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The Zottman Curl

ThumbS3-2

Target Muscle: Biceps, forearms (brachioradialis).

THE START

STEP 1:
Stand erect holding a pair of dumbbells at your sides with a palms-up (supinated) grip and your thumbs wrapped around the handles for safety.

Zottman_A

STEP 2:
With your feet hip-width apart, draw your abs in tight, look straight ahead and keep your knees unlocked.

EXECUTION

STEP 1:
Keeping your elbows pinned to your sides, simultaneously curl both dumbbells toward your shoulders.

Zottman_B

STEP 2:
Once you reach the top — your elbows should remain locked by your sides. Pause and squeeze your biceps hard, and then rotate the weights until your palms are in the forward (pronated) position.

STEP 3:
Keeping your hands in this position, slowly lower the dumbbells toward your thighs, stopping short of lockout.

Zottman_C

STEP 4:
Turn your palms back to the supinated starting position and begin your next rep.

Once you’re comfortable with the Zottman curl, try the reverse method: Start with your palms facing down, reverse curl the dumbbells up, pause and squeeze, rotate your palms up and slowly lower the weights to the start.
If you can’t perform all of your reps using both arms simultaneously, finish your set by alternating arms on each rep.
Hit the Zottman late in your biceps workout, since working the forearms to exhaustion will affect other biceps exercises.

BIGGEST TRAINING ERRORS

1. Allowing your delts too much involvement by letting your elbows travel forward and away from your sides (probably because you’re attempting too much weight) as you curl the weight up.

2. Not utilizing the peak contraction. Don’t rush the top of the move, but squeeze your biceps and forearms for a brief moment before lowering the dumbbells. Also, because there is rotation at the wrists and elbows, being deliberate will not only help build mass, but also protect your joints.

3. Turning your neck. Avoid the tendency to look to either side as you curl. Doing so can cause unwanted stress on your cervical spine, so keep your head neutral.

BEST ALTERNATIVE

REVERSE CURL superset with STANDARD CURL

This move is so unique that it takes two exercises to provide a worthy alternative. The Zottman curl was devised by strongman George Zottman in the 1880s and is now receiving its due acclaim for its ability to build bigger biceps and forearms. Involving the brachioradialis — the prominent muscle on the thumb side of your forearm — the Zottman curl helps to add balance between upper and lower arm mass. If you don’t have dumbbells, try supersets between the reverse curl and standard curl. Be sure to reverse the order of exercises to mimic the Zottman as much as possible.

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