As trainers and coaches, we are always looking for new and improved ways of delivering training for our clients. This approach helps to make sure that athletes and clients stay engaged in the program, and there seems to be a strong psychological component to rotating drills to help keep things exciting and fun. Conversely, you could also elect to keep your program consistent with very little change for an indefinite period of time and still make progress without any plateau or setback in most cases. Rotating movements is based on the individual and their preferences, and doesn’t mean much in the end as long as all of your foundational exercises are in order.
In light of this information, here is a drill you can do that provides several immediate benefits that aren’t as easily achieved when the exercise is performed traditionally. Welcome the “Banded Barbell Curl!”
Before I continue, please be advised that it’s in your best interest to perform at least one four week cycle of traditional dumbbell curls before incorporating heavy barbell work. The structure of the barbell can be potentially painful and irritating if you haven’t built a strong foundation of strength in your elbows and wrists specifically. Don’t just jump right into this movement without before having completed front squats, military presses, and dumbbell curls to give yourself a fighting chance. Your wrists will thank you for it later!
So when the time finally comes that you are ready to start barbell curling, you can involve a short thera-band around the wrist to help generate more tension from your biceps and increase their performance in the movement. And more importantly, you capitalize off of an opportunity to emphasize standard weaknesses all along the shoulder girdle to help keep you healthier and lifting heavy over the long-term. I’m a big fan of creating as much value as possible with every drill that is included in a training program, and the Banded Barbell Curl does just that!
The final remaining benefit of the Banded Barbell curl is that by effectively activating the lateral and posterior aspects of your shoulder, you then shut down the often overactive front portion of the shoulder which tends to substitute for weaker biceps. You'll notice this when you or your client's elbow begin to deviate forward instead of bending more at the elbow.