I have a question about my biceps. When I do bicep curls using dumbbells, I have noticed that the next day I’m never really sore directly in the biceps area. The main place I feel sore is actually on the outside of my forearm. Is this normal or is my technique just incorrect when I’m doing dumbbell curls? I really need to develop my biceps since my arms are really small so any advice you can provide would be great!
If you are feeling the majority of the soreness in your forearms rather than directly on your biceps, then your exercise technique most likely needs work. Dumbbell bicep curls should be targeting your biceps as the primary muscle group and the forearms only as the secondary muscle group.
If you’re not feeling stimulation in your biceps, the first thing you want to do is to make sure you are actually doing biceps curls and not hammer curls. Hammer curls will definitely target your forearm muscles much more than traditional curls, so it’s important you know the difference. Hammer curls are when you hold the dumbbells with your palms facing in towards your sides and you curl them in this position without twisting your wrists. So, you basically curl the weight straight up and down with your wrists being in the same position.
Try to change the movement with the angle and the position of your wrists. Traditional dumbbell bicep curls are basically supinating curls where you turn and twist your wrists on the way up (concentric portion) and really place tension on the inside of your biceps at the top of the movement. The other way to make sure you place maximum tension directly on your biceps is to do dumbbell curls with your palms facing directly out from start to finish. Normally, you will let the dumbbells hang to your sides and your palms will naturally face into your sides. When you curl the weight up, the dumbbell will turn and your wrist will twist (supinate) through the middle part of the curl until you reach the top where your palms will finally face out and up towards the ceiling.
When you do curls with your palms always facing out, there will be no twisting of your wrists. You simply curl the dumbbell straight up and down. It’s actually a little tougher to do this type of curl so you might not be able to use the same amount of weight that you can normally use on traditional curls (supinating) but the tension it places directly on your biceps is incredible and you will ensure that you are really hitting the biceps muscle directly.
It’s also important to switch up the biceps exercises you do for each workout, since you want to stimulate the biceps muscle from different angles in order to shock the muscle. Everyone is different and some exercises simply don’t feel good to some and while others love them so when you include many different movements into your workout, you will eventually feel which exercises are hitting the targeted muscle and then you can pick and choose the best ones to include in your workouts.