Reverse Curls Benefits – Why They Are Great
In this article I will be exploring reverse curls benefits and why you should incorporate this exercise into your routine. Reverse curls are an exercise that you will rarely see people doing in the gym. The majority of bodybuilders will do standard dumbbell and barbell curls for building up big biceps.
Minimising Elbow Pain
Elbow pain is a common problem amongst many bodybuilders and lifters in general. It is something that I have written a post about previously HERE. Reverse curls are a great way of minimising the risk of getting elbow pain. Very often people will do a lot of tricep work in their routines and incorporate heavy pushdowns. Therefore, it makes sense that doing the opposite movement to a pushdown would help to balance things out and also keep your elbows healthier at the same time.
In the same vein, there is generally a focus on doing many different curling variations. From barbell curls to EZ bar curls to dumbell curls and preacher curls. These movements heavily stress the biceps and can also lead to elbow pain when performed heavy. The reverse curl helps to balance out the arm training and reduce the risk of suffering from bad elbow pain down the line.
As I have mentioned before many times on my site, forearm development is something that is lacking in many bodybuilders and there just isn’t enough focus on it. You will see countless people in gyms banging out set after set of bicep curls and tricep pushdowns. But few will train their forearms with the same intensity and passion.
When you are wearing a T-shirt your forearms are heavily exposed. It is this body part that people will be drawn to, nothing looks worse than a guy with massive biceps and tiny forearms. It looks out of place and doesn’t command respect in the same way. If you see a man with big, vascular forearms you can guarantee that they will get noticed.
Reverse curls are great because they will heavily build up the brachioradialis, even more effectively than hammer curls. Developing this muscle will dramatically improve the aesthetics of your forearms. Now you will be able to show off your forearms proudly when wearing a T-shirt.
The other great thing about reverse curls is that they are super challenging. With dumbbell bicep curls you can use pretty decent weights, with a reverse curl you would have to use drastically less weight. In my case I can do reverse curls with 10kg dumbbells for just over 20 reps. The big challenge with the reverse curl is the grip strength element. When the weights get heavier your grip will work a lot harder to hold on. The reverse curl is a great way to challenge the grip as well. To make the exercise even harder you can use fatter implements – from a fat bar or simply adding fat gripz to the bar or dumbbell handles. I personally prefer doing dumbbell reverse curls as I like that I have more freedom of movement and am not so locked in. However if I am training at a gym that has fatter barbells I will take advantage of this and do reverse curls using those barbells.
Mechanics of Reverse Curls
In terms of execution, the reverse curl is fairly simple. You would hold on to a barbell or dumbbells with a double overhand grip. Keep your elbows relatively close to your body, I like to pin them in by thinking of rotating my arms inward. It is a similar feeling to the start of a bench press, when performing a bench press properly you should be bringing the bar out far enough that it is in the right groove and your elbows are tucking inwards. In the case of reverse curls doing this helps to keep the movement strict and put emphasis on the brachioradialis. Which is what we are targeting after all!
When curling the weight up be sure not to curl up too far. Simply stop at around a 90 degree angle, I like to flex at the top for a second just to emphasise the peak contraction. When doing higher reps this will serve to really give you a greater pump. If you want to make the movement even harder than it already is you can try doing your reverse curls in a “tempo” fashion. Count slowly to three when coming up, when going down count again to three. If you want to get the most insane pump possible then do tempo reverse curls with fatter implements. You can even do reverse curls with kettlebells if you want to change things up and try something different. Kettlebell handles are pretty fat so the movement will be harder and they will also be harder to stabilise compared to dumbbells. The possibilities and variations with this exercise are endless. In addition it is fun and will certainly help you to improve your forearm aesthetics.
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To conclude, in this article I have discussed reverse curls benefits and the reasons why they are great to add to your routine. They help to minimise elbow pain and reduce the risks of bad elbow pain from overuse. In addition they will make a big difference in beefing up your forearms and making them look a lot more vascular and aesthetic. Finally the exercise presents a great challenge and there are countless ways of performing it. I have also talked about the proper mechanics when doing reverse curls, the key is to tuck your elbows in and try to emphasise the peak contraction at the top.
If you have any questions about anything in this article, please leave me a comment below. I enjoy interacting with you and answering your questions. If you are already performing reverse curls in your routine, let me know how you are doing them. Do you prefer dumbbells, barbells or kettlebells? Also if you are not currently doing any reverse curls at the moment, are you planning on introducing them into your routine in the future? As always, stay safe and enjoy your training!