Incline curls are a bodybuilding staple. The simultaneous stretch and overload they provide has been scientifically shown to maximize micro-trauma and muscle damage, causing significant levels of hypertrophy.
Unfortunately, when doing this exercise with dumbbells, there's very little tension above the bottom half of the movement. The biceps relax at the top of the curl. Not good. Grab some kettlebells and do this instead.
Incline Kettlebell Curl
Due to their unique loading mechanism created from the hanging weight, kettlebells provide adequate tension and stimulation not only in the bottom and mid-range positions, but also in the top contracted position. In fact, this incline kettlebell curl variation exploits all three major mechanisms of muscle growth:
- The kettlebells emphasize the elongated eccentric and stretched position, which produces muscle damage and micro-trauma that's critical for growth.
- Their semi-awkward nature and hanging position requires high levels of muscle activation, which produces significant amounts of mechanical tension and muscle fiber recruitment.
- Because of the constant tension throughout the movement with little relaxation of the biceps, this exercise creates an occlusion-effect to the surrounding musculature. There's an incredible amount of blood flow, muscular pump, intramuscular volumization, cellular swelling, and metabolic stress, all of which are linked to muscle growth.
Weight & Reps
Do incline kettlebell curls at a 45-degree bench angle using a variety of loads and rep ranges including heavy weights (4-6 reps), moderate loads (8-10 reps), and lighter loads (12-15 reps). One to two sets in each rep range will lead to great gains in biceps size.