I've got 2 biceps muscle building tricks I've been using for many years now.
I stopped using barbell curls many years ago when the weight got really heavy and my wrists started hurting. I switched over completely to dumbbells only, and I've never been happier with the results.
The 2 tricks I'm going to share with you today are just a few of the reasons dumbbells work better than barbells for building your biceps.
Use Alternate Dumbbell Curls
Before I get into the actual tricks, I want you to know that alternate dumbbell curls should be the staple for your biceps building efforts.
Alternate dumbbell curls give you a mechanical advantage by allowing you to shift your body weight from side to side while doing this exercise.
This allows you to lift heavier weights overall which leads to more overload to the biceps.
Overloading the muscle is a key to building muscle. For example, lifting 50 pounds during alternate dumbbell curls is much better than lifting 40 pounds with regular dumbbell curls.
You also get a light rest between arms but the bicep that is not working is under a weighted stretch, which is also great for building muscle.
The tricks you're about to learn will be used during alternate dumbbell curls, though, they can be used with other dumbbell curls and even other dumbbell exercises for other muscle groups.
Grip the Dumbbells to the Far Side Closest to the Outer Side of Your Body
When doing alternate dumbbell curls, I want you to start out with a hammer style grip which means your thumbs will be pointing straight up towards the sky if extended.
As you perform each rep, twist the dumbbell to 180 degrees or further (handle would be parallel to the floor). This gives the bicep muscles a great contraction.
This is not the muscle building trick yet, though.
When you first grip the dumbbells for this exercise, I want you to grab them to the far side of the dumbbell which at the top of each rep will be the side closest to the outside of your body.
As shown in the image above, your grip should be to the far outer edge of each dumbbell.
This makes the contraction much harder as you twist the dumbbell throughout each rep.
This is a trick many people never use, but one that has really helped take my biceps and arm development to the next level.
Add Weight to the Outer Edge of the Dumbbell
Now I'm going to take the previous trick to another whole new level.
You'll be doing the same movement, but now you're going to make the dumbbell even more off balance than simply shifting your grip to the far outer edge of the dumbbell.
You'll need some fractional weight plates and some duct tape or some magnetic fractional weight plates. Or, you can use heavier weight plates like 2.5, 5, or 10 pound plates added to the edge of the dumbbell.
You'll simply add the extra weight to the edge of the dumbbell.
No matter what, though, please make sure the weight plate is securely attached to the outer edge of the dumbbell. You don't want to drop a weight plate on your foot. Trust me, it will hurt. Doesn't matter if it's only a couple pounds… it will hurt.
You don't want a broken toe.
Placing this extra weight to the outer edge of each dumbbell will give alternate dumbbell curls an entirely new twist!
These 2 biceps muscle building tricks to use with dumbbell curls will take your biceps development to a completely new level.
Unbalanced Loads Can Increase Muscle Gain and Functionality
If you think about life, there is hardly ever a time when you need to lift something or move something that is perfectly balanced.
When we lift weights, most of the weight is balanced between sides of your body.
This isn't very realistic in normal life so weight lifting sometimes doesn't add as much functional strength as we might think.
It's always a great idea to add unbalanced loads as I've shown you in the 2 muscle building tricks for your biceps.
You can use these concepts throughout your weight lifting exercises and your weight lifting programs. Everything doesn't have to be balanced and perfect in order to lift weights.
For example, you might add an extra 5 pounds to one side of the barbell for squats on 1 set and reverse to the other side for the next set.
See what I'm doing there?
You can experiment with many different options here, and I'm simply trying to get you to think about the possibilities.
Have fun with the 2 biceps muscle building tricks to use with dumbbell curls! Let me know how it goes for you.