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How to Do the Dumbbell Concentration Curl

Tone the Upper Arms with the Concentration Curl

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Updated December 05, 2007

This dumbbell exercise works the biceps and brachialis muscles of the upper arm. In this exercise you stabilize the upper arm by bracing it against the thigh while you complete a curl. This concentrates the work done in the upper arm muscles and not the shoulders.

Find out more about weight training terminology and exercise description if you need background information before you try this exercise. Print a formatted copy of this exercise. See more dumbbell exercises.

1. How to Do the Dumbbell Concentration Curl - The Starting Position

Concentration Curl
(c) Paul Rogers
    1. Sit on a chair or bench with feet placed comfortably apart somewhat wider than the shoulder line and with the feet and lower legs angled slightly outward.
    2. Hold a dumbbell in one hand with that arm hanging down between your legs and next to the thigh of the same side leg. (See picture.)
    3. Bend over at the waist yet with the back as straight as possible and not curved over.
    4. Get ready to curl the dumbbell up and then down between your legs. You need some space for this.
    5. Brace the rear of the upper arm against the inside of the thigh above the knee while holding the dumbbell in the lowered position.

2. How to Do the Dumbbell Concentration Curl - The Exercise Movement

Dumbbell Concentration Curl
(c) Paul Rogers
    1. Brace the abdominal muscles and take a full breath. Remember to start with a breath and breathe out on exertion.
    2. Hold the dumbbell in the horizontal position, arm down. You can rest it on the floor if you wish.
    3. Curl the dumbbell upward then down again, ensuring the rear of the upper arm is firmly braced against the thigh.
    4. Bracing the rear of the arm causes the biceps muscle to do much of the work and prevents you from "cheating" by bringing other muscles such as the rear-arm triceps or shoulder muscles into play.
    5. The curl works the biceps and brachialis of the upper arm and to a lesser extent the brachioradialis muscle of the lower arm.
    6. Repeat the exercise for the number of sets and repetitions in your program.

3. How to Do the Dumbbell Concentration Curl - Points to Note

  • Give yourself room to lift the dumbbell by setting the legs well apart and turning the knees and feet slightly outward.
  • Don't curl the back over when setting the arm against the inner thigh. A small amount is OK to get in position, but you need to keep the back as straight as possible. This means bending mostly at the waist and not the spine.
  • Utilizing a hammer grip and twisting the dumbbell to horizontal during the curl will engage lower arm muscles as well as the biceps. If you use raise the dumbbell directly from a horizontal position, you will engage mostly the muscles of the upper arm.
  • Don't forget to brace the abdominals, breathe out on exertion as you lift, then in again as you lower the weight.
Related Video
Exercises for Biceps and Triceps

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