When it’s time to strengthen and tone those arm muscles, the standing curl is one of the mainstays of any workout repertoire. The movement is clean, simple and low-tech enough that it can be achieved almost anywhere.

But, getting the most of out of this particular exercise does require a little forethought.  Poorly performed standing arm curls just won’t produce the results most people desire.

So, how can the standard curl be supercharged to deliver better results?  Here are just a few tips that can make the difference between a good workout and a great one that results in the desired look:

  • Be sure to maintain proper form.  That means standing straight with feet hip-distance apart.  It also involves making sure palms are up and elbows are kept at the side (engaging the lats).
  • Use a proper sized weight.  Arm curls aren’t difficult, but that’s doesn’t mean it’s a great idea to pick up a weight that’s 10-15 pounds too heavy to get the movement going.  Start out small and work up to heavier weights over time to promote safe, smart muscle development (pending what your desire is, strength/size).
  • Consider working out each arm separately (unilateral training).  Yes, this might tack some time onto a workout routine, but the payoff is a greater ability to maintain form, get results and avoid injuries.

The Biggest Secret

While paying attention to all of the above is important, there’s one more tip that can really make a difference in standing arm curls.  This involves adding one extra step to each repetition.  Rather than just end a rep when the arms reach the start position again, take a moment to completely straighten the arms by flexing the triceps. This helps ensure that the muscles get to work through their entire range of motion, then SLOWLY LOWER THE WEIGHT.

Other Tips for Building Arms

When trying to build strength and tone in the arm muscles, these tips can also help in making the goal achievable:

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet that’s rich in low-fat foods meant to fuel the body and feed the muscles.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Develop a workout routine that involves the entire body for overall strength and stamina-building.  Be sure, also, to include both strength training and cardio vascular workouts in the mix to promote good, all around health.
  • Consult a trainer at a local fitness center or gym to develop a workout routine that’s safe, effective and goal-oriented. Trainers can also help with targeted exercises meant to develop problem areas.