Bicep Curls.

  1. Bicep Curls.

    Alright, this is a newb question I'm sure, but I need some clarification. I'm curious as to the difference in effects from free weights vs. cables. More specifically... barbell curls. They are of course the big bicep mass gainer, and I'd like to make them the focus of my bicep routine, but, I like the constant tension from using the cabled version. It will also make life a little easier, letting me do all my bicep work in one place, with one bar (with straight-bar curls, hammer curls, and reverse curls). Basically what I'm asking is, would using cables eliminate or mitigate the desired effects from regular barbell curls?

    Oh and while I'm here, as of now I'm doing:

    2x12 Straight-bar Curls
    2x12 Hammer Curls
    2x12 Reverse Curls

    all of this wtih cables.

    I'm relatively new and wanting to throw on as much mass as possible, meaning shaping is low priority. What do you think of doing 4x12 Straight-bar Curls and 2x12 Reverse Curls? Or possibly even 6x12 Straight-bar Curls with 2x12 Cross-body Hammer Curls (to hit the brachialis).

    I'm afraid this post has gotten overly long. Ah well. Thanks for reading .

    Edit: ONE last thing, I swear!
    Could someone define ectomorphy, mesomorphy, and endomorphy? Or show me a link with info?
    Last edited by Flavor; 03-06-2003 at 03:20 AM.

  2. Nelson
    Nelson's Avatar

    May YJ take mercy on your soul

  3. knowledge about benefits of free weight training should be an obvious one. gonna let you read an article which supports the benefits of cables........

    Describing that “Difference”

    I suppose parachutists would tell you that they certainly prefer the manner in which an opened parachute gradually slows a descent to any of the more abrupt alternatives. Likewise, it is bungee chord jumping that has caught on as a thrill seeker’s sport, not jumping from bridges with rigid, inflexible ropes attached to your ankles. Bungee chords “gradually” absorb gravitational forces. Cables are similar, though not of course, countering forces to gravity per se, but to the forces we create in our exertions upon them. As you begin a pull or press, the resistance is comparatively easy, but the farther you stretch the cable, the greater the resistance you’ll encounter. About a dozen or so years ago, a friend and I suspended some heavy cables from a power rack and found the resistance curve (in terms of weight suspended compared to the stretch in inches) to be fairly linear. So, a puller of cables starts out under a “relatively” small load equal to the elastic potential energy stored in the cable or band at any particular stretched length and encounters increased resistance somewhat linearly until the stretch is completed.

    The Acceleration factor in “Force”

    This gradual increase in resistance allows a cable puller to build momentum early in the movement making it possible for the exercise to terminate in a resistance that, in most cases, would be greater than a similar static weight lifted with a barbell or dumbbell. Greater? Yes, compare the length a bungee chord is ultimately stretched by a man weighing 150 lbs. jumping from a tall bridge with the amount of statically suspended weight required to stretch the chord the same length. It might take a suspended weight of 500 lbs. to acquire the same stretched length as the 150 lb. mass under acceleration. The “force = mass X acceleration” formula is operative in my analogue and so it is with cables. The terminal forces borne by the opposing muscles are heightened by the early acceleration of the cable strands and may well exceed a barbell lifter’s more static creation of force in a similar exercise absent the acceleration.
    Note that with most cable exercises, there are unlimited combinations of hand positions, of pulling angles, and so forth. As a general rule, start with the basic movements, and then experiment with other angles and hand placements over time to work the muscles from all possible angles. Also, cables very actively involve the major and minor muscles of the torso in non-vertical expressions of exercise. If one considers barbell and dumbbell movements, a large majority of these are limited to vertical expressions of strength. In many sports--wrestling, boxing, football, baseball, track & field events, etc.— the athlete encounters forces from many other angles. Some of the traditional cable movements are thought to be especially suited to developing athletic ability and strength as it applies in real-life applications

    6. Cable Curls
    Everyone has his or her favorite biceps exercise and the cable version of a curl would certainly be more widely appreciated if it were better known. One end of a cable becomes a stirrup, of course, and the other handle the curling device. Curl the cable in the exact manner you’d curl a dumbbell. The photo illustrated here is one of Jack Reid, Jack Russell, and Dave Asnis from left to right. Reid is flexing his right arm as if it were opposed by cable resistance. Other variations of curls are also available. For example, one could easily rig a hammer curl by looping a towel or thick rope through the curling handle and grasping the ends for curling with a different hand angle. Perhaps my favorite program for the curl is simply an isometric routine. Add enough strands to slightly exceed your maximum limit, use the non-curling hand to assist in curling the arm up to the three traditional isometric positions, slowly release the supporting hand, and hold for 8 to 12 seconds, then use the non-curling hand to ease the pressure off gently. Perform only one set for the three positions.

    maybe this will also help you out huh....straight from the arnold....Sage

    --For Mass:
    Lift Heavy. Takes intense mental focus and concentration. Visualize your biceps growing! Do Barbell Curls and Cheating Reps.

    --For Length, Thickness:
    You must full stretch the biceps to the max and concentrate on working the lower one-third of the mass. Try prone curls or incline curls to really focus the biceps to the max. Preacher curls work very well for isolation and thickness development. For even better isolation, try the single arm isolation preacher machine. Try rotating the wrists 180 degrees for your last set.

    --For Height:
    Concentration curls work well to build that peak. Use a dumbbell or cable for the movement. The intensity should be placed heavily on the top one-third of the muscle mass. Flex your biceps as hard as possible without causing them to cramp at the top of the movement for peak development. This should really burn and give you a tremendous pump. Dumbell curls that cause your thumb to point outward by twisting the wrist towards the outside of your body as you lift the weight will build great height also. After completely burning the biceps strike some poses in the mirror emphasizing your peak.

    --For Mass and Outer Thickness:
    Any kind of curls that bring the weight in towards your chest, such as Close-Grip Barbell Curls or Close-Grip Preachers will develop great mass and outer thickness. Concentration curls that are done inward toward the center of the body will get that outer thickness growing too.

    --Mass and Inner Thickness:
    Hammer curls work very well for developing inner thickness. Hammer curls are where you face your palm inward rather than upward as you lift the weight in a semicircular arc. You will notice the difference in stress this places on the biceps. Also, some basic movements work will such as standing barbell curls (wide-grip), seated or standing dumbbell curls, incline dumbbell curls, wide-grip barbell preacher curls.

    --For Striation, Separation, and Definition:
    Use as many different biceps exercises as possible. Dumbbell movements are a must because of the great range of motion they provide and the ability you have of hitting every different angle with them. Reverse curls are very good at developing the brachio radialis and biceps so that your back double bicep pose shows lots of definition.

  4. Everyone is different, but I find cable curl movements useless. The straight bar curl, medium to close grip is the #1 excecise for overall thick biceps development. Incline dumbell curls and preacher curls with e-z curl bar are my next 2 favorites. Use strict form or your front delts will do most of the work.

    Reverse curls hit the brahialis directly, and adding these renders hammer curls unnecessary. Twisting the wrist can place undue strain on the elbow. Warm up first as free weight curls are not as forgiving as cables.

    My least favorite biceps excercise is concentration curl. I would rank this right there with kickbacks for triceps.

  5. i find using cables as the last exercise for biceps a great way to flush and give the biceps a good pump. You will probably get better results from doing both free weight and cables.

  6. Originally posted by gh0stface killa
    i find using cables as the last exercise for biceps a great way to flush and give the biceps a good pump. You will probably get better results from doing both free weight and cables.
    like I said, everyone is different. The Iron Lord has 18"+ arms with an incredible high peak, and does just one biceps excecise, weighted chins. I usually do preacher curls as a finishing movement. When I leave the gym, my arms are so pumped, I can't even comb my hair.

    While cables give a nice pump, I don't think they in the same league as free weights for building size and mass.

    BTW, I get tired of hearing about "shaping" movements. It takes years to build big arms, and by the time they are big, you will know more than enough about shaping them. So "shaping" and "definition" movenents are virtually worthless until you have something to shape.

  7. Thanks a lot for the responses, I agree with you John on the concentration curls. Never been a fan of arm work that doesn't keep the elbows in.

    In my defense, I know the benefits of free weights, and of cable work... I just wasn't (and still am not, really) sure as to what exactly free weights have over most cable exercises.

    Just in case you were wondering... lol... here's what I've decided to try for now:

    3x Barbell Curls, each set descending from wide, mid, to close grip
    2x Reverse Cable Curls, because for some reason I have a hard time doing these with free weights.
    Lastly, some DB Spider Curl negatives. I don't know much about negatives, but I was thinking 2 sets of 2, one set palm up, and one hammer. Thoughts?

    Gonna play with the rep range, I'll try 6 rather than 12 next time.

  8. plant the feet, bend the knees, grab yoself an easy bar (straight if your wrists accomodate it), load the plates and pump that ****... I don't like the way cables feel but they do give hella pump... db's are alright, don't care for seated concentration curls or anything like that though

  9. Originally posted by Biggin
    plant the feet, bend the knees, grab yoself an easy bar (straight if your wrists accomodate it), load the plates and pump that ****... I don't like the way cables feel but they do give hella pump... db's are alright, don't care for seated concentration curls or anything like that though
    best way to build biceps...and i like incline curls...but i just dont like cables anything...never did much for me.

  10. incline curls are ****ing great as well, definitely... highly recommend them to anyone that hasn't tried them

  11. U wanna know what I think of machines and cables? Ronnie Coleman is a 5-time mr.olympia and he doesnt use machines only free weights, old school is the best, most proven way. If you want a good bi's excersize use an incline bench as a preacher and do dumbbell curls, go heavy and strip sets you will pack on some serious mass and definition doing this. Also of course the other routines your doing, do them with freeweights, otherwise ur not strengthening your grip.

  12. if you want some great tips for exercises go to place has many to choose from and most of them are bad ass. you gotta change up your routines.


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