Curls are a popular exercise to tone, shape and strengthen your biceps. If you have weak wrists, or if barbell curls strain your wrists, perform them with a bent curl bar, also known as an E-Z bar. The bends in the bar allow you to position your hands in a more natural manner and minimize the pressure on your wrists. For optimal results, learn proper exercise form and avoid using too much weight -- use a weight that's light enough so you don't have to sacrifice your form.
Grasp a bent curl bar with a underhand grip so your palms face up and slightly toward each other and your index, middle, ring and pinky fingers go under the bar while your thumbs wrap over the bar. Place your hands shoulder-width apart on the outer-most bends in the bar to emphasize the inner part of your biceps, or place them closer together to emphasize the outer part of your biceps.
Stand upright, place your feet about shoulder-width apart, bend your knees slightly and point your toes forward.
Extend your arms toward the floor, bend your elbows slightly and tuck them in the sides of your body. There should be about a 2-inch distance between your body and the bar.
Contract your abdominal muscles to help stabilize your torso and face forward so your back remains straight. This is your starting position.
Curl the bar up toward your shoulders, moving only your forearms. Avoid swinging the weight or using momentum to make the motion.
Pause for one second at the top of the exercise and squeeze your biceps before slowly lowering the weight back down to the beginning position. Immediately start the next repetition.
- Breathe out as lift the weight up and fully exhale at the top of the exercise. Inhale as you lower the weight down.
- Perform repetitions and sets according to your level of physical fitness.
- Do curls in front of a mirror so you can monitor and correct your form.
- If you have medical conditions, injuries or have been inactive, consult your doctor before starting a new strength-training routine.
Kimberly Caines is a well traveled model, writer and licensed physical fitness trainer who was first published in 1997. Her work has appeared in the Dutch newspaper "De Overschiese Krant" and on various websites. Caines holds a degree in journalism from Mercurius College in Holland and is writing her first novel.