For some reason, curls are often tossed into the wimpy exercise pile along with triceps kickbacks. Yeah, yeah, we should all be doing weighted close-grip chin-ups, but let's set one thing straight: every bodybuilder with big, muscular arms did curls to help him build them. He did not just "stick to the big compound movements" to get those sleeve cannons to explode.
That being said, there are a lot of good curling options out there besides the standard EZ-bar curl. One of them is the drag curl.
As T-Nation's Christian Thibaudeau demonstrates above, you simply keep the bar in contact with the body at all times as you lift it. The elbows should be kept as close to the torso as possible. This is why it's called a drag curl: you "drag" the bar up your body.
Squeeze extra hard in the peak contraction position, then lower it the same way, keeping it in constant contact with the body.
Notes and Variations
• Both a regular and reverse grip can be used effectively.
• You'll need to use less weight than you typically use with a standard curl, so leave the ego in the locker room.
• The range of motion is shorter than a regular curl, especially if you have big honkin' arms. Compensate by squeezing extra hard in the peak contraction position.
• Once you master drag curls, try the "ski jump" variation. This is a drag curl performed with a cable stack.
Simply attach a handle to a cable and face away from the stack. Take a step away from the weight stack and lean forward like a ski jumper so that your arms are at a 45-degree angle relative to your torso.
Without moving your shoulders or changing the angle so much as an inch, curl the cable grips up and forward. If you're doing them properly, your hands will end up roughly parallel with your lats.
Try the drag curl this week and let us know what you think!