If I were to create a list of exercises that I
absolutely hate strongly dislike, it would include the likes of tricep kickbacks, calve raises, leg extensions, crunches, and any group fitness class with the words “Tone” or “Sculpt” in the title. Regardless of how long the list is, those are all tied for 2nd place; the bicep curl is by far my least favorite exercise in the world. In fact, I downright despise it.
Now, there isn’t anything inherently wrong with the bicep curl, but it happens to be one of the most abused exercises in all of exercising. Based on the sheer volume of people curling, the number of curl variations, and our worldly dedication to the biceps, I reflexively dislike curls. You want biceps? Chin-ups and rows galore, my friend.
With my endless enthusiasm for modifying every exercise under the sun, I set out to find pushing and pulling variations that allow for a complete disregard of arm isolation training. I’d much rather focus instead of isolate, as I noted in my last post. In my search for chin-up and row variations that beat up the arms, I realized I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted. It took some tough love and searching of my inner being to realize what had to be done. I realized that if I wanted to take my grip, wrist, and forearm strength to another level, curling might become necessary.
What the hell did he just say?
In my quest for heavier deadlifts, a bigger bench, stronger chin-ups, and not sucking at daily activities, I began to understand that something extra was needed in my hands. I’ve been playing around with my Fat Gripz for a while, and absolutely love them. They’ve helped my bench press, my chin-up strength and repetition numbers, and they’ve definitely made some exercise more comfortable. In a moment of madness, my anti-curl internal dialogue came to a screeching halt:
For the past several weeks, I’ve been performing 2-4 sets of bicep curls at the end of my workouts. Specifically, it’s a Fat Gripz Hammer Curl. The reason behind the use of the Fat Gripz is that they make everything from the elbow down work much harder; it essentially becomes a challenge of grip strength. I’ve definitely noticed an increased ability to squeeze the crap out of any bar I can get my hands on. What does that mean? Heavier pulling, more stable pressing. Am I curling to curl? Definitely not. Am I curling for my biceps? No. (Will I complain that they’ve grown? No.) I’m simply curling so I can pick up heavier shit. Easy peasy, right?
As much as I joke about the evils of bicep curls, they aren’t all that bad. You should definitely be hitting the big compound lifts first, but when necessary, an exercise such as Fat Gripz Hammer Curlz may provide that extra boost necessary to take your performance and/or physique goals to the next level. Below you’ll see a video of Fat Gripz Hammer Curls; I actually recorded my own video, but then refused to upload it. I couldn’t bring myself to provide video evidence. If you’re struggling with wrist pain or grip strength, I’d recommend utilizing over-sized implements to help emphasize those pesky areas of your arm that may be limiting you. Just please, if you’re doing them, don’t tell anyone you got the idea from me.