If you’ve been working your biceps by repping out the standard barbell, hammer and twisting curls from a standing position, it’s time to mix it up with the incline bench. Changing up the angle of classic exercises pushes your body past its comfort zone and can work aspects of your muscles that you may be ignoring.
The incline dumbbell curl better focuses on the peak of your bis (the long head). “The incline curl causes that extra extension but allows for proper arm mechanics,” says Cassandra Forsythe, PhD, author of The New Rules of Lifting for Women (Avery Trade, 2008). “It’s kind of like overstretching the muscle. You cause more muscle damage through the eccentric [lengthening] portion of the exercise.” In this case, “damage” equals gains in strength and definition, as your muscle fibers rebuild themselves in the recovery period following your workout.
For proper form, be sure to keep your head against the bench. “If you stick your head out, you will be compressing the spine. Keeping your head on the bench will help to focus the efforts more on your biceps and less on other muscles,” says Forsythe.