The things we do every day can sometimes become mundane and tedious, but they can also be redefined, revamped and turbo charged. Simple, basic movements pulled us out of the death in a box, day to day drudgery that we are so far away from now. Moves like the straight bar barbell curl are the bread and butter of your biceps foundation. Now let's focus on four things that no one ever told you and what is so obvious you will kick yourself in the ass for not thinking about it.
First, linear movement and the correct neuromuscular pathway are essential to the failure or success of this move. Simply put, the second you lean forward (even one degree) your set is over. You have removed the stress from your biceps and compromised your technique.
Second, if you allow your shoulders to be pulled forward, the only lasting thing you will get out of these is an inflamed bicep tendon and some surgeon telling you about the rotator cuff problem you don't have.
Third, resting at either the bottom or the top of this move (no matter how heavy the weight is) will also void the asshole-clinching work you just put in.
Fourth, throwing the weight up is a serious mistake and it could prove to be a very costly one at that. As a man who has been on the business end of a bicep tear, I assure you cheat curls are a ridiculous waste of time.
Having said all that, I'm not asking you to curl 15 pounds and wear a fucking tutu. The level of intensity one can generate is directly proportional to the level of strength that individual possesses. In other words, the stronger you are, the more weight you may use.
All things are as they should be so far, right? Next, take the time to set yourself up before you begin to exercise. Make sure you are lined up to receive the full benefit of the work rather than wiggling around during the set like there are fire ants biting your ass. Your feet should be inside shoulder width apart. Your knees must be bent but only to the extent that they are not locked as you curl. Your shoulders must be held back to allow your arms to fully extend and to prevent you from bunching up your bicep tendon.
Throw your chest up and fix your eyes on something midway up the wall so your head is slightly up and back. Most importantly, as you curl, do not grip the ground with your toes--do not allow your body to lean forward at all. Push your toes up against the inside of your shoes--this is crucial.
You may require some time to unlearn some bad habits, but at the end of the day, it will be fucking worth it. Find the correct balance and the correct neuromuscular pathway and make the weight you use is the least important variable in the equation. Also, your rep speed should be fairly quick… All the way up and all the way down. Remember, no hesitation at any point during the rep.
Relate the pressure from the weight in your palms directly through your biceps and down your body through your heels. I focus on my biceps and my heels--laugh if you want to but it is a common thing in my life to field questions about my arms wherever I go. Mostly though people just stare and wonder how they got that way. I just saved you 10 years and untold buckets of shit… Be smart and try barbell curls for real. It's not just what you do… It's what you do and how you do it.