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I'm trying to focus more on building my biceps (biceps brachii) on specific days (I'm not doing it every day. Other days I work on different muscle groups or just rest).

However, I noticed that when I do standing bicep curls with my dumbbells (I use both simultaneously), my forearms (medial antebrachial) tire out before I can really feel like I'm working my biceps (biceps brachii) out.

I'm looking to see for different exercises or techniques to build the biceps brachii wherein I would not be tiring out the forearms (medial antebrachial) as much/they would not tire out before I have felt I have sufficiently 'worked out' my biceps. If anyone could recommend, that would be great!

When doing my own research online I've come across ones that need me to buy some sort of workout chair (preacher chair, incline chair, etc), but I want to exclusively just be using my dumbbells at home.

If this is the wrong place to be posting this, please let me know and direct me to where it should be posted. Thank you so much for your time, everyone!

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Rey is a new contributor to this site. Take care in asking for clarification, commenting, and answering. Check out our Code of Conduct.
  • What does your form look like? Are you flexing at your wrist joints? – JustSnilloc May 22 at 12:11
  • @JustSnilloc I'm just doing a normal bicep curl (in the following form: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biceps_curl).... I don't really pay attention to my wrists, but I'd assume due to the weight of the dumbbell, my wrist are under some pressure and may be subconsciously be flexed/tensed – Rey May 22 at 15:23
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One possible source of the problem would be the mechanics of the three primary muscles involved in elbow flexion: the single-joint brachialis and brachioradialis muscles, and the multi-joint biceps brachii. Since both heads of the biceps brachii attach to the scapula—at the coracoid process and supraglenoid tubericle for the short and long head, respectively—the position of the shoulder changes the length of the two muscle groups, and hence the degree and manner of activation involved in the performance of the curl.

We cannot isolate any of the muscle groups, but we can alter their degree and manner of activation by flexing or extending the shoulder (lifting or dropping the elbow relative to the front of the body). Simultaneous flexion of the shoulder and elbow results in a near-isometric contraction of the biceps brachii, theoretically affording it greater strength. This could consequently allow a greater lift while placing a relatively high load on the other muscles in the chain. Swinging the load flexes the shoulder, and this can cause the brachialis to fatigue early. (Note that the medial antebrachial is the nerve, not the muscle.) In order to maximise activation of the biceps brachii, the elbow must be fixed at the side of the body or behind it. Performing curls from a reclined position is one method of achieving this posture, which pre-stretches the biceps brachii.

The other possibility is excessive activation of the carpal flexors: the flexor carpi ulnaris, flexor carpi radialis, and palmaris longus (if it is present). Flexion of the wrist during the curl can works these muscles concentrically rather than isometrically. And since they are smaller than the elbow flexors, they therefore fatigue more easily. Fixing that the wrist straight during the lift ensures that the carpal flexors contract isometrically only, and are hence stronger and more resistant to fatigue.

There is a third possibility, that the muscles of the forearm are, for whatever reason, just weaker relative to the other muscles in the chain. This can happen if your training is unbalanced, or if your occupation otherwise stresses certain muscles more than others. In such cases, your programme may need to be adjusted to limit the overuse of those muscles.

I hope that helps you.

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  • Thank you for your response! I'll try fixing my elbows and making sure my wrists aren't overtly flexing. However, I have a new theory on why this problem is occurring: Currently I use 6kg dumbbell, but I do 3 sets of 15~20 reps which is a lot more than the 8-10 reps I normally hear about (this may be why my forearms tire out before I can 'work' my biceps). The reason I do 15~20 reps is because I hardly feel like my biceps are being worked.. I wish I could do 30 to really feel a 'work out' on my biceps, but the forearms tire out before I could do that. – Rey May 23 at 3:39
  • However, currently, I would need to buy a 10kg dumbbell via amazon which is way too heavy for me and I don't know how long it will take for me to be able to do 8-10 reps with that (my parents don't want to 'waste' buying an 8kg only to have to buy a 10kg later on) – Rey May 23 at 3:41
  • Is it the 6kg dumbbell's large amount of reps causing my forearm tiredness? would the 8kg (if I can convince my parents) solve it? Or is buying & using a 10kg by doing like 1~2 reps each time going to be fine as well (until a month later when I can do 8-10 reps with a 10kg if that's even possible)? – Rey May 23 at 3:41
  • Yes, you have identified yet another possibility—that it is being caused by a difference in the endurance characteristics of the different muscle groups. And yes, that could be solved by simply purchasing an intermediate (8-kilogram) dumbbell. However, with adequate work and rest, you should find that the forearms "catch up" with the strength and endurance of the biceps. Indeed, it is common that some part of the chain is significantly weaker or less resistant than the others. – POD May 23 at 3:46
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    Thank you for your time and responses; they made my day. I really appreciate it! – Rey May 23 at 4:40
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You should try to fix your biceps when you are doing this exercise (you can search biceps curl on google, you will find some photos and understand what I mean ). Do it nice and slow, do maximum 4-5 reps for building strength and 8-10 reps for building muscles, good luck.

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Eric is a new contributor to this site. Take care in asking for clarification, commenting, and answering. Check out our Code of Conduct.
  • I'm still not quite sure what you mean by "fix your biceps" I'm just doing a standing bicep curl: (image: bit.ly/2XhaqPu). – Rey May 23 at 3:24
  • Currently I use 6kg dumbbell, but I do 3 sets of 15~20 reps which is a lot more than 8-10 reps (this may be why my forearms tire out before I can 'work' my biceps). However, currently, I would need to buy a 10kg dumbbell via amazon which is way too heavy for me and I don't know how long it will take for me to be able to do 8-10 reps with that (my parents don't want to 'waste' buying an 8kg only to have to buy a 10kg later on) – Rey May 23 at 3:25
  • Is it the 6kg dumbbell's large amount of reps causing my forearm tiredness? would the 8kg (if I can convince my parents) solve it? Or is buying & using a 10kg by doing like 1~2 reps each time going to be fine as well (until a month later when I can do 8-10 reps with a 10kg if that's even possible)? – Rey May 23 at 3:25
  • Do you possibly mean "fix your elbows" as the poster below has said? – Rey May 23 at 3:35
  • @Rey exactly , that’s what I meant – Eric May 23 at 6:55

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