Concentration Curl VS. Bicep Curl: Which Exercise is the Best for You?

It is no secret that many people want to build bigger biceps, but with so many exercise options to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide which one to focus on.

Two exercises commonly cited as effective for building bigger biceps are the concentration curl and the bicep curl.

In the following comparison, we will dive deep into the concentration curl vs. bicep curl and help you determine which one is the best exercise for bigger biceps.

What Is A Bicep Concentration Curl?

The biceps brachii muscle is a key player in many upper-body movements, and the concentration curl is an isolation exercise that can effectively target this muscle group.

To perform this exercise, start by sitting on a chair or bench with your legs spread apart. Place your working arm’s elbow against your inner thigh and grasp a dumbbell in your hand.

Then, carefully lift the weight upward towards your shoulder while keeping your upper arm steady and fixed in place throughout the movement.

Benefits of the Concentration Curl

  • Better Isolation: The concentration curl is regarded as more effective for muscle isolation than other exercises due to its ability to reduce the involvement of other surrounding muscles. This, in turn, allows the biceps to handle most of the workout and eventually yield better results
  • Reduced Momentum: Employing the stationary upper arm movement in this exercise prohibits cheating and using force to raise weights. As a result, it exclusively targets the biceps, allowing for greater improvement in muscle growth.

  • Better Range of Motion: The concentration curl offers an increased range of motion which anchors an even greater stretch on the biceps, boosting muscular development and overall enhancement of the physique.

Related Comparison: Reverse Curl Vs. Hammer Curl: Best Choice For Your Needs

What Is A Regular Bicep Curl?

A bicep curl is a commonly performed resistance exercise that targets the bicep muscle in your upper arm.

This exercise involves lifting weights or other types of resistance with both arms simultaneously or one at a time, starting with an extended elbow and then flexing the elbow to lift the weight toward the shoulder.

By performing this movement, you not only strengthen your biceps but also engage your forearms and shoulders. It can be done using dumbbells, barbells, and cables.

Bicep Curl Benefits

  • Diversifying the Workout: The bicep curl is an ideal addition to any workout since it allows athletes to diversify their regime. With variations galore, the exercise routine never becomes monotonous or dull. Therefore, gym enthusiasts determined on building solid arms should consider adding the bicep curl to their program.
  • Increased Efficiency: When executed properly, the bicep curl accelerates muscle growth and enhances both definition and strength. Since you can lift a heavier weight than other isolation exercises.
  • Easy to Do: This exercise can be done anywhere without the need for any additional equipment which makes it a popular choice among those who prefer to work out at home. and it doesn’t require a bench or chair like so many others do, which means that it can be incorporated into almost any setting imaginable.

Concentration Curl vs. Bicep Curl: Better for Size

It’s important o select the right workouts that deliver results if you want to bulk up your biceps.

While both the concentration curl and bicep curl can help you develop bigger biceps, ACE Biceps Study reveals that the concentration curl is one of the best bicep exercises that can be very useful if your ultimate objective is to focus on the long head of your biceps.

According to this research, using a concentration curl actually results in greater activation of your bicep’s long head when compared with performing the bicep curl.

This makes the concentration curl a better exercise for those looking to specifically target the long head of the biceps for size.

Bicep Curl vs. Concentration Curl: Best for Beginners

Many fitness professionals advise beginners to start with the bicep curl.

One reason for this is that the bicep curl is considered a simpler exercise than its counterpart, the concentration curl.

With less complexity involved in executing proper form, starting with bicep curls can help prevent frustration and ensure good technique at the outset of one’s workout routine.

Also, as someone who has been in weightlifting for a while, I am aware of the importance of using perfect form and beginning with lesser weights. From personal experience, improper form can lead to serious injuries that can hinder progress in the gym.

Therefore, beginners should always prioritize focusing on their technique rather than trying to impress anyone or lift heavy weights. It is crucial to nail down the basics first before moving on to more advanced methods.

Muscle Activation with Concentration Curl vs Bicep Curl

As previously stated, the concentration curl is an exercise that entails more isolation and focuses on the biceps more directly.

In contrast, the bicep curl is a compound exercise that involves activating other muscles alongside the biceps.

Studies analyzing muscle activation have revealed that both exercises stimulate the biceps effectively, however, the concentration curl might be slightly superior to its counterpart in this case.

Which is the Hardest: Concentration Curl or Bicep Curl?

Determining the level of difficulty of an exercise can be a complex issue relying on several variables.

These factors may include fitness level, strengths and weaknesses of individuals, or even personal perceptions.

Nonetheless, it is commonly understood that concentration curls are more difficult in comparison to bicep curls.

This is attributed to various reasons such as concentration curls demanding extensive attention and stability to guarantee proper execution. Additionally, maximum control must be upheld throughout the whole range of motion during each repetition.

Concentration Curl vs. Bicep Curl: Which is Better?

When it comes to deciding between concentration curl vs. bicep curl, the ultimate answer varies depending on each individual’s goals and personal preferences. Although both exercises are useful for building upper arm strength, each differs in regard to muscle engagement and execution.

For those seeking an exercise that specifically targets the long head of the biceps in order to enhance size and increase muscle activation, concentration curls may be the better option. Alternatively, bicep curls are generally regarded as superior due to their ability to promote overall bicep strength and compound muscle activation.

References and Resources:

  1. Bonilla, Diego & Cardozo, Luis & Velez Gutierrez, Jorge & Arévalo-Rodríguez, Adrián & Vargas Molina, Salvador & Stout, Jeffrey & Kreider, Richard & Petro, Jorge. (2022). Exercise Selection and Common Injuries in Fitness Centers: A Systematic Integrative Review and Practical Recommendations. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 19. 1-35. 10.3390/ijerph191912710.
  2. Elshafei M, Costa DE, Shihab E. On the Impact of Biceps Muscle Fatigue in Human Activity Recognition. Sensors (Basel). 2021 Feb 4;21(4):1070. doi: 10.3390/s21041070. PMID: 33557239; PMCID: PMC7913896.
Hassane Sghir
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