Why Bicep Curls Are Almost Pointless

Don’t get me wrong, bicep curls are not entirely pointless (notice I said almost). If you are a bodybuilder and are going to be getting on stage you should definitely be doing them, or if you are just one of those people who really has a need to have “big guns” you can feel free to curl until the cows come home. But if you are just looking to have an athletic, strong body then bicep curls are way down near the bottom of the list of exercises you should be doing. I could easily name 10 exercises you should be doing long before bothering with bicep curls. In fact, here they are:

  1. Deadlift
  2. Squat
  3. Bench Press
  4. Pull ups/chin ups
  5. Rows
  6. Cleans
  7. Snatches
  8. Kettlebell Swings
  9. Farmers walk
  10. Lunges
  11. Dips

Looks like I went with 11 exercises instead. If you are doing all 11 of those you will be well on your way to having a great body. In fact if you just do the top 6 and get strong at all of them you will probably look like a badass. Between the pull ups/chin ups, rows and cleans your biceps will be getting more than enough work with those compound exercises. If you are strong in those exercises your arms will look good.

 

Good Examples

Jason Khalipa

To the right you see picture of CrossFit Athlete Jason Khalipa. As you probably know crossfitters don’t do bicep curls, but they do pull ups, rope climbs, muscle-ups, Olympic lifts ect and his arms look pretty badass from that. I would say he also has some good genes but you still get the picture. Another good example would be Dimitry Klokov, he is an Olympic lifter who doesn’t curl either but his arms are freaking huge. Strong and muscular arms can certainly be made without curls.

 

For Me Personally

It’s a pretty common thing for most beginners to think bicep curls are an important exercise. Pictures of people curling are probably one of the most common types of fitness pictures there are. Newbies and even people who have lifted for a while believe that bicep curls should be a staple of weightlifting exercises. I can’t blame them really, I used to be the exact same way. I curled my ass off for years and years, but most people learn and change their methods as the years go by and I am no different. For me I decided I wanted to cut back on the time I spent in the gym and get more bang for my buck with the exercises I was doing when I was there. Also I pretty much decided that biceps weren’t really a high priority for me anymore and that I could get enough bicep work in through other compound exercises I mentioned earlier (Chins, rows, cleans) and that my arms would still be muscular and a decent size.

Not bad for not curling

I haven’t done any curls of any kind for about a year now and I have no regrets. I probably should have stopped doing them sooner. The nice part is my arms still look the same to me as they did before. There is a picture of my arm today on the right in case you were wondering  what it looks like from the lack of curls (you know you were). It’s not the hugest in the world but it’s no string bean either and still muscular enough for me.

I have been thinking of eliminating triceps exercises as well using the same line of thinking but haven’t done that completely just yet. I have however cut my triceps exercises back to just  3-4 sets twice a week.

Conclusion

If you are someone who is after big arms then feel free to curl your brains out, there is nothing wrong with them at all and if your goal is to have big biceps then curls are the way to go . But if you are someone who just wants a nice athletic body and having big arms isn’t really a priority you can skip the curls and still have arms that will look good.

My advice: If you need to skip a day, skip bicep day instead of leg day.

Ryan Douglas