Challenge yourself with more than just progressively heavier weights for your next big arm workout. Play with time under tension and positioning to challenge your muscles to stimulate even more growth.
You’ll do that with isometric holds in the spider curl position, one of the top methods Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. uses to train his biceps. This variation, the half-iso spider countup series, provides the pump you want in this super smart setup.
“This series is all about accumulating time-under-tension in that mechanically challenging forearms-parallel-to-the-ground position.,” says Samuel. “By doing so with dumbbells, we insure that we have to own not just elbow flexion in that position but also supination: Battle to keep the dumbbells parallel to the ground the entire time.”
To take on the half-iso spider countup series, you’ll need a set of dumbbells and an adjustable weight bench. Check out this set of weights from Bowflex if you want to try it out at home.
- Set up an adjustable bench in an inclined position and sit with your chest resting on the back. Hold a pair of dumbbells in your hands with your palms facing out.
- Raise both dumbbells so that your forearms are parallel to the ground. This is the starting position.
- Squeeze your biceps to perform a single-arm curl on one side while maintaining the parallel position on the other. Repeat the same movement on the other side.
- Perform 2 curls with the first arm while keeping the other in position, then repeat on the other side.
- Count up to 4 reps on each side.
You’re not just setting up on the bench as you are because the name “spider curl” sounds cool. There’s a reason you’re doing that. “The spider curl positioning will help insure that you aren’t cheating,” says Samuel. “Work to keep your upper arms perpendicular to the ground at all times; as the countup piles up, this will become exceedingly hard.”
Utilize the half-iso spider countup series as a finisher on arm day with 3 full rounds. Just make sure that you don’t go too heavy—Samuel suggests using dumbbells that are at least 5 pounds off your standard spider curling weight.
For more tips and routines from Samuel, check out our full slate of Eb and Swole workouts. If you want to try an even more dedicated routine, consider Eb’s New Rules of Muscle program on our All/Out Studio app.