If you’re looking for a new way to think about training your arms, just imagine your biceps are mountain ranges. The idea isn’t not so crazy once you start seeing the peaks of the muscles. Every time you hit the gym for a pump, you can take one step closer to Everest status.
This spider curl variation from Men’s Health Fitness Director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. gives you a new way to push the summits of those biceps even higher by making them work alone. “This is going to help you focus on the peaks of your biceps,” Samuel says. “We are further isolating the biceps by eliminating almost all assistance from the forearm and brachialis muscles, which generally assist you in your curling motion.”
To perform incline spider top curls, you need an incline bench and a set of dumbbells. Since this is isolation work, you don’t want to go too heavy; make sure you use a weight that allows you to perform all aspects of the exercise with proper form.
- Set up an incline bench at a 30 degree angle.
- Sit on the bench facing forward, with your chest leaning against the back rest, holding a dumbbell in one hand. Extend your opposite arm to stay balanced.
- Squeeze your bicep to curl the weight up and in toward your chest.
- Stop the movement when your forearm is parallel to the ground.
- Pause for a count, then squeeze your bicep to perform 2 top half curls.
- Lower the dumbbell down to the starting position. That’s 1 rep.
When you add that midway pause into your curl, you’re essentially starting up a whole new movement.
“By adding that pause midway through, we help erase all the momentum and energy generated during the first portion of the curl,” says Samuel. “So you have to restart the curl from that halfway point with only your biceps.”
Once you start to tire out, make sure that you maintain proper posture to prevent your shoulder from picking up the slack.
To add this to your bicep scaling routine, try 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps for each arm. For more tips and routines from Samuel, check out our full slate of Eb and Swole workouts. If you want to try an even more dedicated routine, consider Eb’s New Rules of Muscle program.