Mastering Bicep Curl

31.01.17 by Thomas Millar

The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the human body, but is also the most susceptible to injury. Due to its susceptibility to injury, the importance of shoulder stability is of great importance. If you are someone who carries a heavy backpack/suitcase every day, or reaches for something up high from a cupboard, then your shoulders are pushing and pulling under tension and against resistance in all different ranges of movement. For this reason our shoulder blade muscles need to contract and relax in coordination with our smaller rotator cuff muscles. This will anchor the shoulder blade to encourage move the shoulder to move efficiently. Any weakness and/or imbalances of the shoulder blade musculature can result in shoulder dysfunction and lead to injury.

The bicep curl is a fantastic exercise for you to strengthen and tone the top of the arm (bicep). With this exercise you are not just focusing on your arms, but you are also working on your posture and shoulder stability. This exercise requires you to try sit as tall as possible with a ‘flat’ back. If you have a natural ‘C’ shape in your mid spine or a slouched posture position, then sitting tall in itself is going to be tough as you are working your back extensor muscles to pull you out of the slouched position into a flat back position.

As well as sitting tall, you need to try set your shoulders in the best possible position in order to improve shoulder stability throughout the exercise and in day-to-day life.

If you are someone who has a ‘C’ shaped mid spine, coupled with elevated and rounded shoulders, for example, from sitting at your desk all day, this can result in a long-term buildup of tension in your upper shoulders and neck as these muscles are constantly ‘overworking’. The muscles around your upper shoulders and neck can then become weak & tight, thus creating instability and weakness in your shoulders.

In order to resolve these problems, you need to try drawing your shoulder blades back and down the spine while sitting tall during the bicep curl. Doing this will work the muscles towards the mid and lower parts of your shoulder blades and back, rather than constantly working upper shoulder and neck muscles. This will improve your shoulder stability, as over time the shoulders will set in a better, more neutral position.

As well as having better shoulder stability and strength, setting the spine and shoulders in a better position will help you work your bicep muscles more effectively. The drawing ‘back and down’ of the shoulders makes it easier for you to supinate the hand when doing the curl, which will lead to a stronger contraction of the bicep.

Top Tips:

-Chest Up
-Elbow crease up
-High elbow (down for shoulder/ neck problems)
-Shoulders down
-Turn thumbs out
-Sit on block/ bend knees

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