Barbell Curls, Anyone?

Antti

Level 9 Valued Member
Fwiw, I think curls are important. How much, when, and for whom will vary.

Jouko Ahola, et al - do them (heavy hammer curls) and that's enough of an argument for them as I need.

Yes, Jouko Ahola doing dumbbell hammer curls. Warm up with 20kg. It gets more serious with 40kg. With the 60kg set you're allowed to cheat a little.
 

mikerobinson

Level 4 Valued Member
I had plate curls programmed for me at the end of my session. Two handed curl holding a 25 kg barbell plate (might be too light for some). Usually for 3-4 x 20 reps.

The thing I noticed with plate curls is that it becomes a whole body exercise as the plate is slightly in front of you, so your core is working pretty good, your stabiliser muscles, your shoulders, and even your quads and back.

Starts off pretty easy for first 12 reps then gets hard all of a sudden, especially as muscles are already fatigued at the end of the session.
 

watchnerd

Level 6 Valued Member
I had plate curls programmed for me at the end of my session. Two handed curl holding a 25 kg barbell plate (might be too light for some). Usually for 3-4 x 20 reps.

The thing I noticed with plate curls is that it becomes a whole body exercise as the plate is slightly in front of you, so your core is working pretty good, your stabiliser muscles, your shoulders, and even your quads and back.

Starts off pretty easy for first 12 reps then gets hard all of a sudden, especially as muscles are already fatigued at the end of the session.

I haven't done a two handed plate curl in...errr...a decade?

I think I'l try it again for old time's sake after today's workout.
 

BJJ Shawn

Level 6 Valued Member
I had plate curls programmed for me at the end of my session. Two handed curl holding a 25 kg barbell plate (might be too light for some). Usually for 3-4 x 20 reps.

The thing I noticed with plate curls is that it becomes a whole body exercise as the plate is slightly in front of you, so your core is working pretty good, your stabiliser muscles, your shoulders, and even your quads and back.

Starts off pretty easy for first 12 reps then gets hard all of a sudden, especially as muscles are already fatigued at the end of the session.
No matter what curl your do the weight is slightly in front of you, I can’t see how this is any different. Am I missing something?
 

watchnerd

Level 6 Valued Member
No matter what curl your do the weight is slightly in front of you, I can’t see how this is any different. Am I missing something?

I just did a set.

For me, they're partial reps.

I can't fully extend my elbow on the eccentric before the 25 kg plate hits my thighs.

As for the "whole body" nature of it (cores, glutes, etc) , it didn't seem massively different from other standing barbell / EZ bar / double dumbbell curls.
 

mikerobinson

Level 4 Valued Member
No matter what curl your do the weight is slightly in front of you, I can’t see how this is any different. Am I missing something?
It’s even more in front of you than dumbbells and barbell. Plus it’s directly concentrated in front of your core. Plus your grip is narrower compared to barbell and dumbbell curls. Plus the rotation of the grip is different, as it’s side on to the plate, as opposed to outward facing like normal curls. All these add up. Give it a go for a set of 20 with a 25 kgs plate. If you use a thick bumper plate it seems to make it a bit harder too, as the grip is wider requiring more pressure. This is what I’ve found anyhow, others might find it different.

Not suggesting it’s the best exercise ever. Rather, It proved to be a useful assistance exercise during lock downs, when the gyms were closed, and equipment limited. Along with other old school moves like lying plate pull overs, and lying (on the floor) plate presses, as well as the floor barbell press. But I did develop a fondness for it due to the work I felt it was giving my body.
 

watchnerd

Level 6 Valued Member
If you use a thick bumper plate it seems to make it a bit harder too, as the grip is wider requiring more pressure. This is what I’ve found anyhow, others might find it different.

Huh.

I didn't find the grip difficult at all.

Plate used, Rogue 25 kg competition bumper, thickness 2.5":


Then again, I do a lot of club and macebell work twice a week (Mon, Fri), so I already get a lot of grip work.

As for the biceps, it's only 12.5 kg / 27.5 lb per side.
 

Hardartery

Level 5 Valued Member
I had plate curls programmed for me at the end of my session. Two handed curl holding a 25 kg barbell plate (might be too light for some). Usually for 3-4 x 20 reps.

The thing I noticed with plate curls is that it becomes a whole body exercise as the plate is slightly in front of you, so your core is working pretty good, your stabiliser muscles, your shoulders, and even your quads and back.

Starts off pretty easy for first 12 reps then gets hard all of a sudden, especially as muscles are already fatigued at the end of the session.
I have never heard of anyone doing them with two hands on one plate. The grip guys do them one handed for the forearm work, as they directly help grip. Bumpers are a little tougher because of the thickness, but the rubberized texture make them less slippery. One armed. 20kg one armed is doable for most if they train it.
 

watchnerd

Level 6 Valued Member
I have never heard of anyone doing them with two hands on one plate. The grip guys do them one handed for the forearm work, as they directly help grip. Bumpers are a little tougher because of the thickness, but the rubberized texture make them less slippery. One armed. 20kg one armed is doable for most if they train it.

That sounds more reasonable.

Plus, one-armed, I can drop my arm all the way to the side and get a full range of motion.

I haven't tried a one arm 20 kg bumper plate curl, but I don't think it would be a huge stretch given I already grab the 20 kg bumpers with one hand out of the plate rack or off the rack storage peg and usually flip them up to rack height with one hand.
 

mikerobinson

Level 4 Valued Member
The Rogue ones are competition bumpers and a little thinner. Mine come in at 3.5 inch on the 25 kg. So a little thicker. I’m not suggesting it’s a grip exercise. Just that that the thicker the bar/plate the more it works grip.

As for never hearing of the two hand plate curl This came from powerlifting guys. As in world and national championship level powerlifting guys. That’s where it was learnt. It not meant to be a pure strength exercise. It’s used at the very end of a 90 minute workout when the muscles are already pretty fatigued and well used for high reps.

Bear in mind too, it’s a filler, as I mentioned: lockdown, gyms closed. Only equipment is barbell and plates, no bench. Plenty of other barbell exercises thrown in, but this was programmed in to for some variety and mainly for some hypertrophy and assistance to the big lifts.
 

watchnerd

Level 6 Valued Member
The Rogue ones are competition bumpers and a little thinner. Mine come in at 3.5 inch on the 25 kg. So a little thicker. I’m not suggesting it’s a grip exercise. Just that that the thicker the bar/plate the more it works grip.

As for never hearing of the two hand plate curl This came from powerlifting guys. As in world and national championship level powerlifting guys. That’s where it was learnt. It not meant to be a pure strength exercise. It’s used at the very end of a 90 minute workout when the muscles are already pretty fatigued and well used for high reps.

Bear in mind too, it’s a filler, as I mentioned: lockdown, gyms closed. Only equipment is barbell and plates, no bench. Plenty of other barbell exercises thrown in, but this was programmed in to for some variety and mainly for some hypertrophy and assistance to the big lifts.

If it's not a grip exercise, and you have a barbell and plates, why not just do barbell curls?

You can get a better range of motion, and you can load it more variably, whether lighter or heavier.
 

Bauer

Level 6 Valued Member
I've done those "crush curls" with my bells before. They seem to work a lot of the muscles that get left behind in the regular S&S program. Mainly the pecs and biceps.

I can't remember the actual name but you basically just squeeze a bell between your hands and curl it, making sure to support it through the squeeze and don't cheat and slip your fingers under it.
Pavel calls them, well, Crush Curls in the ETK Special Report #2.

Curls are not generally excluded in StrongFirst - Pavel includes them as an optional move and example in PTTP (and also the reverse grip floor press, focusing on the biceps), and also in S&S (as a form of prying during Goblet Squats).
 

North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
Since I changed how I row and do neutral grip pullups, my biceps get very little work directed at them. I alternate bi and tri at the end of every session mixed in with ab work.

Currently using pretty heavy weight in a Cluster Set approach - 3 or 4 reps x 4 repeats with a pronated grip.
 

Boris Bachmann

Level 6 Valued Member
Not a typical Strongman exercise. Jouko is his own man.
Jouko was certainly one of a kind. I imagine that strongman training has changed and evolved a lot in the 20+ years since he won the WSM. That said, I don't think anyone would argue that biceps weren't important.
 

Hardartery

Level 5 Valued Member
Jouko was certainly one of a kind. I imagine that strongman training has changed and evolved a lot in the 20+ years since he won the WSM. That said, I don't think anyone would argue that biceps weren't important.
Virtually everyone involved in Strongman has argued that. Some have changed their minds, but honestly they are not particularly important in SM. Most guys that train them and compete are training biceps for injury prevention concerns or for aesthetics totally unrelated to competing. MVM did some cross body curls in training, which are more sport specific and less useful for big arms. Biceps tears are not terribly uncommon in the Tire Flip, so some guys train bi's specifically trying to avoid that happening. They don't help much of anything in any contested events though.
 

Boris Bachmann

Level 6 Valued Member
Virtually everyone involved in Strongman has argued that. Some have changed their minds, but honestly they are not particularly important in SM. Most guys that train them and compete are training biceps for injury prevention concerns or for aesthetics totally unrelated to competing. MVM did some cross body curls in training, which are more sport specific and less useful for big arms. Biceps tears are not terribly uncommon in the Tire Flip, so some guys train bi's specifically trying to avoid that happening. They don't help much of anything in any contested events though.
The strongman competitors acquaintances would disagree w. you then, I guess. I have zero personal experience w. strongman sport, so I would not argue with you (and I am not here), but they have all, to a person, told me that they were helpful w. the stones.
 

Hardartery

Level 5 Valued Member
The strongman competitors acquaintances would disagree w. you then, I guess. I have zero personal experience w. strongman sport, so I would not argue with you (and I am not here), but they have all, to a person, told me that they were helpful w. the stones.
I have not competed in a while, but I know that we all avoided it for two reasons. The first was that biceps get in the way on some events, especially with overhead work. They screw up your ability to rack stuff. They also were an extra drag on recovery with no perceivable plus as far as performance goes. I can say that if biceps help on stones, your form is wrong. Yes, I am planting my flag there. If you use them to lift stones, you are doing it wrong. Period.
 

Boris Bachmann

Level 6 Valued Member
I can say that if biceps help on stones, your form is wrong. Yes, I am planting my flag there. If you use them to lift stones, you are doing it wrong. Period.
Like I said, I'm not arguing w. you, but their 'argument' was NOT that you use your arms to lift the stones (which anyone who's ever lifted a stone knows would be ridiculous), just that they were engaged very strongly to secure the stones to the body statically.
 
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