Monday, April 7, 2014

Blast your gunns with Zottman Curls. By Veeraj Goyaram

Exercise Focus

blast your gunns zottman curls

The Zottman curl is one of the exercises that you will rarely see in the gym nowadays. In my most popular arm articles on this website I described how the Zottman curl helped me in getting my biceps and forearms to grow. 

Zottman curls are performed as follows: 

You start the curl with palms facing up and once you reach the top of the movement pronate your wrist (turn downwards). On the negative portion of the rep you are in fact performing the eccentric portion of a reverse curl. It is best to keep the elbows close to the body rather than allow them to flare out. Lower the weight if necessary to achieve perfect form. Zottmanns can be performed standing or seated and two arms at the same time or in an alternate fashion. It is not always comfortable to perform in the beginning and it takes a bit of practice to master the technique and build the mental connection on of this exercise. 
The Zottmann curls: another forgotten old school exercise
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The Zottman Curl as originally described
I remember reading on a discussion board on the original Builders & Lifters group that the above description of Zottman curls is not correct.  The true Zottman curls are performed in another way. After researching some old school articles I came across the below description on the excellent Anthony Ditillo blog website, a treasure chest of knowledge. 

Here is the original description:
"Stand erect with a dumbbell in each hand. Curl the right-hand bell, with the palm up and the wrist bent strongly upward. When the bell reaches the shoulder, pronate the hand (turn the palm downward) and lower the bell, keeping the wrist bent strongly upward as in the reverse curl. But as you lower the right hand bell, you simultaneously curl the left-hand bell, with the palm of the left hand up. And when the right arm is fully straightened, the left arm should be fully flexed. You then pronate the left hand and lower the bell, at the same time supinating the right hand and curling the bell in that hand. Both the arms work at the same time, one hand coming up as the other hand is going down, the upward movement being always a regular curl, and the downward movement always a reverse curl. The illustration shows the right hand coming up and the left hand going down."
David Willoughby, Powerful Arms, Chapter 6
The proper execution of the Zottman curl (right)
as described by David Willoughby, Powerful Arms, Chapter 6
Finally we get to see a video of Vince Gironda teaching Zottman curls, courtesy of Mr. Robert Torres, a student of the late Iron Guru.

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I acknowledge the following persons for the material that were helpful for this article:
a. Mr. Anthony Ditillo via his website, a treasure chest of old-school bodybuilding
b. Mr. Robert Torres, student of Vince Gironda, for sharing videos and Gironda knowledge

My Bio: I am a Mauritian originally from Roche Bois, Port Louis and now based in Cape Town, South Africa where I am busy with my postgraduate studies in molecular biology of exercise. My research, supervised by Prof. Edward Ojuka and Dr. Tertius Kohn, looks at the influence of nutrition and exercise in gene expression in muscle, research which is relevant and applicable to exercising individuals, sports persons and diabetic individuals. The knowledge that I share with you stems from my 18 years of experience in bodybuilding and 8 years (and counting) of university education in the field. I have also published work in the American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism (2012, 2014), International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism (2013) and co-authored two book chapters on exercise and diabetes. I also presented my research work at the 2012 International Sports and Exercise Nutrition Conference (UK). I am grateful to each and everyone at the UCT Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine. "Knowledge without sharing is worth nothing"
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