How to Do Dumbbell Zottman Lifts

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The Dumbbell Zottman Lifts

Let’s Consider an Exercise Zottman Curl to work out the entire biceps, brachialis, and forearm.

how to do zottman curl
The Zottman curl


The Zottman Lift exercise was invented back in the 19th century by the famous strongman Georg Zottman. This exercise was immediate to the taste of all athletes, as it quickly contributed to the growth of arm strength. The secret of this exercise is that it loads three muscles at once that work to flex the elbow.

Zottman’s Lift is especially good at pumping the brachialis muscle, which is located under the biceps. The buildup of this muscle leads not only to a tangible increase in the volume of the biceps but also to an almost twofold increase in its strength.

Execution technique

  • Take dumbbells in both hands and stand up straight. The arms are extended along the torso, the elbows are pressed to the torso. The palms are facing each other. This is the starting position;
  • As you exhale, bend the arms to the biceps, while the upper part of the arm should remain motionless to the elbow, only the forearm works. Expand the hands, palms facing up (supinated grip). Continue the movement until the biceps are fully contracted, until the dumbbells are at shoulder level;
  • Take a short break while contracting your biceps;
  • Now, without changing position, turn your wrists with your palms down (pierced grip), the level of the thumb should be higher than the level of the little finger;
  • Lower the dumbbells slowly, holding them with a pronated grip;
  • When the dumbbells are near your hips, rotate your wrists so that your palms are facing your body (neutral grip).
  • Do this exercise in 2-4 sets of 10-12 reps each. Rest no more than 2 minutes between sets.

| Read more How to Train Biceps on Preacher Curl

Tips & Tricks

  1. As a rule, at the very end of the approach, it is not always possible to perform the movement with both hands. In this case, several repetitions in turn.
  2. If your weak forearms prevent you from doing a full Zottman Lifts, postpone this exercise and start strengthening your forearms. For this purpose, straight and reverse grip lifts are suitable.
  3. When the curl will be easy for you, complicate the exercise by moving to its mirror execution. That is, start with a direct grip, and at the top point, change it to the opposite. Thus, in every biceps workout, do both Zottman lifts – regular on your training.
  4. A change in grip most often leads to involuntary elbow extension. The further the elbows are from the body, the lower the effectiveness of the exercise. Keep your elbows as close to your body as possible at all times.


  • Do not use large weights at once. Take a lite weight, improve your technique and increase if necessary dumbbell weight.
  • Lower the dumbbells twice as slowly as you raise them. If you lift the dumbbells to the top point for 2 seconds, lower them in 4 seconds.


  • Do not use momentum, do not make sudden movements, do not throw dumbbells sharply downward, and do not jerk when lifting up. Perform movement smoothly, in a controlled manner, and consistently – without unnecessary delays.
  • Fixed position of the elbows. Remember – the elbows are closer to the body.
  • Refrain from performing the exercise if you have fresh injuries to the elbow joints and wrists – this is one hundred percent contraindication.
  • The Zottman curl is best done at the end arm workout. Try to include this exercise in your program, perhaps this is just what you were missing for further progress.
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