Lately I've been training my biceps and forearms with just one exercise that leaves my arms super pumped after just one set.
I haven't been doing endless sets or this curl and that curl.
I've just been doing one exercise and I feel like I've never gotten such great results from one single exercise before.
I'll do just one single set and my biceps and forearms are pumped the way they would normally be from 4 or 5 sets.
I can do a mere 2 sets of this single exercise and it will be my entire workout for biceps and forearms. I'll leave the gym with an awesome arm pump.
What is this mysterious exercise that pumps up the biceps and forearms so well?
It's called Mixed Grip Barbell Curls.
It is a very simple exercise with one simple twist.
You will perform standing barbell curls with a “mixed grip.” One hand will be an overhand grip and the other hand will be an underhand grip.
Here is a photograph of a “mixed grip.” Note that one hand is an overhand grip and one hand is an underhand grip.
(NOTE: This is a photograph of a deadlift, I want you only to see the grip of the hands. One under and one over. You will use this exact same grip for your mixed grip curls.)
This is how you perform mixed grip barbell curls…
Grab a barbell with a weight light enough for you to perform 12 barbell curls, use an overhand grip with your right hand and an underhand grip with your left hand.
Curl the bar 12 times.
Your right arm will be performing a reverse barbell curl while your left hand will be performing a standard barbell curl.
Then rest for a moment and reverse your grip. Use your left hand in an overhand grip and your right hand with an underhand grip. Do 12 curling repetitions.
After these 2 simple sets of curls your biceps and forearms should have a crazy pump.
This exercise seems simplistic and it is. Simple always works the best.
Regarding just WHY this exercise works so well I cannot say, I can just say it works better than both standard barbell curls and reverse grip barbell curls.
I got the idea for this exercise from the most feared olympic wrestler of all time, Alexander Karelin.
Pictured: Alexander Karelin
Alexander Karelin was a crazy Russian wrestler known for his intensity both in competition and in training. His training sessions are legendary.
It was in one of his training videos that I saw performing mixed grip barbell curls. I was very interested and had to try them for myself and they are fantastic.
This training video is located below.
The training sequence only lasts about 2-3 seconds but you can see it enough to get the idea of how to perform this incredible exercise.
The exercise I'm talking about starts at 1:42 of this video.
Press play and the video will start at exactly the exercise I'm referring to.
If it's good enough for Alexander Karelin it's good enough for you and I.
What's the best weight to use?
Use a weight you can easily perform 12 curls with. This is your starting weight just to get you used to this exercise. When you are comfortable with this exercise you can add weight, always trying to attain 12 or more repetitions per set.
What's the best number of curls to perform?
It is best to perform over 10 repetitions for each set. The more reps you do the more blood will flow into your biceps and forearms giving you the incredible pump. I will do anywhere from 12 reps to 25 reps and anywhere in between. Often I will use the empty 45 lb/20 kg bar and perform this exercise at the end of my workout for 25+ reps just to get a great pump in the biceps and forearms.
How many sets should I do?
You should do at minimum 2 sets because you want to work both angles of each arm. You have to do sets in increments of 2 to make your sets “even”. You cannot do 3 sets because one bicep would be overworked and one forearm would be overworked. Your sets need to be in increments of 2 such as: 2, 4, 6, or 8.
Can I do other arm exercises with the mixed grip barbell curl?
Of course! You can do as many biceps and forearms exercises as you want. You don't ONLY have to do this one, but this is a fantastic one that belongs in every arm workout arsenal.
How often can I perform this exercise?
You can perform this exercise up to 3 times per week. It's always a killer way to end an awesome workout!
Happy pump, friend.