of functional capacity (time to and off the floor, stair test, chair stand, and biceps curl) (Structured exercise in older adults).

Story. Curls and I go way back. I started doing curls in my parent's garage when I was about 14 years old. This was actually a good thing—it taught me about the benefits of physical exercise.

However, my biggest problem in those early years were that I never moved on to any more advanced exercises. I did some chest and shoulder work with dumbbells, but nothing with barbells. Curls were a large part of my workout.

And I recommend dumbbell curls for young weight lifters. It is a fun and easy way to get started and learn about lifting.

Tip As time progresses, and if you remain interested in lifting, you will probably progress to more advanced lifts.

Summary. I recommend doing curls, but leaving them as a low-priority part of your workouts. Do curls after you do your heavy, important lifts. Curls are important for self-confidence, enjoyment, reproductive behaviors and vanity.

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