Want to take advantage of muscular tension, isometric potentiation, and unilateral-enhanced neural drive? In other words, want to build bigger biceps? Then try this.
The Constant Tension Alternate Curl
Start with both arms in the fully flexed position – the "top" of the curl. Lower the working arm while keeping the non-working arm flexed near the top. Curl up the working arm until both arms are once again flexed. Then switch arms and do the same thing. You keep on alternating this way until the set is completed.
The benefits, according to Coach Christian Thibaudeau, are:
- The biceps are under constant tension. While the non-lifting arm is "waiting its turn," it's still contracted isometrically which recruits more motor units.
- You're performing a unilateral dynamic movement. This increases motor unit activation in the working muscles, thus facilitating the recruitment and stimulation of more muscle fibers.
- You're preceding the dynamic action by an isometric one.
The downside is that you can't use as much weight, so you won't create as much muscle damage. This is why it's important to use this exercise as a secondary biceps movement, after a heavier exercise.
Want a variation? Use the same technique with dumbbell preacher curls.