A: There are better exercises for recruiting the elbow flexors, such as Scott curls and incline curls. To make barbell curls more effective, I prefer to perform them with thick-handled barbells—at the Poliquin Strength Institute I have three-inch-thick barbells, which are especially challenging and add to the effectiveness of the exercise.
Also, to minimize cheating, I prefer to perform barbell curls with my back and gluteal muscles pressed against a wall and my elbows touching my sides. Instead of a wall, you could use a 45- or 55-centimeter Swiss ball to brace your upper back. [Note: To make a standard bar thick, try Fat Gripz; see the ad on page 63 or search them at www.Home-Gym.com.]
Editor’s note: Charles Poliquin is recognized as one of the world’s most suc-cessful strength coaches, having coached Olympic med-alists in 12 different sports, including the U.S. women’s track-and-field team for the 2000 Olympics. He’s spent years researching European journals (he’s fluent in English, French and German) and speaking with other coaches and scientists in his quest to optimize training methods. For more on his books, seminars and methods, visit www.CharlesPoliquin.com. IM