4 Exercises Better than the Barbell Curl
Think standing barbell curls are the best you can do to force your bi’s to grow? Here are four unique variations that make an outstanding biceps move an even greater one for adding size.
3. Smith-Machine Drag Curl
Of the many roadblocks facing your biceps growth, improper form (probably because you’re attempting too much weight) is one of them. What happens when you’re going too heavy is you begin to use too much body english while allowing your elbows to travel away from your sides. It’s so common that maybe 90% of bodybuilders do it regularly in the gym when curling — but that doesn’t make it right! Doing so calls into play the front delts, which automatically removes some of the emphasis from the target biceps. That’s why we’re constantly reminding you to keep your elbows back and at your sides to allow the biceps to do the work and not the shoulders.
With the Smith-machine drag curl, you’re forced to eliminate as much deltoid involvement as possible. More than just keeping your elbows back, you want to actually push your elbows behind your torso as you drag the bar up your abdomen, which is why the range of motion is so limited. If the bar is approaching your shoulders similar to standard curls, you’re not doing it correctly. Frankly, the bar should come only as high as your upper abs or lower chest; any higher than that and it’s impossible that your elbows are where they need to be.
If you’ve never tried the drag curl, let alone in a Smith machine, basically stand inside the Smith holding the bar in front of your upper thighs with your chest up, shoulders back and eyes focused forward. Begin the move by pulling your elbows back as you raise the bar toward your upper abs/lower chest. As the name suggests, you actually want to drag the bar up your torso as high as possible, keeping your elbows pointing behind you. Your descent is identical to the upward motion, dragging the bar down your abs.