How to Do Barbell Curls (the Arthur Jones Way)
By Ellington Darden, Ph.D.
If you have read any of Arthur Jones’s exercise material, you will probably remember his unique way of painting pictures with words. The following paragraphs were taken from some of his early writings – which detailed the proper way to perform a set of barbell curls. Note: When this material was written in 1969, Jones recommended two sets of most exercises. Even so, you will quickly get the feel of how Jones applied high-intensity training.
Curls by Jones
Select a weight that you can curl in good style for 6 repetitions. Then, make yourself do 10 repetitions in strict form; or tear your arms off at the elbows trying. If you have to – cheat a bit – but no more than absolutely necessary.
This set should be so hard that the last repetition requires from 10 to 12 seconds to perform. Afterwards, you should be breathing like a steam engine, dark blue in the face, and so weak that you have to sit down to keep from passing out.
The barbell curl is not an arm exercise; or, at least, not an arm-only exercise – although it will soon give you biceps like a gorilla. Rather, it is an every-damned-thing exercise, if it is performed properly. Done correctly, and heavily enough, the leverage is so great when the weight is in the halfway position, it works your back as much as a set of heavy stiff-legged deadlifts, and the pull downwards is so strong on your shoulders that it works the entire shoulder girdle intensely. The energy output is so great that it causes you to puff like a locomotive – thus building overall heart and lung efficiency and increasing the rib-box size nearly as well as a set of breathing squats.
Rest, just long enough to get your breathing close to normal, and repeat a second set with the same resistance for at least 8 repetitions (and King Kong could not do more than two sets during the same workout) – so if you can, then you are not doing them properly.
In fact, if you even consider doing a third set after finishing the second set, then you did not do those two sets properly. You should feel like heaving your cookies after the second set – and a lot of serious guys do; if you do not, then give up – you have not got what it takes.
And I am not joking about this – not even slightly. Throughout your overall-body routine you must constantly walk a very fine line – the line between outright sickness and collapse and simple, but complete exhaustion. And you must stay just on the far side of that line, constantly on the bare edge of being nauseated. This is especially true in regard to barbell curls.
If you like Arthur Jones stories and challenging training routines, The New Bodybuilding for Old-School Results is packed with them. It is the most in-depth book I have ever written. It contains 112,000 words and 248 photos, which are spread over 312 pages.
When the limited number of remaining manuals is depleted, it is unlikely that this book will ever be reprinted.
Act now and order your copy by clicking into the instructions on the left side of the opening page of my website: www.drdarden.com.
Casey Viator, 1971 Mr. America, is on the front cover of The New Bodybuilding for Old-School Results, and a close-up view of Arthur Jones is on the back cover.