Even with just something to sit on and one weight, you can work your biceps in many ways. Find out how to do concentration curls and why you could.
Concentration curls are a bicep curl variation where you sit down on a sturdy object and put your upper arm against your inner thigh.
By doing this it becomes easier to isolate your biceps since your upper arm is not able to move. In turn, this can lead to slightly faster and more bicep muscle gain.
Additionally, due to the difference in the upward angle, the concentration curl focuses slightly more on the long head (outer head) of the bicep muscle compared to a regular bicep curl.
One potential downside of concentration curls to note is that you have to work one arm at a time. This can make it so your bicep workouts require slightly more time.
How to do a concentration curl
First of all, you need some type of bicep workout equipment as resistance to do concentration curls. A good dumbbell is preferred but you could also consider a resistance band.
Additionally, you need something stable to sit on that can hold you and the resistance option you choose.
Once you have these requirements, take the following steps to do a concentration curl:
- Sit on the object with your upper legs at about a 90-degree angle. Put the dumbbell right next to the foot of the arm you want to work out first.
- Put the lower back of your upper arm of the dumbbell side on the inside of your leg on the same side. Hold the dumbbell but keep your arm slightly less than stretched.
- Slowly fold the arm with the dumbbell at the elbow as far as comfortable. Keep your upper arm in the same position throughout the movement.
- Lower the dumbbell back into the position of step 2 in a controlled motion.
- Complete your set and repeat the same number of repetitions on the other side.
The concentration curl position makes this somewhat easier but you still want to pay extra attention to keeping your upper arm and the rest of your body in the same position.
Muscles worked with concentration curls
The main muscles you work with concentration curls are your biceps brachii (often just called biceps) and your brachialis muscles (deeper upper arm muscles).
More specifically, due to the different upward angle, you work the long head (the outer head) of the biceps brachii slightly more compared to a regular bicep curl.
Keep in mind that you still need to implement the right bicep curl reps and sets with enough weight to see your desired training results.
As you get stronger, you will need more and more pounds or kilograms of weight to keep seeing the same progress.
Concentration curl benefits
Concentration curls are not the most essential exercise out there but for their specific purposes, they still offer nice benefits. Some examples include:
- Better isolation: Bicep curls are generally done to isolate bicep muscles. One potential downside is that you can also engage other muscles to lift the weight. Concentration curls make it easier to only use your biceps.
- Stronger muscles: Doing concentration curls with enough weight and reps can make a few upper arm muscles stronger.
- Bigger upper arms: Having bigger upper arms is typically considered to be a benefit from a visual perspective. Concentration curls can help with this.
- Does not require a lot of gym equipment: You only need a dumbbell or resistance band and something to sit on to do concentration curls. This helps you avoid big investments in equipment and makes the exercise at-home-friendly.
You don’t have to stick to concentration curls for some of these benefits.
However, the low equipment requirements for keeping your upper arms in place do stand out from many other dumbbell bicep exercises.
Concentration curl alternatives
While concentration curls can be a great option for working your upper arms, there are other exercise options that can help with this too.
A few of these concentration curl alternatives are:
- Preacher curls
- Bicep curls with an arm blaster
- Cross-body curls
- Incline bench bicep curls
- Wall bicep curls
What equipment you have available and what upper arm muscles you want to focus slightly more on will decide which of these alternatives you like the most.
Are concentration curls a good exercise?
Concentration curls can be a good exercise for working your biceps brachii and brachialis muscles without moving your upper arms as much as in other bicep curl variations.
In turn, this can benefit your upper arm workouts and potentially offer slightly more and faster progress.
Additionally, the equipment requirements for concentration curls are relatively at-home-friendly.
Something to keep in mind is that you still need to do concentration curls in a good exercise routine to see your desired results.
Next, because you have to work each side at a time, concentration curls could take up more time than two-handed bicep exercises.
Additionally, there are just many other good bicep exercises too. If you like these more than concentration curls, they can also be effective choices.
What are concentration curls good for?
Concentration curls are good for working your biceps brachii and brachialis muscles while keeping your upper arms in the same position.
Are concentration curls more effective?
If you struggle with keeping your upper arms in the same position during other bicep curls, concentration curls will likely be slightly more effective.
Are concentration curls harder?
If you typically cheat a little by using other muscles to lift the weight, concentration curls will be slightly harder. In other cases, concentration curls are not necessarily harder or easier.