Pressed for Time: When are Bicep Curls, Triceps Extensions and Deltoid Raise Acceptable?

Pure Fat Loss, Quick Tips

Ahhhhh, the “dessert” movements of the training world.

I will be blunt with this post.

Exercises like bicep curls, triceps extensions and deltoid raises provide very little bang for you buck.  I don’t care how many different angles, rep schemes and loading patterns you choose for a bicep curl, you are NEVER going to lean out by performing bicep curls alone.

I used to have a rule at the sports performance complex in Detroit, my athletes could do all of the curls, triceps, and shoulder work they wanted AFTER we finished taking care of business with our regularly scheduled program which consisted of:

–  Squats (one and two leg variations)

–  Hip dominant lifts (deadlifts, swings, etc)

–  Horizontal pressing (push ups, etc)

–  Vertical Pulling (Chin-Ups, etc)

–  Horizontal Pulling (Inverted Rows, etc)

–  Turkish Get-Ups

–  Energy System Development (aka: Anaerobic, aerobic, shuttle run conditioning)


The rule was simple.  You give me what I want, and I will let you go play around by the dumbbell rack and work all of the muscles that you think the girls love.

Most times, the guys were too tired to complete any “dessert” type movements like bicep curls, but occasionally they would find the energy to bang out a few reps/sets.


Does this rule apply to the general population seeking fat loss?

Hell yes it does.  I want you to change your view about training.  Bicep curls, triceps extensions and deltoid raises need to be considered “dessert”.  There is very little return on investment when performing these exercises.


Unless you are competing in a physique competition anytime soon, ditch them.

Replace them with total body movements, multi-joint movements that challenge your body as a single synergistic operating unit.

Run fast, lift heavy things from the floor, throw a medicine ball, work with a suspension trainer, use battling ropes, squat, push up, chin up, pull up, inverted row, push a heavy sled, pull a heavy sled, jump, run a long staircase, use a heart rate monitor to eliminate guesswork.


Image Credit: Core Performance

Do some of those things I just listed above, organized in a systematic way that prevents staleness, stagnation and keeps you progressing with weight, rest periods, exercise progression, mobility and flexibility, recovery until the next bout, etc…

Sooner than later you are going to see some results as a byproduct of your consistent development of strength, power and overall athleticism.



End timer…


2 thoughts on “Pressed for Time: When are Bicep Curls, Triceps Extensions and Deltoid Raise Acceptable?

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