A lot of people make 20s curls with a bar or an extension bar, but you can also do 20s curls with just a cable or dumbbell, and more advanced extensions with a plate or plate mount. I don’t like doing 20s curls because they get hard as soon as you get to the top, so I find many do them on a flat surface.
One way to do 20s curls is simply use your hand to rest on the bar rather than resting the bar between your hands, but if your bar is so heavy you don’t have that option simply rest your arm on the side of your shoulder or on your chest. This will help you prevent damage to the rotator cuffs as you lift the bar overhead.
I’ll often do 20s curls on a surface between my shoulders because the added weight can help keep the weight off of the chest and also make the curls a little less brutal. You need to be careful when the bar begins rotating over your shoulder, because your shoulder blades may push the bar back into the same place where the rotator cuff tendons are if you let the bar come off too early.
This video provides some good advice about how to control your movement around the top (you’ll hear about some of these concepts in this article and in the video):
Do 20s curls at a weight that’s difficult to lift. I rarely lift heavy dumbbells or plates off my own body and I try to keep all the weights in my pockets and don’t carry a body weight. When I can, I use a cable or dumbbell that I can lift easily, either by hanging it above the floor or by using a platform. I also like to use dumbbells that are relatively heavy for the weight of the exercise (so they’re easy to reach, but heavy enough to keep my shoulder blades close to their proper angle) to help make the curl easier to do. To create a stronger curl, use a stronger weight (more weight on the bar), set the weights heavier, and vary the positioning of the grip from the standard grip position to a more horizontal, staggered position.
A lot of people like to do 20s curls on the leg press, which is an excellent variation to have in the gym, but that’s not really an option if you don’t like the weight. I keep the legs in their natural position (legs wide) and use a slightly different grip, but I still go for 20s curls on the leg press.
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