There's nothing wrong with classic curl variations. However, there are ways to ramp up the intensity. Generally, there are three things you can do:
- Use multiple angles
- Use offset loads
- Add time under tension (isometric holds or drop sets)
With these themes in mind, here are five different curl variations you probably aren't doing.
1 – Banded Drop Set
- Get a bar and a band. Strap the band to the bar.
- Step on the band and do 6-8 reps.
- Step off the band and do 6-8 rep.
- Unwrap the band from the bar and do 6-8 curls with just the band.
2 – Curl Walk
- Find a strip of space that's approximately 20 yards, although you can play with the distance.
- Do 6 regular reps using a barbell or dumbbells. On the sixth rep, hold your arms at 90 degrees and take a walk. (No space? Just do the isometric portion standing in one spot. Hold for 10-15 seconds.)
- When you get to the end, do 6 more reps, hold your arms at 90 degrees, and walk back.
3 – Steel Mace or Club Curl
- Using a weighted club or mace, place your hand close to the handle. Complete 6-8 reps.
- Place your hand in the middle and do 6-8 reps.
- Place your hand all the way at the end for 6-8 reps.
- Now place your hand in the center of the club and hold your arm at a 90 degree angle. Pronate and supinate your hand for a total of 6-8 more reps.
4 – Directional Band Curl
- Attach two handles to the end of a resistance band. If you have resistance bands with handles on them, just use those.
- There will be four positions for this lift: hands pointed inward toward the chest, hands facing forward, hands facing slightly out, and hands pointed fully outward.
- For each rep, change the angle that you're using during the curl. Once you get all the way out to the fourth type of rep, start over.
- You can do this routine with dumbbells as well.
5 – Reverse Curl to Curl
- Attach a bar to a cable station and start with a reverse grip. Pick a weight you can do for 10-12 reps.
- Once you do 10-12 reps, switch to a regular curl and complete as many reps as possible.