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Zottman Curl Workout: Muscles Worked, Benefits, Types, and Mistakes

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Zottman Curl Workout
Zottman Curl Workout

Zottman curl workout is one of the oldest curls that are sometimes neglected in our day-to-day biceps curl routine. But what many bodybuilders don’t know is that the Zottman curl is also one of the best exercises for working your entire forearms.

The only downside of this workout is that you may experience serious stress and pressure on your elbows. It is advisable to consult an expert before you start doing the Zottman Curl Workout.

So If you are searching for a good and effective workout to add to your arm-building routine, the Zottman curl is the best and highly recommended option you could get.

With that being said, in this article, you will read all you need to know about the Zottman curl workout, but before we jump into that, it is very important you know why it is called Zottman curl.

The Zottman curl is a workout named after American strongman, George Zottman in the 19th century. George Zottman was a strongman born in Philadelphia in the year, 1867.

George Zottman
George Zottman

George Zottman is popularly known for his vast shoulder width of 24 inches (The size of his shoulder was not common back then) and his numerous records, some of which still haven’t been broken.

George Zottman is popularly known for setting the record of clean & pressing 175 pounds heavy dumbbell while sitting on a chair, a record no one has ever broken since then.

George Zottman had the biggest and strongest forearms back then compared to his counterparts. The big arm was perfectly crafted for his gripping feats through the Zottman curl. Gorge Zottman did this workout with two pairs of dumbbells that weigh 50 pounds each.

How To Do Zottman Curl

Unlike a normal biceps curl, the Zottman curl workout makes you flip your grip 180 degrees at the top of your shoulder level, switching from a usual standard curl to a reverse curl.

The 180 degrees flip is the movement that gives the Zottman curl workout its significant ability to build a strong and big forearm, which also allows you to hit two major muscle groups for the price of a single workout.

If you are a beginner, it is advisable to do the Zottman curl workout with the help of an expert to avoid stressing your elbow too much. If you perform this workout incorrectly, it could make your Zottman curl less effective and could even lead to an increase in health risks.

Follow these step by step procedures to do the Zottman curl workout:

Zottman Curl

  • Stand upright while holding a pair of dumbbells in each of your hands at arm’s length by your sides. Your palms should be facing forward to form an underhand grip.
  • Place your elbows in a way that it’s tucked and locked by your sides, Then begin the movement by curling the dumbbells upwards, toward your shoulders level like you would with a standard dumbbell curl.
  • While at your shoulder level, flip the underhand grip 180 degrees to form an overhand grip.
  • Then lower the weights back to the starting position into a full stretch through your biceps and forearms.
  • While at starting position, return to your starting grips by flipping the overhand grip 180 degrees to form an underhand grip.
  • Repeat this movement to your desired reps, moving back and forth from arm to arm until you complete all repetitions.

Dumbell Zottman curl involves higher coordination than a normal barbell curl or dumbbell curl, but once mastered, it will give you a new dimension to your upper arm workouts.

The easiest method of mastering the Zottman curl movement is to know the phrase “lift up, flip 180 degrees. Then lower down, flip 180 degrees”. If you have this at the back of your head, you can do this workout anytime, anywhere.

To increase or decrease the difficulty of this workout, all you need to do is change the amount of weight you use. If you want to make the dumbbell Zottman curl easier, use lighter dumbells. If you want to make the dumbbell Zottman curl harder, use heavier dumbells.

Because your hands and forearms are the only parts of your body that are involved in this workout, the most important thing you need to consider when choosing the size of the dumbbells to use for the Zottman curl workout is having a perfect form and doing the workout properly.

It is advisable to use the size of weight that will allow you to complete the number of reps given to you with a perfect form. You should also remember that while performing the dumbbell Zottman curl, your elbows should remain tucked by your sides.

Zottman Curl Muscles Worked

While Zottman curls work your entire forearm muscles, the Zottman curl’s primary muscles worked is the Biceps brachii, which is one of the chief muscles of the arm located at the front of your upper arm.

The biceps branchii is responsible for the elbow flexion, shoulder flexion, and forearm supination, which is why this muscle participates in some of the movements of the arm making it the primary Zottman curl muscle worked.

The Zottman curl also works your brachialis, a muscle in your biceps that lies beneath your biceps brachii. Actually, this is the secondary Zottman curl muscles worked.

As for the forearm, the main muscle that the Zottman curl targets here is called the brachioradialis, a muscle that runs from the bottom of your upper arm to the bottom of your forearm.

Zottman curl workout is basically a biceps curl when lifting the dumbbell up, and a reverse curl when bringing the dumbbell down. The biceps curl targets your biceps brachii and the reverse curl targets your brachioradialis, making the Zottman curl workout focus on both muscles.

The Zottman curls also work your abs and back muscles, as they activate to stabilize your body during the curling movement. Other smaller forearms muscles are also worked in the Zottman curl workout.

Zottman Curl Benefits

As old as Zottman curl workout is, it offers significant benefits even more than some new generation curls we have today. Below are the benefits you will get from performing the Zottman curl exercise in your workout:

  1. One of the Zottman curl benefits that a lot of bodybuilders love is the fact that it saves time. When you don’t have enough time to do your workout but you still want to train your upper and lower arms, doing the Zottman curl exercise, you can target both your upper and lower arms in one move.
  2. Zottman curls are worth doing because the workout helps in building bicep bulges while working your lower arms at the same time. This curl’s aim is to targets every single muscle that flexes your elbow joint in a single fell swoop.
  3. Dumbbell Zottman Curl is a workout that would enable you to build significant mass to your forearms while also targeting the biceps. This is one of the primary Zottman curl benefits.
  4. To build a head-turning pair of guns is the main reason we all do the biceps curl. But the dumbbell Zottman curl comes in if you’re going to have buff upper arms, by trying to match the head-turning pair of guns with complimentary lower arms.
  5. Apart from the basic outer bicep workout, one of Zottman curl benefits is to train your entire biceps in a more effective way by performing curls with a different grip that does not only target your outer bicep but also your inner biceps.
  6. While the regular bicep curl is a great exercise to train the upper arms, the Zottman curl targets the long head of the biceps which means adding variety to your arm or bicep routine.
  7. Another benefit of adding Zottman curls to your workouts is to help increase muscle growth and at the same time keep your workouts fresh and interesting, because doing the same type of workout all the time can quickly get boring. So adding the Zottman curl can make a difference.
  8. Bigger brachioradialis muscles from the Zottman curl will add a significant increase in the size of your upper arm. When well-developed, the brachioradialis muscles will give your arms an obvious bowling-pin shape.
  9. As an alternative, you can also use the Zottman curl workout as a high repetition finisher during the ending part of your workout session so as to flood your gangly arms with blood and put the finishing touch on your big pump.
  10. While bringing the dumbbell down which is the reverse curl part of this workout, is good for strengthening your grip. Having a stronger grip is useful during the performance of rows as well as deadlifts.
  11. If you are into sports, one of your primary Zottman curl benefits is the fact that it strengthens your grip, because a strong grip is also useful during sports like wrestling, rock climbing, and football.

Common Zottman curl mistakes

Even pro bodybuilders sometimes make mistakes during workouts, not because they don’t know the correct way to do the workout, but because mistakes are part of life.

Although it is sometimes difficult to perfectly perform some workout, at the same time it is very important to avoid these common mistakes while doing the Zottman curl workout to ensure you get the most from this exercise and avoid injuries.

  • Don’t make the mistake of using too much weight because the Zottman curl is an isolation exercise, which means only one joint of your arm carries the Zottman curl movement. So using more weight than you can carry won’t make this workout more productive.
  • Another common Zottman curl mistake is doing the workout in a sloppy way. This mistake is common for beginners, they usually use their back, legs, or shoulders to jerk the dumbbell up, therefore taking the tension away from the muscles that should be handling all the work. What they don’t know is that smooth and slow lifting produces much better results.
  • Never make the mistake of doing the Zottman curl workout all the time to avoid injuries. It is advisable to limit how often you do the workout, to at least once or twice per week to prevent stagnation of your muscles or overuse injuries.

Types of Zottman Curl

  • Zottman preacher curl.
  • Seated Zottman curl
  • Incline Zottman Curl
  • Alternating Zottman curls

Zottman preacher curl

Zottman preacher curl
Zottman preacher curl

Zottman preacher curl is old school preacher curl that is among the unique creation of George Zottman back in the 1880s. With this type of preacher curl, you can utilize it to make your arms beat and tear down some massive muscle fibers in the process.

Although the procedures of doing the Zottman preacher curl take time to master, when properly mastered, It can put a massive amount of strain on your biceps and can really kick up your workout a notch into high gear for some big-time growth.

Just like the regular Zottman curl workout, to perform the Zottman preacher curl, you will be using a pair of dumbbells for this workout as well as a preacher bench which you can easily find in most gyms.

The Zottman preacher curl is one of the hardest workouts to properly carry out, so don’t get frustrated or even quit the workout if you struggle a little during your first time starting out. Listed below are step-by-step procedures you need to know in order to perform this exercise safely and more effectively:

  • Sit on a preacher bench while holding a pair of dumbbells with your two hands
  • Place your upper arm on the preacher bench pad with your armpit tucked into the ending part of the preacher bench pad.
  • Before you start the movement, make sure your feet are placed firmly on the ground to maintain a secure base.
  • Then begin the movement by curling the dumbbells upwards, toward your shoulders level.
  • While at the top level, pause for a brief moment and then slowly flip the underhand grip 180 degrees to form an overhand grip.
  • Slowly lower the dumbbell back to the starting position into a full stretch through your biceps and forearms
  • Repeat this movement to your desired reps, moving back and forth from arm to arm until you complete all repetitions.

Zottman preacher curl muscles worked are primarily on the biceps brachii muscles, brachialis muscles, and the brachioradialis muscles. This workout is a nice way to establish a solid foundation for your biceps.

Seated Zottman curl

Seated Zottman curl
Seated Zottman curl

The seated Zottman curl is another great curl created by American strongman, George Zottman. This workout requires only a pair of dumbbells and a bench to perform.

Follow the step-by-step procedures listed below to perform the seated Zottman curl safely and more effectively:

  • Sit upright on a bench to avoid stress on your lower back and also avoid cheating.
  • Grasp a pair of dumbbells with your two hands while sitting on the bench, allowing the dumbbells to rest at your sides.
  • Before you start the movement, make sure your arms are straight and your palms must be facing away
  • Place your elbows in a way that it’s tucked and locked by your sides, Then begin the movement by curling the dumbbells upwards, toward your shoulders level as you did in the standard Zottman curl workout.
  • While at your shoulder level, flip the underhand grip 180 degrees to form an overhand grip.
  • Then lower the weights back to the starting position into a full stretch through your biceps and forearms.
  • While at starting position, return to your starting grips by flipping the overhand grip 180 degrees to form an underhand grip.
  • Repeat this movement to your desired reps, moving back and forth from arm to arm until you complete all repetitions.

Incline Zottman Curl

Incline Zottman Curl
Incline Zottman Curl

The incline Zottman curl is used to target the biceps muscles for size development, definition, strength, endurance, and also power. Just like the seated Zottman curl, the incline Zottman curl requires a pair of dumbbells as well as an incline bench.

Follow these step-by-step procedures listed below to perform the incline Zottman curl safely and more effectively:

  • Lie on an incline bench and set it to about a 45-degree incline.
  • Grasp a pair of dumbbells with your two hands while lying on the bench and let them hang beside the bench. This is the starting position.
  • Before you start the movement, make sure your arms are straight and your palms must be facing away
  • Place your elbows in a way that it’s tucked and locked by your sides, Then begin the movement by curling the dumbbells upwards, toward your shoulders level as you did in the standard Zottman curl workout.
  • While at your shoulder level, flip the underhand grip 180 degrees to form an overhand grip.
  • Then slowly lower the weights back to the starting position into a full stretch through your biceps and forearms.
  • While at starting position, return to your starting grips by flipping the overhand grip 180 degrees to form an underhand grip.
  • Repeat this movement to your desired reps, moving back and forth from arm to arm until you complete all repetitions.

Alternating Zottman curls

Alternating Zottman curls
Alternating Zottman curls

The Alternating Zottman curls are just like the usual Zottman curls but the only difference is that you curl your arms one after the other. If you have mastered the Zottman curl workout very well, then the Alternating Zottman curls will not be difficult for you to achieve.

Follow these step by step procedures below to do the Alternating Zottman:

  • Stand upright while holding a pair of dumbbells in each of your hands at arm’s length by your sides. Your palms should be facing forward to form an underhand grip.
  • Place your elbows in a way that it’s tucked and locked by your sides, Then begin the movement by curling your right arm with the dumbbells upwards, toward your shoulders level as you did in the standard Zottman curl workout.
  • While at your shoulder level, flip the underhand grip 180 degrees to form an overhand grip.
  • Then lower the weights back to the starting position into a full stretch through your biceps and forearms.
  • Don’t flip the right hand at the starting position, you have to first curl the left arm in the same movement.
  • After returning the left arm to the resting position, flip your right arm 180 degrees to form an underhand grip.
  • Repeat this movement to your desired reps, moving back and forth from arm to arm until you complete all repetitions.

How to get the most from Zottman curl Workout

There are tips that will help you achieve good results while doing the Zottman curl workout. So it is best to master the advice listed below in order to get the most from this workout.

  • Make the most of your Zottman curl workout by lowering your dumbbells faster than you lift them. Try lifting the dumbbell in 2 seconds and then slowly lower the dumbbell back to the starting position in about 4 seconds
  • If you want to benefit more from the standing Zottman curl workout, always pin your upper arms to your sides and keep them there all through the entire period of your set. This technique prevents you from cheating and also ensures that your biceps and brachioradialis are engaged.
  • Like I mentioned earlier, the Zottman curl is not a workout that requires too heavy dumbells. Due to how risky this workout could be when not properly done, it is advisable to lift a moderate size of dumbbells to avoid elbow and wrist pain.
  • Another crazy idea to get the most from Zottman curl is to lean your back against the wall if you found out that you sway or jerk your upper back while lifting and lowering the dumbbell. This will help you avoid cheating which takes away the tension from the target muscles.

Alternative workouts to Zottman Curl

Although the Zottman curl is regarded as the best of its kind because it hits different muscles with just one curl. But there are other curling movements that can be done by bodybuilders as the alternatives to Zottman Curl workout.

Below are the Zottman curl alternatives:

  • Reverse dumbbell curl.
  • Dumbbell concentration curl.
  • Reverse barbell curl.
  • Alternating dumbbell bicep curls.
  • Machine preacher curl.
  • Standing dumbbell curl
  • Seated dumbbell curl

CONCLUSION

To get better results and perform the Zottman curls workout in a healthy way, these exercises are most effective in certain sets and repetitions. It is advisable to do the Zottman curl workout for three to four sets of about 8 to 10 repetitions per arm, as well as two to three sets of about 20 to 30 repetitions.

There may be additional stress on the elbows during the Zottman curl movement, so controlling the resistance throughout the workout is Important.

Thank you very much for having the time to read this article to the end. If you have any questions concerning the Zottman curl workout, please drop them in the comment section and we will reply to you as soon as possible.

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6 thoughts on “Zottman Curl Workout: Muscles Worked, Benefits, Types, and Mistakes”

  1. I tried this after coming across the information on this article and I can definitely tell that the curl work forearm and biceps muscle areas pretty good

  2. Today I was hearing people in the gym talking about zottman curl and I decided to look it up. Wow, I’ve never done this before but after seeing the information on this site, it seems that the Zottman Curls work up your biceps and forearms.

  3. One thing I like about your blog is, once you are giving advice about any workout, you always go deep in explaining them. This post explains everything I want to know about Zottman curl ✌️✌️👌👍

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