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Video: Get Strong Biceps with Full- and Half-Bicep Curls

Whether you do half curls, full curls, preacher curls, cheat curls, or drag curls each movement provides a different role on how the muscle is worked.

By
Brock Armstrong
2-minute read
The Quick And Dirty
  • Having strong biceps can protect you from injury and increase your ability to do other movements.
  • By using a variety of biceps curl movements, you can get the maximum benefit from minimal work. 
  • You don't have to do bicep curls at the gym using a barbel to get the benefits of stronger arms. 

No matter how you like to do them, bicep curls are a mainstay. The three-part bicep workout I demonstrate in this video is challenging. But if you do it right, you only have to do one set. The catch is, that one set is long!

The three parts are:

  1. Full Bicep Curls
  2. Bottom-Half Bicep Curls
  3. Top-Half Bicep Curls

And REPEAT!

Why do half?

By breaking the up movement this way you really work all the muscle fibers in your biceps. And if you truly keep going (to failure) you can build some serious strength, size, and definition using this technique. 

The idea is that your biceps are forced to dig deeper and recruit muscle fibers that may otherwise be just going along for the ride.

The idea is that each half of the movement fatigues the different bands of muscle in the bicep. So, as the long set progresses, your biceps are forced to dig deeper and recruit muscle fibers that may otherwise be just going along for the ride. In essence, by repeating these three curl movements, you wind up cumulatively recruiting more and more of what can be thought of as your reserve muscle fibers, the ones that only join in the party once the main fibers have been exhausted. This is similar to why Drop-Sets (one of my faves) are so effective. 

Why do Bicep Curls?

While I am not generally a fan of single muscle group exercises, specifically training your biceps (especial using various grips and ranges of motion) can provide you with some extra oomph in an otherwise well-rounded training program. Look at it this way, if your biceps are not able to specifically handle some decent amounts of isometric (static) and eccentric (lowering) weight, your arms could be prone to injury and limited capacities in other movements like a pulling motion.

I know I am generally a "functional fitness guy" but I am also human.

Plus, let's face it, biceps look cool. I know I am generally a "functional fitness guy" (focusing on fitness as a lifestyle, not just for vanity) but I am also human and I feel good when a t-shirt hugs my arms, comme ça.

Of course, one of the reasons I filmed this video in the great outdoors, using a log and not a barbell, was to show you that, unlike a true bodybuilder, I throw in my "vanity exercises" while I am doing other things like going out for a walk, finishing off a stationary bike ride, or making the most of commercial breaks during a hockey game. And this three-part single-set workout is perfect for all of the above. 

By the way, it was indeed snowing on the beach while I filmed this. Oh, Canada ...

About the Author

Brock Armstrong

Brock Armstrong is a certified AFLCA Group Fitness Leader with a designation in Portable Equipment, NCCP and CAC Triathlon Coach, and a TnT certified run coach. He is also on the board of advisors for the Primal Health Coach Institute and a guest faculty member of the Human Potential Institute. Do you have a fitness question? Leave a message on the Get-Fit Guy listener line. Your question could be featured on the show.