I received a question about a weight increase on alternate dumbbell curls from workout to workout.
When you're using dumbbells for weight lifting exercises that don't use really heavy weights…
The weight increase of 5 pounds between the next dumbbell size up can be huge for many people.
For example… if you went from lifting 20 pound dumbbells to 25 pound dumbbells per arm, that is a HUGE percentage increase.
If you were using 300 pounds with a barbell and increased the weight by 5 pounds, it would be nothing compared to the 5 pound increase using dumbbells when going from 20 to 25 pound dumbbells.
So that's what the question is about and you can find the solution to this issue in the question and answers below.
You can thank a long time follower of WLC, Rich, for raising this question.
Question About Weight Increase on Alternate Dumbbell Curls
Subject: Weight Increase on Alternate Dumbbell Curls
Question From: Rich
When doing alternate dumbbell curls, I can do 10 reps at 35 lbs with not much of a problem.
I increased the weight to 40 lbs and only can do 5 reps.
What should I do?
Should I stay at the 40 lbs and continue until I can do 10 reps or stay at 35 lbs and go to failure?
Response from Josh
Since you have already increased the weight, I would continue with the 40 pound weights and try to increase by a rep or so each workout.
Can I ask you which weight training program you are using?
Also, a nice little trick to solve the problem of huge weight increases due to dumbbells:
Get some magnetic fractional plates that attach to the side of the dumbbells.
They are sometimes hard to find online and even harder to find locally. If you workout in a large gym, you might ask to see if they already have some.
Here's a link to more information on Fractional Plates here at WLC:
If you take a look, you can just attach them to a side of the dumbbell.
Another great tip for alternate dumbbell curls is to hold the grip of the dumbbell on the outer side of the handle (outer if you are at the top of the curling motion. You can place the extra fractional weight plate on the opposite side of the dumbbell.
This forces a grater contraction of the bicep muscle and makes the exercise slightly harder.
Hope these tips for alternate dumbbell curls really help you out.
The fractional weight plates make the exercise easier to progress with between weight increases.
If you don't go this route, I would increase reps and then increase the weight once you get a higher number of reps.
For now… since you already increased the weight — go with the 40 pound dumbbells for now and work on getting stronger each workout. Even if it's a half rep, you are making progress.
Let me know how everything goes for you. Would like to hear your progress along the way. Best of luck to you. You'll be doing those 45 pound dumbbells very soon!!!
Alternate dumbbell curls always bring back good memories for me. I was stuck at the 45's for a long time. I found a trick with my weight lifting gloves and soon started using the 75 pound dumbbells.
My arms exploded with growth when I went past the 45's. I was stuck at that weight for a while. I would decrease the weight and try to go back up. Didn't work. Finally, I got past those 45's into the 50's, the 55's, the 60's, the 65's, the 70's, the 75's, and made amazing progress along the way.
You will do the same!!! Good luck.
And one more thing…
If you're looking for a cheap way to add a little amount of weight to dumbbells at a time you can just tape some small objects to the side of the dumbbell with some duct tape.
It can be a little on the dangerous side so don't be taping really heavy objects.
Remember, you're just trying to get a slight increase between the 5 pound dumbbell increments.
Slight increases on weight lifting exercises that use smaller weights are actually HUGE increases. For example, a 3 pound increase on an exercise that uses 300 pound weights is a 1% increase.
An increase of 0.25 pounds for each dumbbell on an exercise that uses a set of 25 pound dumbbells is a 2% increase! So a little 0.25 pound weight added to each dumbbell is actually a 2x increase over a 3 pound weight added to the 300 pound barbell.
I hope you get the concept. Small weight increases over time are huge. This is how you make amazing progress. Continue adding weight to your weight lifting exercises and the results are amazing.