Build Bigger, Stronger Biceps With This Expert Trainer’s Curl Routine

Woman performs biceps curl exercise with dumbbells
(Image credit: gradyreese / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

So you want bigger biceps, but dumbbell curls alone aren’t delivering the results you desire? It’s a familiar story.

One possible solution is to add more variation into your biceps workout, something you can do with the help of certified strength coach Melissa Kendter.

She shared with me one of her training tricks for building bigger biceps, the four-in-one biceps curl, a tougher take on 21s.

How To Do The Four-In-One Curl

Pick a pair of fairly light dumbbells and perform 10 dumbbell curls, followed immediately by 10 partial curls from the bottom of the rep to your belly button, pausing at the top of each rep. Next complete 10 more partial reps, this time covering the top half of the rep from the belly button to your shoulders. Finish with 10 more full reps.

Benefits Of The Four-In-One Curl

Progressive overload, or gradually making an exercise more difficult over time, is a tried-and-tested technique for building strength and muscle. So surely you should work on using heavier dumbbells for your next set of curls? This can work, but adding weight to a lift isn’t the only way to make it more challenging—you can also increase the time the muscle is under tension for. 

“It keeps your biceps under tension for 40 reps, since it’s really four exercises in one,” says Kendter. 

She recommends starting with “a weight you know you can keep under tension for a prolonged period.” This will be relatively light, but you should still be prepared for your biceps to feel on fire during the final few reps. Play with a few different weights to find one that works for you, and gradually increase it as your strength increases.

Once you plateau with this routine, try one of these curls workouts, which includes the bodybuilding favorite run-the-rack workout, or graduate to this arm workout plan.

Harry Bullmore
Staff writer

Harry covers news, reviews and features for Coach, Fit&Well and Live Science. With over a decade of training experience, he has tried everything from powerlifting to gymnastics, cardio to CrossFit, all in a bid to find fun ways of building a healthy, functional body.