Perfecting the Barbell Bicep Curl & the Cable Tricep Pushdown

Date: Nov 27, 2016


Select a 10kg straight bar or pre-loaded 10kg bar. Either one will do to start. The 20kg Olympic bar would be too heavy for anybody to practise with. Start off without loading the bar with plates so you can warm up and practice the components of the lift. Pick the bar up and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent which sets up a postural platform to stabilize your upper body so mind/muscle focus can be solely on the core and biceps. Your back is straight and your head is up, and in line with your back. Your arms are fully extended. 

Now focus on your next move. 

Simultaneously tighten your core, suck in air, and begin to curl the bar. Feel the core doing the lift as well as the biceps. Curl the bar up using only your biceps and core to full contraction blowing out air evenly as you go and continuing to keep the core tight at the same time. 

Now you are ready for the first full repetition. 

Your posture has already been set. Remember your back is straight and head up and in line with your back. Slowly lower the bar focusing on using the biceps to control the movement. The time taken to fully extend will be a slow 2 second count. Now at almost full extension simultaneously suck in air hard, flex your core hard, and begin to contract your biceps ready for the lift up.

All focus is on the biceps and flexed core. Do not lift with your shoulders or break posture. The lift up is, again, a slow 2 second count. Bring the bar up using your biceps and core to full contraction and again, blowing out air evenly continuing to keep the core tight at the same time. 

And don’t look in the mirror. You don’t need to see what’s going on if you really are focused on the lift. Individuals who look in the mirror to see if the right muscles are working are not focusing on the lift. If you want to make a ponce of yourself in front of the mirror do it after the set. 

If your technique has been correct you will feel the effect on only the target muscles as you lift. Add plates to the bar only as your strength and skill in maintaining technique increases.


With this exercise the resistance is down so keep an upright posture to create the platform for pushing down and don’t bend your knees as with the barbell curl. 

Stand with an upright posture facing the cable machine with a short straight bar and an overhand grip. Your back is straight and your head is in line with your back. Some people let their heads go forward or lower their heads to look down when the load is over their limit. If you think this is going to make it any easier forget it. All this is going to do is lead to bad posture for this exercise. The power comes from the core, and having a natural upright posture with head in line with your back, is essential to core strength.

You are now ready for your first rep.

Your elbows are firm against your side and forearms are at 90 degrees (horizontal). Standing tall suck in air, tighten your core hard, focus on the triceps, and then with a smooth action push down blowing out air as you go. Remember the slow 2 second count. Squeeze at the bottom and hold for 2 seconds. 

Ease the bar back up to the start with a 2 second count and when nearly to the top suck in air and tighten the core hard ready for the second rep. You can take the bar up a bit past 90 degrees however do not jerk it to start the movement otherwise the whole idea of the technique of muscle focus and posture will be lost. If you feel only the tricep working and nothing else then you’ve done good. Triceps are a small muscle group and work better with high reps so use as much resistance as you like so long as technique isn’t compromised but also look at a minimum of 12 to 15 reps.


Perfecting the Barbell Shoulder Press