Ditch those pink rubbery weights and pick up some traditional dumbbells to gain the benefits of regular weight training. Contrary to locker room rumors, you won't gain unwanted bulk, you'll just burn off calories, tone up your muscles, fight the effects of aging and even improve your mood. Once you've got regular dumbbell curls down, supinated curls should be no sweat – the exercise just requires a simple switch in hand position to activate your arm muscles in all new ways.
You can do supinated dumbbell curls sitting with your back straight or against a backrest, or standing up. Either way, maintain an upright posture with your feet about hip-width apart and firmly planted. Hold the dumbbells at your sides with your palms facing inward. As you raise your forearms, slowly rotate your wrists so that when the dumbbell reaches the top of the movement – or chest-level – your palm faces your chest. Reverse the motion and repeat. You can do both arms at once or rotate arms depending on your personal preference.
For proper form, avoid locking your knees or aching your back. To encourage stability, keep your body stationary with the exception of your forearms. Looking straight ahead and making sure you don't swing your arms out helps you attain this stillness. Always focus on slow, controlled and deliberate motion – think of a flowing movement as you exercise. Breathe in as you lower the dumbbell and exhale as you raise it. For intermediate exercisers, three sets of 10 reps with 30 seconds of rest between sets should do the trick.
Like traditional curls, supinated dumbbell curls squarely target the biceps. However, this variation puts more focus on working the forearms, specifically the wrist flexors. Supinated curls also work the brachialis muscles of the outer and upper arms. If you focus on keeping your abs tight throughout the exercise, this exercise also helps strengthen your core muscles.
Supinated curls aren't the end of the line when it comes to bicep curl varieties. Try hammer curls – which are just like supinated curls, except you keep your palms facing inward instead of rotating your wrists – to target the brachioradialis muscles. Reverse curls, performed with an overhand grip, also target this muscle group, all while giving the wrist extensors a good workout. For improved balance and core stability, swap out the chair or exercise bench for a stability ball.
- Fitness Magazine: Why Aren't More Women Lifting Weights?
- ExRx.net: Dumbbell Curl
- American Council on Exercise: Seated Dumbbell Bicep Curl
- Bodylogix: Supinating Dumbbell Curls
- Muscle and Strength: Exercise Ball Dumbbell Curl Video Guide
- Bodybuilding.com: Hammer Curls
- University of Northern Colorado: Bicep Curl Variations
- Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images