The Stato-Dynamic Curl
This is awesome if you have problems feeling your biceps when doing curls. Why is that important? Because there's a strong correlation between feeling a muscle when training it and the growth you get.
In fact, when someone has a lagging muscle group, the first thing I want to work on is his or her capacity to feel that muscle when training it.
My favorite method to do that? The stato-dynamic pre-fatigue method. Sounds complicated, but it's just doing one long isometric hold before your regular reps.
You'd focus on contracting the target muscle as hard as you can. The position of the hold should be the one where you naturally have the most tension. For a free-weight curl, this is at the mid-range position, or when the forearm is parallel to the floor.
I go with three work sets using this method. Use it with any standard curl, reverse curl, or hammer curl variation.
- Curl the weight up until your forearm is parallel to the floor. Then hold this position for 15-30 seconds (I like to progress by five seconds per week) while focusing on the tensing the biceps as much as you can.
- After the hold is done, bring the bar back down under control, then immediately start doing your reps.
- Do 8-12 reps after the hold.
- You have 15-30 seconds to practice contracting a muscle. Contracting a muscle is a motor skill; the more your practice it, the better you get. And just like pretty much any skill, it's easier to do it statically or very slowly than with a dynamic action.
- You sensitize the neuromuscular junction which will immediately improve your capacity to recruit the biceps during your reps.
- You pre-fatigue the biceps during the hold so that even if you're not yet efficient at contracting the biceps, you'll still get a greater training effect than what you'd get by simply doing reps.
- During the hold you accumulate lactate in the muscle. This leads to the release of local growth factors, which can help trigger growth.
- You'll immediately feel the muscle more after the hold. If you feel the muscle more during your reps, you'll be able to improve your capacity to use your biceps properly.