How to Do the Single-Arm Isometric Curl

It’s tough to beat the biceps-building power of the classic dumbbell curl — unless you add a pause like you will with the isometric variation on this page. Holding a 90-degree angle with one arm while performing reps with the other provides two distinct benefits.

First, it increases your biceps’ time under tension (a key growth stimulus). Second, it will help you overcome a classic “sticking point” in the exercise. The result: More muscle and greater strength through the complete range of motion.

 

How to Do the Single-Arm Isometric Curl

How to do the Single-Arm Isometric Curl

Muscles worked: Biceps

  • Stand tall with your feet hip- to shoulder-width apart, and hold a pair of dumbbells at arms length by your thighs, palms forward.
  • Curl the weight in your left hand until your elbow is bent 90 degrees.
  • Hold that position as you curl the weight in your right hand to your shoulder, and then lower it back to the starting position.
  • Complete your reps with your right arm while maintaining a right angle with your left arm.
  • Switch sides and repeat. Do equal reps with both arms.

Make it easier: Use lighter weights, or do a standard dumbbell curl.

Make it harder: Use heavier weights or perform more reps with each arm.

Bonus tip: Brace your core (tighten your abs as if you’re about to be punched in the gut), and keep it that way for the duration of each set. In so doing, you’ll increase your stability, helping to ensure that you execute the exercise with perfect form. Also, keep both elbows tucked, and both upper arms locked by your sides — the only part of your body that should move is the forearm of your working arm.