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🎯 Bicep training seems simple enough right, curl the weight and that’s it! However there are many variations of the bicep curl and some limitations of the muscle that may affect your training because of its anatomical position crossing two joints. Here is what you need to know.
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✅ The biceps is a two joint muscle– its actions are elbow flexion, shoulder flexion and supination of the forearm. Being a two joint muscle it is susceptible to passive and active insufficiency. This means if you perform an action at one joint it will affect the muscles activation at the second.
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We’ll look at 3 common exercise for biceps; the standard dumbbell bicep curl (DBC), the incline dumbbell curl (IDC) and the Dumbbell preacher curl. When looking at muscle activation and ROM the preacher curl has significantly less ROM, It is also susceptible to active insufficiency due to the shoulder flexion. When looking at muscle activation the Preacher curl has the most biceps activation at the end ROM (the beginning of the curl and the end) compared to the other two curls it has significantly less muscle activation. The other types of curls had similar muscle activation and ROM.

✅Tricep Extensions
✅Tricep Extensions

This data shows that dumbbell preacher curls may not be the best arm exercise; this is most likely due active insufficiency of the biceps brachii. You may have noticed this when performing preacher curls by feeling your secondary muscles more than the biceps.
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They are great at activating the biceps at the initial phase of the movement however after that the activation begins to decrease unlike the other exercises. With preacher curls I like to perform partial movements maintaining the optimal activation of the bicep and not going through the full ROM adding as much tension as possible into it. Regardless though this info should allow you to decide what exercises to incorporate in your arm training. My hypertrophy plan utilizes all angles of training for the best development if you’re interested in a 4 week plan it is available in the link above.

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