Posted on July 19 2019
The bicep curl is one of those moves that you can learn in a heartbeat. I, for one, got the gist as a teenager while following along to some of my parents' old workout videos from the '90s. It requires proper breathing — exhale on the way up, inhale on the way down — and weight that's not too heavy and not too light. Enter the 21-method dumbbell curl.
Bailey, a NASM-certified personal trainer, LLC, told us, "I like the 21-method curl because it's much more challenging than your OG bicep curl. Once you do seven lower-half reps and seven upper-half reps, the full reps are much more difficult." You're doing seven reps of lower bicep curls where you start from the bottom and stop when your arms are at 90 degrees and seven reps where you start with your arms bent at 90 degrees and curl up to your chest. Then, after you've done those, you finish out the set with seven regular bicep curls with a full range of motion. Bailey explained, "It puts your biceps through a different and unique movement pattern by shortening the range of motion and focusing on a short contraction versus one long movement."
Bailey said you can change up the reps here, if you'd like. Doing 5-5-5 (five lower-half, upper-half, and full reps) instead of 7-7-7 (seven reps of each) works, too — just do what you're comfortable with! She suggested substituting these for regular bicep curls in upper-body routines, full-body sessions, or any workout for that matter. Personally, I think they're great because they give you a greater burn in a shorter amount of time; I'd need a high number of full bicep curl reps to feel the same heat in my muscles after doing just one set of these. And, after all, everyone should train their arms to some degree. Ahead, check out directions on how to perform the 21-method curl.
How to Do 21-Method Dumbbell Curls
Note: Bailey is demonstrating these as 3-3-3 reps, not seven of each.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart with one dumbbell in each hand. Keep your elbows close to your sides and your core engaged.
- Complete seven lower-half curls, stopping at that 90-degree angle and coming back down to your sides.
- Raise the dumbbells with your arms bent to a 90-degree angle. Complete seven upper-half curls toward your chest and back down to that 90-degree angle.
- Lower the weights down again and, this time, complete seven full curls, slow and controlled.
- This completes one set of 21-method dumbbell curls.