Bulging forearms. A handshake capable of crushing steel. Why are they becoming so rare these days? Well, probably because most lifters skimp on their forearm training.
It's understandable. Direct forearm training is painful and boring, and it's often an afterthought, tagged onto the end of a workout when you're already fatigued. But what if there was an exercise that would allow you to add serious mass to your forearms while also building your biceps? Well, there is.
The Zottman Curl
- Grab a pair of dumbbells using a false or thumbless grip.
- Start with a supine grip, palms facing up.
- Begin the movement by flexing your bicep and curling upwards as you would with a normal dumbbell curl.
- In the fully contracted position, flex for 1-2-seconds, then rotate your wrist and forearm so that you're now using a prone or palms-facing-down grip.
- Lower the weight into a full stretch through your biceps and forearms.
- Repeat with the other arm, moving back and forth from arm to arm until all reps are completed. You can also perform these bilaterally: curling with both arms at the same time.
How It Works
By beginning Zottman curls as you would a standard dumbbell curl, you're able to use a load that's much heavier than what you might normally reverse curl. Then, by rotating your grip to zero-in on your forearms, you can hammer every last muscle fiber by overloading your forearms through a heavy, slow eccentric (negative).
Tremendous contraction in your biceps plus an overloaded eccentric placed on your forearms? Welcome to the best of both worlds.
Sets and Reps
Zottman curls are most effective in certain set and rep ranges. Do them for 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps per arm, as well as 2-3 sets of 20-30.
Within your workout, Zottmans serve as an excellent movement early on to bring blood flow to your arms and warm up your elbow flexors. As an alternative, you can also use them as a high-rep finisher at the end of your session to flood your gangly arms with blood and put the finishing touch on your massive pump.