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There’s a lot of exercises you can do with dumbbells. They’re an incredibly versatile way to work out and perfect for anyone with a home gym.
In this article, we’ll look at the different dumbbell curls you can do to grow those arms.
The Different Dumbbell Curl Types
Dumbbell curls are mainly used for arm workouts. There is no better exercise for bicep growth, and you can get some tricep work in there too.
If you have the facilities, you can also use them for your chest and shoulders. There are hundreds of different variations of the dumbbell curl that you can take advantage of. However, going through every single type of dumbbell curl would take hours of explaining.
Instead, we’re going to focus on some of the more well-known and effective ones. You’re going to see a lot of different arm building techniques here, so if you’re more so looking to sculpt up your body, you might want to think about using a barbell instead.
You can do most barbell workouts with a dumbbell, but you’re going to see better results with some exercises depending on which type of equipment you use.
Starting off with the classic styles of weightlifting, the bicep curl is a baby’s first lifting exercise. It is easy to do, and very effective at building what is arguably the most important practical muscle in your upper body.
To start, hold your dumbbells with each hand in front of you palm facing outwards. Keep your elbows tucked into your body and straighten up while tightening your core. One here, exhale slowly as you contract your biceps, and bring the dumbbells to shoulder height. Return them to your starting position slowly and while maintaining control of the weight for one rep.
It’s important that you’re keeping a firm stance and not moving your body while doing these curls. A lot of people tend to pull back with their upper body to use the momentum to help them lift. However, this swinging motion completely defeats the purpose of the exercise.
From biceps to its antagonistic muscle, the triceps are the often-neglected muscle group in the arm. That is a shame because the tricep goes a long way to making your arms look bigger. One of the reasons for triceps being forgotten is that there are not many different dumbbell exercises that you can do for the two of them.
Realistically, there are only two of them that you can do at home, and one of those requires some sort of bench. A standing tricep extension is probably the easiest to start off with. First, stand up straight while holding the dumbbell behind your head.
Keep your elbow at a 90-degree angle so that your forearm is straight out. Raise the arm until it is nearly extended, and slowly return to your starting position. You can do this while sitting down, and with two arms, too.
This ensures you have room to maneuver and to make it fit into your workout. There is also a lying down variant of this, which is great for muscle mass. There are also tricep kickbacks, and a type of bench press variation to do the exercise.
While not exactly a curl, you are still well able to work out your shoulders with a dumbbell from home. Instead of different dumbbell curls, you have different presses that you can do to help build those neglected, but oh so important muscles.
The main exercise you’re going to want to use to beef up those shoulders is a shoulder press. You can do this lift with dumbbells, a barbell, sitting down, standing up, or at a dedicated machine at the gym.
Simply stand up with your back straight, holding your dumbbells in each hand just over shoulder height. Slowly extend both arms, pushing the weight up and above your body, before slowly lowering back to your starting position.
Like all exercises on this list, be careful and make sure that you don’t lift more than you realistically can, especially with forms that have you lifting weights above your head.
Hammer curls are a variant of the classic bicep curl and one that a lot of people find more intense. That’s because it works the brachioradialis, which are muscles that work in tandem with your biceps to help support your arm. It works as part of the forearm, so you’re getting more bang for your buck with hammer curls over traditional bicep curls.
The only difference between the two is the positioning of your hands while doing your reps. Instead of working with your palm out, turn them in towards your body, and then repeat the same bicep contraction movement to perform a rep.
Speaking of working your biceps and forearms at the same time, the Zottman curl is a bicep curl variant that most people haven’t even heard of, let alone tried. It is a unique lift that takes advantage of moving your hand position mid rep in order to put stress on different areas of the arm.
Get yourself into your standard bicep curl position with your arms by your side, palms facing out. Curl upwards like you normally would, making sure to squeeze your biceps at the top of your rep.
Once at this position, turn your hands 180 degrees so that your palms are facing out again. Hold this position while you return to your starting position, where you turn over again for another rep. Make sure that you’re fighting gravity, all while you’re doing this.
Are Dumbbell Curls Good for You?
Of course, like most strength exercises, doing dumbbell exercises are great for you so long as you maintain proper form and aren’t lifting more than you can manage.
If you do try to overexert yourself, you can end up doing some serious damage to your body, so make sure you know you’re limits, and you’re bound to start seeing some gains in no time.
Hopefully, you’ve learned a little bit about the different dumbbell curls. Rather than just working your biceps and triceps, branch out and work the other upper body muscles you have with your dumbbells. You need to get proper coverage. You don’t want massive arms and tiny shoulders, after all.
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