Smart dumbbell exercises can make biceps stronger, firmer or more muscular.
Whether you want to firm and tone your biceps or develop more muscular biceps, dumbbell exercises can help you achieve your goals. With information about effective exercises, workout variety, progressive training techniques and the importance of muscle rest and recovery, you can plan your own smart dumbbell workouts.
Biceps, which are the muscles located on the front of the upper arms, can keep getting stronger and more defined if you incorporate exercise variation into your workouts, according to champion bodybuilder Lee Hayward. He recommends targeting biceps from different angles by alternating between exercises such as basic seated or standing curls; incline curls that target the long head of the biceps; hammer curls that emphasize the outer head of the biceps; and concentration curls, which are performed using the inside of your thigh to stabilize your arm and isolate the biceps.
Positions and Grips
Routinely changing exercise positions and dumbbell grips can maintain the effectiveness of your workouts and make them progressively challenging, according to conditioning specialist Adam Campbell, co-author of вЂњThe Muscle Prescription." For example, if you're a beginner, you can start doing biceps curls while seated to develop better exercise form. As your fitness level advances, you can perform standing biceps curls, which require more balance and thus engage core muscles to keep your body stabilized. To pump up the exercise intensity, periodically deviate from the standard, palms face-up dumbbell grip by using thumb or pinky offset grips. These grips modify weight distribution and can make the curls more challenging.
Depending on your fitness level and how buff you want your biceps to become, fitness competitor and personal trainer Alissa Carpio recommends planning one or two weekly workouts focusing on the biceps. You can also choose workout days to pair biceps with another muscle group, for example, the triceps. To avoid workout plateaus, progressively increase the exercise intensity by using heavier dumbbells as you get stronger. Alternatively, add sets and repetitions. To build lean muscle mass and burn body fat at the same time, you can also plan workouts to include circuit training and supersetting, which involves performing two or more exercises with minimal rest in between sets.
Performing dumbbell exercises using one arm at a time is an effective technique if you want to build mass or correct muscle imbalances, according to Lee Hayward's Total Fitness Bodybuilding website. To maintain proper form, use weight increments that allow you to curl dumbbells in a slow and controlled motion. If you're short on time and want to target biceps and other muscle groups simultaneously, B.J. Gaddour, fitness consultant and star of the вЂњSpeed ShredвЂќ DVD series, recommends performing compound dumbbell exercises, such as push-up position hammer curls, kneeling single-arm curls, curls to lunges, and squat concentration curls.
To prevent overtraining and allow for adequate muscle recovery, the Mayo Clinic advises spacing workouts involving the same muscle groups at least two or three days apart. For example, if you train your biceps on a Monday, wait until Wednesday or Thursday to perform back, shoulder or chest exercises that also recruit the biceps. Before exercising, consider your health concerns and any previous injuries and consult a healthcare provider to determine the right workout intensity for you.