Q: I have X-traordinary Arms and really appreciate the "in-for-out, out-for-in" rule. My question is, because concentration curls are an "in" exercise and work the outer head, should I do those first if I want to concentrate on more biceps peak?
A: Yes, switching the order of the exercises in Positions-of-Flexion protocol can positively affect a target-muscle's development. Biceps is a perfect example.
For the uninitiated, the “in-for-out, out-for-in” rule for biceps is that an inward grip for biceps exercises, like close-grip curls or concentration curls, emphasizes the outer head—which is the "peak" head…
On the other hand, an outer grip, like wide-grip curls or wide preacher curls, works more of the inner head for biceps thickness.
A shoulder-width grip works both heads more evenly, but it may favor one or the other depending on your individual attachment and neuromuscular efficiency.
Switching the order of positions, training contracted first, as with concentration curls for biceps, will affect the outer head. Then you can do the mid-range, like shoulder-width-grip barbell curls for "even" emphasis….
Train the stretch position last, which is more of an "out" exercise. So you have concentration curls, barbell or dumbbell curls, and incline curls.
Two other "peak" considerations: On concentration curls, twist your hand at the top of each rep so your little finger is higher than your thumb. That is supination and can increase peak contraction…
Also, do a hammer curl movement to train the brachialis, the muscle that snakes under the biceps. Building that down-under muscle pushes up the biceps for more peak. MRI studies show the best hammer curl exercise is with dumbbells reclining on an incline bench.
But even with just a positions-shuffle—a contracted-first routine—you should see some new biceps development and peak. (Do keep in mind that genetics has a lot to do with how much peak you can accrue.)
And it can work for other muscles too. Bottom line: An exercise-order switch is an excellent, under-used mass-building trick.
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Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
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