Fitness trainer, author and model Kirk Charles, NASM-CPT CES, knows that as you get older, life can get more complicated. But that shouldn’t stop you from being on top of your game. It will help you answer the tough training questions that come with age so you too can be fit beyond 40.
One of my younger friends at the gym is the strongest guy I know for his height. He is 40.5 inches shorter than me and at least 20 pounds lighter. Even with my height advantage, he always reminds me that he beats me when we do bicep curls and grip strength challenges.
As I get older, I can no longer afford to give more benefits to my younger friends, so I started to focus more on building my arm strength. One exercise that I mix into my routine is the Zottman Curl. I use it because it has a double function: I can attack the strength of my biceps and my forearms in a single exercise. You also work on your grip strength, which is an indicator of overall strength and mortality as we age.
How to Do the Zottman Loop
To set up, you’ll need to grab a pair of dumbbells. Stand in an athletic stance, clenching your glutes, abs, and shoulder blades, while gripping the dumbbells by your sides in a neutral position. Curl both dumbbells upward, twisting your palms toward the ceiling. At the top of the curl, make sure you get a strong bicep squeeze. Here’s the key to the curl: before lowering the dumbbells back to the starting position, turn your palms forward, making sure to keep your elbows tucked in and only move your forearm. Then slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position. He is a representative.
The Zottman Curl is one exercise you don’t want to rush, especially during the eccentric (lowering the dumbbells) part of the movement. Too often in curling you will see all kinds of people wasting that part of the stroke, losing control and not getting the most out of the exercise. Since grip and forearm strength are essential for older men (turning doorknobs, opening jars, hanging exercises, etc.), take full advantage of the exercise by lowering the dumbbells with a slow and controlled movement. Keep your arms in line with your torso so your elbows don’t stick out forward, which can also decrease the effectiveness of the exercise. Also, if your body is swaying, you are using too much weight. Just grab a lighter dumbbell to stay in control.
You don’t need a lot of weight for the Zottman curl because of your focus on the eccentric movement. Start by reducing the weight you usually would for a standard loop by 10-15 pounds. When you lift the weight, remember to do a supine (turn your palms up) and squeeze as much as you can to hit your biceps. When lowering the weight, use a count of five and remember to overhand (turn your palms down) as much as possible to hit your forearms. Start with 4 sets of 8 to 10 reps.
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