The most common mistake people make with standing bicep curls is that they swing their back into a big arch. With extra swinging, the exercise fails to isolate the biceps and causes other muscles to get involved. It also places added stress on the back and increases risk of injury.
To avoid this mistake, do barbell curls while standing against a wall, or simply use a lighter weight while watching yourself in the mirror.
Standing Dumbbell Bicep Curl
Much like the barbell curl, the dumbbell curl works multiple muscle groups in the arm while isolating the biceps.
Stand with feet close together, and with hips, knees and ankles slightly bent. Hold each dumbbell so your palms are facing toward your thighs.
Tuck in your abs toward the back to minimize trunk movement. Keep the right shoulder steady by pressing the right upper arm into your rib cage.
As you inhale, simultaneously bend your right elbow and rotate your right palm upward as you curl the dumbbell toward your right shoulder. Maintain steady, constant tension in you bicep and do not rest dumbbell on your shoulder.
Reverse directions as you exhale, immobilizing your left shoulder and pressing your left upper arm into your rib cage. Lengthen your right arm and rotate the dumbbell so your palm is facing your thigh once more.
Repeat the same movement with your left bicep. Be sure to focus on exhaling during the upward phase and inhaling during the downward phase.
Dumbbell Alternate Bicep Curl
Rather than working on each arm separately, the alternating bicep curl movement alternates between the right and left arm, one full repetition with each arm. Be sure to keep one arm stationary while you curl the other, fully concentrating on one arm at a time to take full advantage of the muscle contraction.
Seated Dumbbell Curls
Seated dumbbell curls include the same arm movement as the standing barbell curls, but the abdominal muscles play a smaller role. Seated barbell curls minimize cheating, as it's easier to swing the back into an arch while standing.
Inclined Seated Curls
Much like the seated dumbbell curls, inclined seated curls works the biceps and major arm muscles. The exercise involves titling the bench at an angle between 45 and 60 degrees instead of 90, allowing for a wider range of motion.