In the selection of champion bodybuilders, Frank Zane is right up there with guys like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Not only did he help to change the aesthetics of physique competitions with his smaller waist and focus on proportion, he also won the Mr. Olympia for three consecutive years.
Zane retired back in 1983, and was then put into the IFBB Hall of Fame, but as a recent Instagram post shows, he is still training at 79 years old. The clip shows Zane performing his favorite bicep exercises; a variation of the incline curl, done facing down on an incline bench.
“This puts tension at the top of my biceps, so you allow the dumbbells to hang down, then curl up, stop at the top, and go back down slowly,” he says in the video, as he shows the move. “You want to create a rhythm when you’re doing this; rhythm is the important thing.”
Zane then says that this is a great exercise for getting a full contraction of your bicep, and advises people to do sets of 10 reps, noting that after only 6 curls he is starting to get some strain.
The move that Zane is doing here is a lot like the spider curl, another incline dumbbell version which can build muscle and strength in your chest and biceps. In both cases, you should be careful you don’t get too comfortable using the incline; certainly do not rest your entire weight there.
The bench is a great tool to help you find the right angle for your body, but it’s not to be used like a bed. Find the best angle, and then create a stiffness throughout the rest of your body. Activate your glutes, and then attempt to breathe into your abs and into the bench; this will help set your spine stay neutral. Then flex your mid and upper back muscles so your shoulders do not slump forward; your mid- and upper-back muscles should stay active during your curl. That will protect your shoulders in the long-term and make it easier to move to the next thing.
Author: Scott Dowdy