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Alternating Dumbbell Curls - Muscles Worked & Benefits

Exercise Type: Single-joint
Primary Muscles Worked: Biceps

Alternating Dumbbell Curls allow you to isolate the biceps in each arm by forcing you to concentrate on each movement, one arm at a time. The twisting motion of each movement also emphasises the resistance of your forearms and wrists. This exercise is great in that it restricts your stronger arm from picking up the slack, therefore giving both arms a full workout.

Alternating Dumbbell Curls - Exercise Workout & Technique

  • Stand with a dumbbell in each hand, your arms fully extended and your palms facing inwards.
  • Your weight should be supported on the heels of your feet.
  • Exhale and bring just one of the dumbbells up, keeping your elbow in a fixed position, and turning your palm up to face the ceiling as you do so.
  • Flex the bicep being worked at the top of the contraction. Pause.
  • Bring the dumbbell down in a strictly controlled manner, turning your palm so that it is facing inwards again, as you raise the other one, inhaling at the same time.
  • Note that the two dumbbells are in motion at this stage.
  • Continue these curls until you have completed the required reps with both arms.
  • Rest, then repeat.

Alternating Dumbbell Curls - Tips & Safety

  • Curl the weight until the contraction is felt at the peak of the motion.
  • Ensure that you lower the dumbbells in a controlled manner at all times.
  • Ensure that your elbows are steady at your waist.
  • Get a rhythm going while remaining in control of each curl.
  • Ensure full extension and contraction of each arm.
  • Avoid the temptation to cheat by swaying your body and recruiting your back and shoulder muscles.

Alternating Dumbbell Curls - Alternatives

  • Try Alternating Dumbbell Curls in a sitting position in order to give you more stability and allow you to focus all of your efforts on each curl.
  • Try doing Arm Blasters. This exercise is similar to Alternating Dumbbell Curls except that your elbows are fixed solidly against your sides and there is no twisting of the wrists. This varies your training by giving you the control of Preacher Curls. This technique is particularly effective in targeting the lower biceps.
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