Health Advocate Blog

Workout of the Week: Concentration Curls

This week’s workout is Concentration Curls. A recent study from the American Council on Exercise (ACE) shows that Concentration Curls are the best bicep exercise you can do for building muscle. Concentration Curls elicit higher bicep activation–they isolate the bicep so that it’s the only muscle doing the work. (Other bicep-strengthening exercises tend to work additional muscles, not focusing solely on biceps.) This exercise calls for using a weight like a dumbbell or kettle bell, but any slightly heavy household object will do–for example, a paint can, gallon of bottled water, etc.

Here’s how to do Concentration Curls:

  • Start by sitting on a workout bench or chair. Lean forward and place your upper arm against your inner thigh, making sure there is plenty of space for your arm and a weight to curl up and down.

Concentration Curl 3

  • With your extended hand between your legs, grab the weight and slowly curl it by bringing your hand up toward your shoulder until your elbow is fully flexed.   Concentration Curl 4
  • Next, slowly lower the weight back down to the starting position.
  • Try doing three to four sets of 10-12 repetitions for each arm.


  • This is a controlled exercise; slowly curl and lower the weight for maximum benefits.
  • Placing your free hand behind your back will help you work your engaged arm more.
  • To avoid back injuries, be sure not to hunch over or arch your back.
  • If you experience any pain, especially in your back or shoulder, stop doing this exercise immediately and consult your doctor.

We hope you’ll try Concentration Curls over the weekend and then build this exercise into your daily routine Monday through Friday of the coming week.

Want more fitness ideas? If you’re a Health Advocate member with access to the Wellness Coaching program, reach out to your Wellness Coach for more healthy ideas to get—and stay—fit. And remember, talk to your doctor before beginning any new fitness regimen.