How to do Barbell Curl

The barbell curl is a traditional exercise primarily used to increase size and strength of the biceps brachii, more commonly known as the biceps or “bi’s”.

This exercise typically uses a standard Olympic barbell which is roughly 7 feet long and weighs 45 pounds. However, individuals may also use preloaded barbells or EZ curl bars if desired.

Anatomy

The barbell curl specifically targets the biceps brachii which is located on the front part of your arm between the shoulder and the elbow.

This muscle’s primary function is elbow flexion and forearm supination. The biceps also has two heads known as the long head and the short head.

In addition to the biceps brachii, the barbell curl calls on other muscles to help perform the exercise.

Both the brachialis and the brachioradialis assist the biceps brachii in the curling motion. The deltoids, traps, and wrist flexors help to stabilize the arm during the curl.

How To Perform

  • Stand with feet roughly shoulder width apart.
  • Grab the barbell with an underhand grip roughly shoulder width apart.
  • Keep elbows to the side of your body at all times.
  • Keep torso upright and straight. Do not rock as you are curling the barbell.
  • Bend the elbows and start curling the barbell up towards your neckline or until forearms are perpendicular to the ground.
  • Pause at the top of the curl and slowly return to starting position.
  • To increase difficulty: increase the volume, stand on one leg or slowly raise and lower the bar.

Muscle Benefits

The amount of sets and reps is determined by your muscular goals and your one rep max (1RM).

  • Muscular endurance is typically 1 to 3 sets of 12 to 20 reps, at a weight from 0 to 50% of 1RM, and a rest time of less than 1 minute between each set.
  • Muscular strength/size is typically 1 to 3 sets of 6 to 12 reps at a weight of 50% to 80% of 1RM, and a rest time of 1 to 3 minutes between each set.
  • Muscular power is typically 1 to 2 sets of 1-4 reps, at a weight of 85% to 95% of 1RM, and a rest time of 3 to 5 minutes between each set.


Caution

With all exercises, safety and proper form are vital to a successful workout. Make sure to pay attention to the following:

  • Keep a tight grip on the barbell at all times.
  • Do not rock back and forth when performing the curling motion as this can decrease the effectiveness of the exercise and cause injuries.
  • Do not lean backwards when curling the barbell upwards as this can lead to back injuries or a loss of balance.

Lateral Deltoid Raise

The shoulder muscle, formally known as the deltoids, comprises of three heads: the lateral, anterior, and posterior. The lateral deltoid raise, also known as side deltoid raise or side raise, is an isolation exercise that targets the lateral head of the deltoid.

This exercises is most commonly performed with dumbbells and can be executed by individuals of all fitness levels.

Anatomy

A well defined lateral head can add to the overall size and shape of the shoulder. The lateral head is primarily responsible for the following shoulder movements: adduction, flexion and transverse abduction.

The anterior head of the deltoid, supraspinatus, lower and middle trapezius and the serratus anterior all assist the lateral head of the deltoid in this exercise movement.

The levator scapulae, upper trapezius and various wrist flexors help to stabilize the body during the motion.

Exercise Equipment

Typically the lateral deltoid raise is performed in an upright position using dumbbells. However, individuals may substitute dumbbells with a barbell, kettlebells, cables, or resistance bands.

Some gyms even have a lateral deltoid raise machine that can be used instead of dumbbells.

Additionally, individuals may perform this exercise seated on bench, chair, or on an exercise ball. This exercise can also be performed while seated on an incline bench or lying on one’s side.

Grip and Hand Placement

Grab the dumbbells with an overhand grip.

Instruction

  1. Stand with feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent.
  2. Keep torso upright at all times.
  3. Grab dumbbells and extend arms downwards along the outside of the thighs.
  4. Turn palms toward the thighs when arms are fully extended and keep the palms facing the ground during the raising of the weight.
  5. Keep a slight bend in the elbows.
  6. Raise the arms upwards until parallel with the ground and even with the shoulders.
  7. Pause at the top and slowly lower the weight.
  8. Repeat exercise for desired volume of sets and repetitions.
  9. This exercise can be done with both arms at the same time or alternating between arms.

Caution

Individuals should take the following cautions into consideration when performing this exercise:

  • If an individual has balance or coordination issues, then this exercise should be performed in a seated position with a back rest.
  • Do not swing the arms when raising or lowering the weight.
  • Do not lock out the elbows as this could lead to potential joint injuries.
  • Don not lock out the knees as this could lead to potential joint injuries.
  • Do not rock back and forth when performing this exercise.
  • Keep the weight under control at all times.
  • Do not bend over or backwards when performing this exercise at this could lead to low back and postural issues.
  • Keep a tight grip on the weight at all times to prevent injuries from dropping the weight.
  • If the individual is a beginner, elderly or recovering from an injury then they should use lighter weights.

The Ultimate 300 Spartan Workout & Exercise Guide

In 2007, the movie 300, directed by Zack Snyder, took the world by storm with its graphic violence, intense fighting scenes, amazing special effects and compelling storyline.

The movie was adapted from a comic book series by Frank Miller, which is a fictionalized retelling of an ancient Battle of Thermopylae that took place in roughly 480 BC between a Spartan army and the Persian empire.

The movie captivated audiences with its violent yet stunning battle scenes. These scenes were loosely based on the historical battle where 300 Spartans, and roughly 1,000 other soldiers, protected a pass to prevent the Persian army from invading their homeland.

Unfortunately, the small army fell victim to the Persian empire which sent at least 250,000 soldiers.

In addition to the previously mentioned aspects of the film, the actors who portrayed the Spartans were in amazing shape.

In fact, their pre-filming workout camp became legendary as their workout routine spread like a wildfire throughout the internet.

Fans and exercisers wanted to know how these actors got into amazing shape. Thus, the actors’ workout program was dubbed “The 300 Workout” and quickly became a fad within gyms worldwide.

About the 300 Workout

This workout program was designed by Mark Twight, a fitness guru and world class mountain climber.

He was enlisted to train these actors and get them into amazing shape within 8 to 10 weeks. Gerard Butler, the main star of the film, reportedly spent 12 weeks with Twight.

Mark trained these actors and stuntmen at his gym is located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Mark came up with a program that would help the men lose body fat, gain lean muscle, and improve muscular endurance.

The program consisted of 2-3 months of daily training before they took a graduation test, which was a grueling non-stop test that included 6 different exercises for a total of 300 reps.

This graduation test is what’s commonly referred to as the “300 Workout”.

The Spartan Test

After months of training, the actors and stuntmen performed a graduation test which was scored by how long it took each individual to complete the 300 reps.

  • 25 pull-ups
  • 50 deadlifts of 135 pounds
  • 50 push-ups
  • 50 box jumps on a 24-inch box
  • 50 “floor wipers” of 135 pounds
  • 50 “clean and press” at 36 pounds
  • 25 more pull-ups

About the Exercises

The “300 Workout” consists of exercises that test overall total body strength and core strength. Here’s a breakdown of what each exercise targets:

Pull-ups

This exercise directly targets the latissimus dorsi, or “lats” for short. However, there are numerous muscles of the back and arms that help to assist the “lats’ in this exercise movement. Pull-ups typically involves the use of one’s body weight for resistance.

To begin, grab the pull-up bar with an overhand grip at roughly shoulder width apart. Bend your knees, with feet behind you, and pull your body up to the bar until it’s even with your neckline.

Do not rock back and forth when pulling your body upwards.

Deadlifts

This is exercise directly targets the erector spinae, which is the main muscle located in the lower back region.

This compound exercise is a difficult one to execute due to the required number of muscles in the back, legs, core, and arms needed in performing this movement.

To begin, stand with feet roughly shoulder width apart and position them under the barbell. Grab the bar with an overhand grip inside of shoulder width.

Squat down to pick up the bar with your back flat. Stand upright by pushing through the hips and fully extending the knees. Make sure to roll the shoulders back when standing up straight.

This helps to stick the chest out and get a maximum contraction of the lower back muscles.

Push-ups

This exercise directly targets the pectoralis major, or “pecs” for short. This exercise also requires muscles of the back, shoulders and arms to assist in performing the movement.

One’s body weight is typically used as the resistance in this exercise. Lay face first on the ground and position your body weight on your hands and feet.

Push up until your arms are fully extended and slowly lower until your chest is about 2 inches from the ground.

Box Jumps

This plyometric exercise is designed to build explosiveness in the lower body specifically the hamstrings, glutes and quadriceps.

Stand in front of the box with feet roughly shoulder width apart. Jump up onto the box and stand completely upright when on top.

Floor Wipers

This exercise directly targets numerous muscles in the core region. To begin, lay flat on the ground and bench press the barbell.

Hold the weight upwards with your arms fully extended. Raise your legs until they are perpendicular to the ground and then move them side to side like a “windshield wiper”.

Clean and Press

This exercise is a compound movement designed to build explosiveness in the core and lower body regions. This exercise is done in two grouped movements. Begin by getting into a starting position similar to the deadlift.

Stand with feet roughly shoulder width apart and hands at the same distance. Squat down and bend over to pick up the bar. But, keep your back leveled, no hunches.

Explode upwards by pushing through the hips and extending the knees. As the bar gets close to the thighs, shrug the bar up to your shoulders and squat down.

Allow your elbows to rotate underneath the bar and for your hands to rest with the barbell on your shoulders. Finally, explode straight upward by extending your legs and knees. Press the barbell over the head with arms fully extended.

Caution

The “300 Workout” is not recommended for beginners. This workout was a graduation test for the actors who had trained for at least 8 to 12 weeks prior to performing this test.

These exercises are total body and/or compound movements that require a high level of experience and a solid foundation of strength.

Do not try this workout unless you have been properly trained or you can successfully perform these exercises on an individual basis without any problems and with perfect form.