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Strict Barbell Curl vs Cheat Barbell Curl for Bicep Size Gains

By Strength Oldschool

Arm Training has always been a favourite topic of mine due to myself having poor genetics in that area. I don't have the long muscle bellies of a Sergio Oliva, or the peaked biceps of Arnold or even simply the arm genetics of Frank Zane! And it's nothing to do with me not taking steroids, it's just simply plain genetics. But the conversation of how to best develop ARM SIZE GAINS in the shortest possible time as a natural lifter has always fascinated me.

Strength Oldschool - Strict Curl vs Cheat Curl for Bicep Gains

Forget Triceps at this point in time and instead lets keep the focus of this topic on Biceps development, comparing only two exercises: The Strict Barbell Curl vs The Cheat Barbell Curl. Which one is more effective, in your opinion, to build larger bicep muscles? So we are talking "size" gains, not necessarily "strength" gains.

If a lifter specifically focused ONLY on "Cheat Barbell Curls" using either an Ez-Bar or straight bar, it doesn't matter, would they lack biceps development (size) by not using ultra strict form?

Heavy cheat barbell curls are considered "TABOO" in today's times as wannabe experts would have you believe they're a waste of time and will lead to injuries and offer no benefits to biceps development as swinging a barbell enlists every other muscle group BUT the BICEPS!!

However, "The Cheat Barbell Curl" is a well known "Old School" bodybuilding and strength exercise which has been used by legends such as strongman Doug Hepburn and British bodybuilder Reg Park. Arnold and Sergio Oliva were also big fans of the cheat barbell curl and check out their arms!

If you watch any training videos of "Brutal" Bertil Fox, you'll notice he never uses strict form. Especially when it comes to barbell curls, he always swings the weight up which allows him to handle much heavier weights.

Young lifters today would simply observe Bertil Fox and think he's training every other muscle group but the biceps!

A bodybuilder from the 1960's, Bruce Randall, famous for his massive arms was known to perform heavy cheat barbell curls.

I do strongly believe that lifters through trial and error need to find exercises which work for them. What works for one lifter may not work for someone else. Everyone is different.

Regarding which is better and more effective at developing the biceps...strict barbell curl or cheat barbell curl? - Both methods have their place in my book. From a strength building point of view, the "Cheat Curl" would be obviously necessary, but does the heaving of heavy weights help produce BIGGER bicep gains? I honestly don't know. If you're of the belief that to get bigger, you must get stronger, then in order to handle maximum weights, it would be wise to train using the "Cheat" style. But if you believe that a lifter doesn't need to handle heavy weights to get bigger muscles, then why use the "Cheat Curl"?

If a natural lifter simply wanted to gain muscle size within the biceps and wasn't interested in becoming beastly strong, would they still gain maximum biceps development faster by focusing on heavy cheat barbell curls instead of ultra strict style?

What do you think? Submit your comments at our Facebook link.

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If you long for the good ol' days of "Old School Bodybuilding and Strongmen" check out my Vintage Muscle Magazine videos on Youtube!

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Thanks for reading and keep training hard folks!

Strength Oldschool

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