Monday, August 29, 2016

To Curl, Or not to Curl? That is the Question

Image result for larry scott
This type of curling apparently worked for the late, great Larry Scott, but is not the type of curling that athletes should be doing.

I have to admit that there was a time when I disdained anyone doing curling exercises in my weightroom. There is still no doubt that this arm flexion exercise is way overused among adolescent would-be athletes. The group who comes in and wants to immediately stand in front of the mirror and begin curling seems to be a constant, although I have devised ways to get them squatting, pulling, and pressing first. Most of these young men labor under the illusion that girls like big arms, so they persist in spite of the fact that their arms never get bigger as a result of their efforts. It is a false premise anyway, girls really find big bank accounts much more attractive than big arms. (I come up short on both fronts.)
But, you know what, as the years pass, I am realizing that there are legitimate reasons to include curls in your workout, even if you are not a "cosmetic performer" (bodybuilder). Back in the late 70's Mark Cameron became the second American lifter to Clean and Jerk over 500 lb. (Ken Patera was the first American)
The amazing thing about Mark was he only weighed about 240 lb. at the time. Nearly 100 lb. less than Alexeev or Patera. Arm curls were included in his workouts. He was not overly muscular or thick, and felt that curling helped his elbow stabilization. I have also read that Al Oerter also included curls in his training. These were not a strict, flexing type of curl, but a heavy full body type of reverse clean almost. No one can argue with his success. A few weeks ago someone commented in response to one of our posts asking about adjustments in training for someone with elbows that tended to hyperextend. I neglected to mention that curling is important in strengthening the elbows in this type of athlete. While I am not claiming that curls should be a major part of a throwers or lifters workouts, in fact arms that are too large could inhibit proper positions. I do believe that curling exercises have their place in stabilizing the elbow joint and strengthening it for the stresses of throwing. Of course it is vital that these be done through the full range of motion, not to excess, and preferably not in front of a mirror! lol
Al Oerter

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