The Zottman Curl

Going back to the old school for some new gains with this superb bicep movement. The Zottman curl was devised by strongman lifter George Zottman many moons ago as a way of adding mass to those ever important ARMS…Remember, “curls for the girls”, right?


The point of the exercise is to add further variation to your arm/bicep workout and adding further mass to help build out your forearm too. I don’t work my forearms out at all (poor, I know), so adding this to my bicep routine makes my arm programme a little more comprehensive.

The reason this one is different? Changing the downward (eccentric) movement helps involve the brachioradialias, which is the major muscle on the thumb side of your forearm. As well as this, the hold at the top, really gives you a concentrated opportunity to “pinch” or squeeze you bicep at the top of the movement. And to get this right, you have to keep your form absolutely correct.


The how to:

–        Select your specific weight to do the lift, you’re using dumbbells here and are keeping strict form, so my suggestion (especially first time, is not to go too heavy)

–        Standing, hold the pair of dumbbells by your side, elbows tucked in, shoulders back, good posture, looking at a mirror if you can to keep an eye on your form

–        Curl both dumbbells up like a standard arm curl, at the top of the movement, ensure you are really squeezing the contraction (tip: at the top of the movement, try to bring your little finger diagonally pointing the knuckle to the outside of your shoulder, for the extra “pinch”)

–        At the top of the movement, hold the squeeze, then rotate the dumbbell until your palms are facing the floor (pronated grip)

–        Slowly (my suggestion, is a 3-4 second eccentric) lower the dumbbells back down, keeping your palms as they are until your arms have fully locked out

–        Twist your arms back round to the starting position, and then repeat



–        A way to add tension to this movement, is to be seated and on an inclined bench, for (in my opinion)better stretch and isolation (as done by TGE in the above picture)

–        If you start to fatigue before the end of your set (8-15 reps) alternate arms until your rep range is completed

–        Try doing this movement in reverse – so, pronated on the way up, and supernated on the way down for variation

–        I’ll reiterate, keep your elbows tight into your body and form perfect. No swinging, and slow eccentric (downward movement) with pauses at the top of the movement.

For more Brutal Arm exercises and workouts check out our LDNM Arm Destruction pack right here.

Enjoy and don’t come moaning when you have frightening DOMS.