How To Do The Dumbbell Zottman Curl, Benefits, Sets, Reps

Published On:

Who does not want bigger biceps and forearms? Not only do they give you more confidence, but they also stand as proof of your strength and athletic performance.

Out of several bicep curls and exercises, today we are going to discuss the Dumbbell Zottman Curl. It was invented by George Zottman, who was a 19th-century strongman.

This bicep compound exercise targets the bicep branchii muscle at the front of your upper arm, improving overall arm size and strength.

This exercise is like a golden key that can open any door. So, you must learn about it in detail to gain maximum benefits for your biceps.

Utility Basic
Mechanics Isolated
Force Pull


Muscles Worked by the Dumbbell Zottman Curl

Muscles Worked by the Dumbbell Zottman Curl

As the dumbbell Zottman curl is a variation of the bicep curl, it targets the bicep branchii (primary muscle).

The word bicep is derived from Latin where “bis” means “two” and “caput” means “head.” This is better explained when we look at the anatomy of the biceps as it has two heads: a long head and a short head. Both the heads hold importance when it comes to lifting or pulling.

This muscle is located on the front side of the upper arm. It originates from the shoulder blade and the hollow of the shoulder joint.

Apart from that, this exercise also targets the brachioradialis. This muscle is responsible for flexing the forearm at the elbow. It is only because of this muscle that we can change the position of our hand to neutral. In other words, it is in charge of forearm flexion, supination, and pronation.

The secondary muscles that are worked upon by the dumbbell Zottman curl are abs and back muscles.


Benefits of Dumbbell Zottman Curl

If you want to target all the bicep muscles, you will have to do several variations. But some might not have three to four hours to spare at the gym to do so. Suppose you fall in the same category; the Dumbbell Zottman Curl can help you target all the major bicep muscles in one go.

Besides that, it has other benefits too, like the following:

Increases Bicep Size and Strength

Increases Bicep Size and Strength

As the dumbbell Zottman curl directly targets the brachioradialis muscles, you get guaranteed larger biceps and bigger upper arms.


Stronger Grip

By doing this exercise regularly, you can improve your grip strength. This will come in handy while performing other types of compound exercises and activities.


Build up Endurance

When you work on your biceps, you build up more endurance and strength. This will come into use while performing other exercises and doing other day-to-day activities like pushing or lifting heavy objects.


More Targeted Muscles

As this exercise targets the short as well as the long head of the biceps, you derive more benefits.


Requires Little Equipment

You only need dumbbells for performing this exercise. As you do not require any additional equipment, you can do this at home as well.


How to Perform the Dumbbell Zottman Curl?

Even though you just need a pair of dumbbells, do not take this exercise lightly. Without the correct form, you could also end up injuring yourself. To save yourself from such consequences, consider performing this in the following manner:

  1. Grab a pair of the dumbbells of your favored and comfortable weight and hold it in each hand.
  2. Keep your legs straight with the heels touching the ground.
  3. Place your elbows near your hips and maintain a neutral spine.
  4. Exhale and bring the dumbbells upwards while supinating your wrists. In other words, rotate the dumbbells in such a way that your palms are facing towards you. Then bring them up till it reaches your shoulder level.
  5. Once the dumbbells are up and your palms are facing the ceiling, pronate your wrists and bring them down to the original position. To put it another way, rotate the dumbbells so that your palms are facing away from you.
  6. Once you return to the starting position, repeat the process.


Common Mistakes to Avoid While Performing Dumbbell Zottman Curl

Common Mistakes to Avoid While Performing Dumbbell Zottman Curl

If you think that this is a simple exercise, you might want to think twice. We have seen beginners, as well as professionals, make simple mistakes that end up compromising their form.

Not Moving the Arms Throughout the Exercise

This is the most common mistake that we have noticed with people doing the dumbbell Zottman curl. They only supinate when the dumbbells reach their shoulder level. But this will not help you target the required bicep muscles.

You must supinate while moving your hands upwards to train the muscles properly.


More Tempo

Rushing your hands while performing this exercise will not do any good. Instead, it might cause more pain later on. Instead, go for slow and controlled motions.


Dropping Wrists

Never drop your wrists while pronating, as it can cause a serious injury. Keep your wrists steady and maintain a proper grip.


Forearm Movements

Your forearms are supposed to have a minimum movement in this exercise. You must always keep them locked in.


Half Contraction

The dumbbells are supposed to come near your shoulder level for a full contraction. If you pronate your wrists before that, you will fall short of targeting the required muscles.


Lifting too Heavy

Go with the weights you are comfortable with. If you choose something heavy, you might lose your form while trying to lift it.


Not Maintaining a Neutral Spine

You are not supposed to be moving your back downwards while performing this exercise. Along with your forearms, your back must be straight and locked in.


Sets, Reps, Programming Recommendations for Dumbbell Zottman Curl

Sets, Reps, Programming Recommendations for Dumbbell Zottman Curl

If you have been training with this workout for quite some time, we recommend four sets of fifteen reps.

On the other hand, if you are a beginner, start with four sets of eight reps. Moreover, begin with a lighter weight than your usual to get into the workout session. Once you are comfortable with the momentum, you can up your game.

Variations of Dumbbell Zottman Curl

As we said earlier, including several variations of bicep curl beside the Dumbbell Zottman curl can help you grow your biceps faster. The following are some of the best options that we highly recommend:

  1. Reverse Zottman Curl
  2. Resistance Band Zottman Curl
  3. Zottman Preacher Curl
  4. Kettlebell Curl
  5. Hammer Curl
  6. Barbell Curl
  7. Reverse Curl
  8. Incline Dumbbell Curl
  9. Cable Curl
  10. Concentration Curl


Safety & Precautions for Dumbbell Zottman Curl

The following are some of the useful precautionary tips that you must be aware of before jumping into the dumbbell Zottman curl:

Maintain a Steady Form

You cannot afford to lose your form in the middle of the exercise as it could result in you getting injured. Always keep your back straight with a neutral spine. Hold the dumbbells near your hips and stand straight. Lock in your forearms, and you are good to go.


Do Not Lift Heavy Weights

Opt for the weights that you are comfortable with, especially if you are a beginner. If you go with weighty weights, you might lose the grip on the dumbbells, possibly causing an injury.  


Do not Perform if you have an Arm Injury

Avoid doing this exercise if you have any sort of arm or back injury. Consult a doctor and lay off any bicep curls for some weeks.


Alternatives of Dumbbell Zottman Curl

To widen the scope of your bicep exercise and help you build bigger and more defined biceps, consider the following alternatives:

  1. Bicep Stretch
  2. Handstand
  3. Plow Pose
  4. Chin up
  5. Burpee
  6. Superman Exercise
  7. Bicycle Crunches
  8. Downward Dog
  9. Cable Cross Over
  10. Overhead Press

Leave a Comment