Why Do I Feel Bicep Curls In My Chest? Everything You Need To Know

L J Kudos

Why Do I Feel Bicep Curls In My Chest? Everything You Need To Know

If you have been doing bicep curls recently, you may have suddenly wondered…

Why do I feel bicep curls in my chest?

This does happen from time to time and can be confusing as to why this is the case.

However, there are several reasons why this might be, so let’s look and see how the issue can be cured.

Why Do I Feel Bicep Curls in My Chest?

The bicep curl is a common exercise that people use to tone and strengthen their arms. However, some people may feel the exercise in their chest instead of their arms. This is usually due to improper form or using too much weight. Effectively “swinging” your elbows when curling the bar is a sign your form is off and the chest is being used more than it should. Improving your form and using lighter weights can help you target your biceps more effectively and reduce chest activation. If you are using a barbell it would be advised to change them for dumbbells to see if this helps the issue.

Changing one or two things can improve your bicep curls considerably, let’s see how you can do this…

Form is essential

You may not be performing the bicep curl correctly if you are feeling it more in your chest than in your arms. A few things to keep in mind are:

  • Keep your upper arms close to your sides and perpendicular to the floor
  • Don’t swing the weights, lift them slowly and with control
  • Breathe out as you lift the weights
  • Squeeze your biceps at the top of the curl

If you can keep all of these in mind, then you should find that your form improves and so does the focus of the exercise.

Your chest is lightly worked isometrically when performing a bicep curl with good form. This is because your elbows are tucked in at your sides, which activates your pecs to a very small degree.

If your elbows start to flare out during the curl, this places more of a focus on your chest muscles. This may cause you to feel the exercise more in your chest than in your arms.

Are your elbows an issue?

When doing a bicep curl, you should keep your elbows tucked into your torso to reduce your chest being used too much.

People naturally point elbows forward when curling, which acts like a kind of scooping motion, normally due to the weight being too heavy, which means you are cheating to lift the bar.

Another issue people have when curling is allowing their elbows to in effect flare out to the side, once again, more often this is down to lifting a weight that’s too heavy once again.

One way to make sure you are doing the exercise correctly is to stand with your back and elbows against the wall, to prevent any cheating and curl the bar with a lighter weight to promote a better technique.

Why Do I Feel Bicep Curls in My Chest?
Having too wide a grip can cause problems when doing bicep curls

Are you leaning forward?

Another common problem people experience is leaning forward to enable them to hold the bar, which is too heavy.

When leaning forward, this places more of a focus on the front deltoids and pectorals, which means that your biceps are getting less of the work.

Additionally, people often roll their shoulders when doing a bicep curl and end up rocking back and forth. This also takes away from the focus on the biceps and puts more strain on the lower back.

To avoid this, make sure you keep a straight back and only move your arms. This will help you to keep the focus on your biceps and avoid any unnecessary strain on your lower back.

Related: Why Is One Arm Stronger Than The Other? (All The Answers For Perfect Symmetry)

Keep core engaged during movement

When performing any kind of curl, be sure to keep your core engaged. This will help you to maintain good form and protect your lower back.

Your abs act as stabilizers during exercises like curls. If they are not engaged, your lower back can arch and put a strain on your spine. To engage your core, imagine you are trying to bring your belly button towards your spine.

You should feel your abs tighten, and you may even feel your lower back muscles engage. This is what you want.

Once you have engaged your core, maintain that throughout the curl.

Holding the bar

Your hand position when holding the bar can have an impact on which muscles are activated during the bicep curl.

Having your hands too far apart on the bar can cause you to use more of your chest muscles, which can lead to chest activation.

Moving your hands closer together on the bar will help to isolate your biceps more and reduce any chest activation.

This is because it places more of a focus on the biceps and takes some of the strain off of the chest muscles.

A common grip for the bicep curl is the supinated grip, which is when your palms are facing upwards. This grip activates the biceps more than any other muscle group.

If you find that you are still feeling the exercise in your chest with this grip, then you could try a neutral grip.

This is when your palms are facing each other and can help to reduce any chest activation.

Overall, the supinated grip is the best grip for targeting the biceps. However, if you are still feeling the exercise in your chest, then you could try a neutral grip instead.

Weight

The weight you are using could also be too heavy for you. This will cause your chest muscles to work harder than they should be, making the bicep curl more of a chest exercise.

If you are using a weight that’s too heavy, it can place too much focus on the front delts, which then leads to the chest being used more than it should.

To avoid this, try using lighter weights and increase them gradually over time. This will help your muscles get used to the exercise and enable you to focus on your form more easily.

Having a weight that’s too heavy will naturally make you lean forward and round your shoulders, as well as put extra pressure on your lower back too.

Lower the weight until you are doing the movement correctly, this will prevent any potential injuries too.

Try alternative bicep curls

If you find that you can’t do a regular bicep curl without feeling it in your chest, then there are alternative exercises you could try.

The concentration curl is one option. This exercise is performed with a dumbbell by sitting down with one arm supported on your thigh and the other holding the weight.

You then curl the weight up towards your shoulder, keeping your upper arm still and avoiding any swinging motion. This exercise is great for isolating the biceps.

Why Do I Feel Bicep Curls in My Chest?
The concentration curl is get for isolating the biceps

The preacher curl is another option. This exercise is performed by sitting at a preacher bench with your elbows supported and your palms facing forwards.

You then curl the weight up towards your shoulder, again keeping your upper arm still. This exercise also helps to isolate the biceps.

Both of these exercises are great alternatives to the regular bicep curl and can help you to avoid any chest activation.

Let’s not forget hammer curls too. This exercise is performed with either both arms at once or alternating hands, the palms of your hands facing each other.

You then curl the weight up towards your shoulders, keeping your upper arms still. This exercise also helps to isolate the biceps and is great for avoiding chest activation.

One final way of doing biceps curls is with a kettlebell and doing “Goblet curls“.

Hold a kettlebell by the handles on the side and lower yourself down into a goblet squat position. When you do this your elbows should be tucked into the inside of your thighs. 

It’s in this position where you then curl the kettlebell up to your chest and then lower it back down again.

This is great once again for isolating the biceps and reducing chest activation.

There are many different types of bicep curls you can do to help you avoid feeling the exercise in your chest.

It’s important to remember that if you are using proper form and still feel the exercise in your chest, then the weight you are using is too heavy.

Try reducing the weight and focus on isolating your biceps with the exercises mentioned above. This will help you get the most out of the bicep curl and achieve better results.

Use a resistance band

If you find that you can’t do a regular bicep curl without feeling it in your chest, then there are alternative exercises you could try.

One option is to use a resistance band. This can help to reduce any chest activation as it places more of a focus on the biceps.

To do this exercise, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold the resistance band in your hands.

Curl your hands towards your shoulders, keeping your upper arms still. Once you have reached the top of the curl, slowly lower your hands back to the starting position.

This exercise is great for isolating the biceps and can help you to avoid any chest activation.

Overall, the bicep curl is a great exercise for toning and strengthening your arms.

Related: Why Do I Feel Bicep Curls in My Forearms? (12 Crucial Things To Consider)

Switching to Dumbbells

If you have been using a barbell for your bicep curls and are struggling with feeling them more in your chest than your arms, then it may be time to switch to dumbbells.

Dumbbells offer a number of benefits over barbells. They allow for a greater range of motion, which can help to target the biceps more effectively.

They also place less strain on the wrists and elbows, which can be helpful if you have any pre-existing injuries or pain in these areas.

Finally, dumbbells allow you to focus on one arm at a time, which can help to ensure that each side is working evenly.

Overall, dumbbells are a great alternative to barbells for bicep curls and can help you to target your arms more effectively.

Previous or Current Injuries

If you have suffered a previous injury to one of your biceps or surrounding muscles, it’s quite possible that this could be why you are compensating the movement by using the chest more than you should.

This is because the muscles have not been able to heal properly and are therefore not as strong as they should be.

This could also be the case if you have an injury but aren’t necessarily aware of it.

You may be aware something is off with the arm in question but decide to “power through”. This is a massive alarm bell if you experience this.

Whenever there is pain in your body, your brain is telling you to stop doing what is causing the pain.

If you ignore this and “power through” anyway, you are likely to make the injury worse. If this happens, it’s quite possible that this is why you are using your chest more when doing bicep curls.

Warm-up and Cool Down

When you’re working out, it’s important to warm up properly.

This will help to prevent injuries and make sure your muscles are ready to work.

A good warm-up should include some light cardio and some dynamic stretching.

After your workout, it’s just as important to cool down properly.

This will help your muscles to recover and prevent them from getting too sore.

A good cool-down should include some light cardio and static stretching.

Make sure you’re taking the time to warm up and cool down properly before and after your workouts.

Final Thoughts…

The bicep curl is a great exercise for toning and strengthening your arms. However, some people may find that they feel the exercise more in their chest than their arms.

This is usually due to improper form or using too much weight. Improving your form and using lighter weights can help you target your biceps more effectively and reduce chest activation.

There are also a number of alternative exercises you could try, such as using a resistance band or dumbbells. These can help to reduce any chest activation and focus more on the biceps.

Have you experienced using your chest more when doing bicep curls and how did you cure the problem? Let us know in the comments!

If you enjoy sport and use CBD to help with your recovery in between gruelling workouts, then you are in the right place. Here at Sport CBDs, we train hard and recover the best way possible…

We have regular workouts (check out the YouTube channel), CBD news and CBD products to help you gain that edge! 

If you wanted to check out the reputable CBD we have on offer here at the site, then please head to the Sport CBDs Store (CLICK HERE). We also do fitness clothing and yoga accessories too. 

Until next time, all the best…

Beginners Upper Body Kettlebell Workout

Lee

Founder – Sport CBDs

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