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Not everyone is blessed with the ability to nourish their biceps like Hulk Hogan and his famed “24 inch pythons” but some methods  are certainly more effective than others in achieving your goals and swelling those arms up.

As most of us know at this point, dumbbell curls are the go-to method with which to bulk out your arms (or more specifically, your biceps) but like so many other activities in the gym, they only reach maximum effectiveness when done properly and in the correct form. An oft-repeated mistake made by many novices is to keep adding more and more weight once you begin to see improvements and while it is indeed important to ramp up your weights as you develop in the gym, doing so too quickly can be hazardous.

First, if your form isn’t correct you will greatly increase your chances of injuring yourself but more crucially if the weight is too heavy for you, you will begin to rely on other muscle groups to help you finish your reps — something which contradicts the stated aim of lifting in the first place.

Instead you will want to isolate the muscle groups you are concentrating on and have them exclusively perform the task and without you adding any extra ‘oomf’ in terms of jerking your body to provide momentum.

Ebenezer Samuel, fitness director for Men’s Health, explains further about how using a bench to assist your bicep curls is ideal for maximising the rep. The ‘Spider Curl’ involves elevating the front section of your bench, lying on it with your chest down and raising individual dumbbells as in the image below.

“You’re hitting biceps and brachialis equally throughout the sequence,” Samuel explains. “Your biceps shoulders the load on the biceps curl portion of each sequence, then it gets ‘assistance,’ while still putting in plenty of work, on that hammer portion. As the pattern keeps continuing, you build to a strong and satisfying pump.”

How to do hammer spider curl up:

  • Face forward  on an elevated bench with the front incline up, your chest resting on the support. Keep your glutes and back tense.
  • Use a dumbbell in one hand with the other extended to maintain balance.
  • Using an underhand grip, perform a curl using your bicep and lift the weight to your chest.
  • Switch to a neutral grip and perform a hammer spider curl.
  • Do 2 reps each, then move to 4 ascending reps. This equals 1 set. You want to do around 3-4 sets per arm.