I was at the gym whilst on holiday recently and there was a guy doing bicep curls using weights that were clearly too heavy for him. He was using momentum to curl the weight, he wasn’t fully extending his arms, his elbows were all over the place and his trunk was swinging forwards and backwards to help. He’d have been doing himself a huge favour if he had left his ego at the door and dropped a couple of kilos. His biceps clearly weren’t strong enough to lift the weight while maintaining good form, which meant he was having to recruit other muscles that shouldn’t have been part of the exercise. The key is not to worry about what weight your lifting (seriously, nobody else cares!) but to make sure you lift as heavy as you can without losing any technique. That way you will recruit the right muscles in the right order and you will improve over time without injuring yourself and having to take time out all together.
So, what’s the right technique? Firstly you need to adopt the correct position to maintain stability through the body. Stand with your feet hip width apart with a slight bend in the knee, put your shoulders back and down (no hunching!) and keep your eyes looking forward so your head is in line with your spine and you have no creases in your neck. Pull your belly button in and hold whilst tucking your pelvis slightly under so you don’t stick your bottom out; hold this position but keep breathing. Keep your elbows close to your sides at all times and the arms shoulder width apart; curl the weight up towards your shoulders and then fully extend down whilst keeping your elbows in place. When lowering the weight make sure you do it slowly so that the biceps lengthen whilst under load, fully extend the arm each time for full range of motion. Repeat 10 to 15 times on each arm. If you can’t manage 10 reps without losing form then the weight is too heavy. The better your form, the better the results!