Drop Curls

 

Strength can be a problem in the biceps, this can be seen by individuals who struggle with classic chin ups and can’t hit any decent weight on preacher curls. This shows through with those measly elbow flexors that look like a small mosquito bite on the upper arm. At some point it’s time to change up your routine and get those gains rolling. There has to be something that can stimulate STUPID strength and size gains. Let’s find out what that secret is and get the flexors growing!

 

Stretch Shortening Cycle

Understanding the body, it’s physiology and defense mechanisms is very important for leading to monstrous growth for any muscle firing. One of the keys behind motor unit recruitment is related to the stretch shortening. This is when a muscle is lengthened rapidly followed by a rapid shortening of the muscle. This mechanism is meant to protect the muscles from tearing but is something that also improves the coordination of the muscle.

 

Think about a long jumper running full tilt down the runway. As the jumper plants on the board, their Achilles is fully lengthened which forces a very RAPID contraction. This aids in a more powerful plant and take-off, ultimately leading to a big jump. As jumpers improve their strength and their technique, they are able to jump longer or higher distances because of their ability to handle the stretch shortening cycle.

 

Catch and Intent for BIZE

We have a simple comprehension of the stretch shortening cycle but can it be done within the biceps? Very rarely will coaches attempt to utilize this mechanism in the biceps and that can be something of a challenge for many coaches looking to pack size on the flexors of the elbow.

Welcome to the drop curl. The drop curl is one of the most explosive exercises to be used for the upper body. Tremendous strength is required in the bicep as is coordination! The focus of this movement is based around force absorption and speed of the concentric contraction. To properly coordinate our high threshold units, let’s first learn execution of the movement.

 
 

At the top of the lift, instead of eccentrically moving the bar to the bottom position, there is going to be something risky. We are going to release the barbell and move our hands to the bottom position as fast as possible. Our hands will beat the barbell to the bottom position, at this point we need to prepare mentally for the force of the bar to grace our prepared hands.

The bar will land in our hands and our body will immediately ignite with a cocontraction around the elbow joint. This cocontraction will stiffen the elbow joint, our trunk needs to hold rigid as we squeeze air inside our belly button. While this all happens, we must move through the concentric portion as rapidly as possible.

 

Because of the stretch shortening cycle, our contraction will be EXTREMELY powerful and the force applied to the bar will override the size principle and instead lead to greater recruitment of our biceps big fibers. This should be repeated for 4-6 reps, each rep focusing on the fastest movement out of the catch phase as possible!

Squeeze and Pairing

One of the biggest factors behind the growth and stimulation of the Drop Curl is based around two things. How to continue to fatigue the stimulated muscle fibers and around an isometric contraction at the top of the curl. After the bar is caught and concentrically moved in a rapid fashion to the top of the curl, we MUST focus on squeezing isometrically for 2-3 seconds. This will contribute to our growth and proprioception!

 

Our exercise pairing is what will contribute to overall fatigue of the flexors. This means pairing this with another movement that also attacks the flexor muscles OR following up the drop curls with a high rep bicep movement to finalize this fatigue. The squeeze and pairings will contribute to this consistent growth in strength and size. Below are two separate examples of exercise offerings that can lead to swole gains.

1A) Drop Curls 5 x 5

1B) Clap Push Ups 5 x 7

2A) Preacher Curl 4 x 17

2B) Tricep Pushdown 4 x 20

Notice, this is where we will fatigue the bicep AFTER the first round of exercise pairings is executed. This will lead to a massive pump as long as exercises 2A and 2B are done on short rest.

1A) Drop Curl 5 x 5

Rest 45 seconds

1B) DB Zottman Curls 5 x 17/17

 

This is the second pairing of movements that can lead to impressive growth BUT it can have a negative impact of speed of contraction by the third and fourth sets. Be sure to get plenty of rest or decrease the load of the drop curl if the speed slows down.

 
 

Recap

The drop curl is an incredibly advanced movement. This is a movement that can blast the gains directly into your sleeves, the biceps will grow and gain incredible mass. The force absorption is incredible and the coordination gains are off the charts. Make sure to plan your drop curl properly in training and reap the major rewards immediately!

Dane Miller

Dane Miller is the owner and founder of Garage Strength Sports Performance. He works with a select handful of elite athletes building comprehensive programs for strength and sports performance. Several times a year he leads a seminar for coaches, trainers, and athletes.

 

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