Curl More Weight


Telling a gym rat he can’t do curls is like asking a porn star to abstain from sex-it defeats the purpose. And while we won’t stop you from sliding more weight onto the bar, your body may. Sooner or later, you’re going to hit a plateau, and you simply won’t be able to lift any more weight. Unless, that is, you try a move like this biceps shocker (think of it as a negative curl), courtesy of Mike Mahler, a strength coach in Los Angeles (for more on his program, check out

Load the bar with 20% more weight than you can lift for five reps. (For instance, if you can curl 100 pounds for five reps, load the bar with 120.) Now have a partner help you lift the bar up to the fully contracted position (the top of a curl, when your elbows are fully bent). If you don’t have a partner handy, explosively “cheat curl” the weight into position [1]. Hold the position for two seconds, tensing every muscle in your body and squeezing the bar as tightly as you can. Now take four seconds to lower the weight [2] until your arms are fully extended. Rest one minute, and then begin your regular sets. You should be able to use a slightly heavier weight than you’re used to.

“Using your whole body to support the weight on the negative turns on more muscle fibers than usual-and not just in your arms,” says Mahler. By using more muscle, you’ll be able to lift heavier. “The weight you’re now working with-although it’s heavier than what you’ve ever used before-feels lighter in comparison to the negative curl, so you’ll lift with more confidence.” And isn’t that the real reason you train, anyway?

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