Dumbbell Curl 21’s
- Grasp the dumbbells with a closed, supinated grip (the back of your palms facing the front of your thighs).
- Extend elbows, resting the dumbbells on the front of thigh. Keep a slight bend in elbows.
- Stand straight with feet shoulder width apart, keeping a slight bend in the knees.
- Keep upper arms tucked against torso and perpendicular to the floor.
- Flex the elbows until you’ve reached mid range of motion (approximately 90 degrees of elbow flexion).
- Keep standing straight with upper arms tucked against side of torso.
- In a controlled fashion, allow elbows to extend, returning to starting position.
- Perform 7 repetitions from starting position to mid range of motion.
- After completing the 7 repetitions in phase one, immediately proceed to completing 7 more repetition from mid range of motion (90 degrees of elbow flexion) to full elbow flexion.
- The descent (eccentric) phase of this range of motion stops at 90 degrees elbow flexion.
- Perform the partial reps in a controlled fashion, including the eccentric (descent portion) of the lift.
- After completing the 7 repetitions in phase 2, immediately proceed to completing 7 full range of motion biceps curls.
- Control the eccentric portion of the lift.
- Continue to keep standing straight throughout the whole exercise, only the elbow joint is to be moving as it extends.
FAQ'S & FACTS ABOUT Dumbbell Curl 21’s
What Are Dumbbell Biceps Curl 21’s?
Biceps curl 21’s are a variation of the standing biceps curl in which the lift is broken down into three phases of repetitions, two of which of partial range of motion repetitions. The first phase consists of seven partial rep bicep curls from beginning to mid range elbow flexion. The second phase consists of seven more partial reps from mid range to full elbow flexion. The third phase consists of seven full range of motion biceps curls. The three phases are performed consecutively, without any rest in between.
This lift involves the primary elbow flexors, the brachialis and biceps brachii. This exercise is performed with dumbbells as a variation to barbell biceps curl 21’s. The concentric portion of the lift is elbow flexion, which involves the lifting of the weight. The eccentric portion is elbow extension, which involves the descent of the weight.
Why Do Dumbbell Biceps Curl 21’s?
The purpose of the biceps curl 21’s is to strengthen the biceps while promoting hypertrophy (increases in size) of the biceps. Performing partial repetition biceps curls helps lifters target weak points in their biceps curls that can be applied when performing full range of motion biceps curls.
Performing biceps curl 21’s with dumbbells, as opposed to a barbell or an EZ bar, allows the lifter to contract both biceps to their full potential. Using dumbbells also allows the lifter to spot any weaknesses, if any, of one side compared to the other.
Anatomy Of Dumbbell Biceps Curl 21’s
The biceps brachii is located on the front of the arm, originating at the shoulder and inserting in the elbow joint. It consists of two heads, the long head (outer portion) and the short head (inner portion). The long head tendon helps stabilize the shoulder joint and its origin is located at the tubercle and lip of the glenoid cavity of the scapula (shoulder blade). The short head origin is located at the coracoid process of the scapula. The long and short head unite as the muscle bellies run down the front of the arm. Both heads merge, sharing insertion into the radial tuberosity of the elbow joint.
The biceps brachii flexes the elbow joint and supinates the forearm. Supination refers to the simultaneous rotation of the wrist and elbow as the palm of your hand faces upward.
The brachialis lies underneath the biceps brachii, originating at the front of the lower end of the humerus bone. Its insertion is located at the coronoid process of the ulna at the elbow joint. The brachialis is a primary elbow flexor.
The brachioradialis aids the biceps brachii and brachialis, helping stabilize the elbow joint during biceps curls.
Although their contribution is minimal, forearm muscles, palmaris longus, flexor carpi radialis, and pronator teres contribute as weak flexors of the elbow joint.
The subscapularis works in conjunction with the other three rotator cuff muscles to stabilize the shoulder joint during this exercise.
Variations Of Dumbbell Biceps Curl 21’s
Wide grip, narrow grip, reverse grip, hammer curl, standing against a wall, using an arm blaster.
How To Improve Your Dumbbell Biceps Curl 21’s
Biceps curl 21’s are implemented in a training program to improve bicep exercise performance and strength gains. Strategically varying your grip width and lifting device (e.g. barbell, EZ bar) can optimize the benefit of 21’s when applied to traditional biceps curl exercises. Performing biceps curl 21’s can result in optimal muscle activation that increases strength and hypertrophy of the biceps and brachialis.
Emphasis on eccentric contractions, prolonging the eccentric portion of the contraction, may also be incorporated in a training program focused on increasing strength. This should be implemented accordingly and with adequate muscle recovery as eccentric contractions cause substantial damage to muscle tissue.
It’s also important to note that biceps curl 21’s may entail performing repetitions near failure/fatigue when approaching the 3rd phase. This has to be considered when designing your training regimen. It is important to allow adequate recovery days in between biceps training to allow muscles to repair.
Common Mistakes When Doing Dumbbell Biceps Curl 21’s
Because this exercise typically entails lifting in a fatigued state, it is very common to observe an individual swinging their torso in efforts of lifting the weight with more ease. This compromises proper technique and biceps contraction. The biceps curl is a single-joint movement. The single-joint involved is the elbow joint. If you find yourself depending on momentum from swinging your torso to lift the weight, you may want to decrease the weight to prevent injury.
Standing on an unstable surface or with an unstable stance can also compromise technique. Your feet are your foundation and should be in a position of stability. If you are looking to maximize the contraction of your biceps, ensure that your feet are shoulder width apart with a slight bend in the knees. Stand on a flat surface. Standing with one foot in front of the other during a standing biceps curl can also compromise balance and decrease the potential for optimal muscle contraction.
Injuries Or Ailments & Their Effects Regarding Dumbbell Biceps Curl 21’s
If proper technique is not adhered to (e.g. swinging of the torso, dropping the weight quickly instead of controlling the descent on the eccentric portion of the lift), the likelihood of back and/or biceps injury increases.
Although rare, biceps tendon rupture may occur if warm-up is not sufficient and/or if intensity (load) is increased inappropriately.
If proper recovery is not implemented between training days for optimal muscle repair of the biceps, the biceps tendon becomes inflamed. Without proper rest and treatment, the inflammation remains and results in biceps tendonitis.
Impingement syndrome and rotator cuff injuries, in general, are commonly associated with biceps tendonitis/biceps tendinosis. Therefore, it’s best to avoid bicep exercises when addressing impingement syndrome/rotator cuff injury unless advised by a physical therapist.