Dumbbell Zottman Curl: Build Strong Biceps and Forearms

The forearms aren’t the easiest or most thrilling area of your body to work on. They’re not attractive in photos of beach scenes and they only stand out in social situations when you can display your amazing grip with an enthralling handshake.

This doesn’t mean that you have to avoid them it is because having a sturdy grip is a huge advantage when you try any other type of lift and even crucial situations that could end your life. If you happen to be in a position where you’re hanging off a ledge you’ll be kicking yourself for the time you spent on squats instead of having built stronger forearms.

If you’re not convinced of the benefits of training your forearms the dumbbell Zottman curl may be a good option to begin to build confidence since the exercise assists in constructing bulging biceps while strengthening your lower arms. Actually, since you turn the dumbbell while you do the curl, you’ll be hitting the entire biceps muscle group. This is more functional strength as well as bigger mirror muscles as a result of just one exercise. Why aren’t more people practicing dumbbell Zottman curl?

Dumbbell Zottman Curl

The dumbbell Zottman curl is one of the most effective variants of the standard Bicep curl. It was invented by the 19th-century strength coach George Zottman, the dumbbell Zottman curl targets your Biceps as well as the forearms at the same time. If you’re looking to increase your strength, arm size, and look, then the dumbbell Zottman curl is the one for you!

Dumbbell Zottman Curl: Working Muscles

Dumbbell Zottman Curl Working Muscles

Primary Muscle Group

The dumbbell Zottman curl primarily concentrates on your brachii muscles of the biceps. The bicep muscle is made up of two “heads:” a long head and a short one. Both heads function as a unit in pulling and lifting movements.

The dumbbell Zottman curl specifically targets the brachioradialis one of the most powerful and visible muscles of the forearms.

The principal function of the brachioradialis is forearm pronation, supination, and flexion.

Secondary Muscle Group

The dumbbell Zottman curl engages your brachialis muscle that is located in your biceps and is situated under the brachii of your biceps. The dumbbell Zottman curl will also work your back muscles and abdominal muscles to help stabilize your body when you curl.

The muscles of the forearms that are smaller are also worked during the dumbbell Zottman curl.

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Dumbbell Zottman Curl: Benefits

#1 Strength And Size Gains

The dumbbell Zottman curl is one of the most popular compound exercises for the bicep. This means that your biceps are focused during the movement which helps to build the biceps muscles and boost the hypertrophy of your biceps. The development of your biceps muscles isn’t just for how it will enhance your performance when you perform other workouts in the gym, such as your barbell row and pulling down the lap pulldown.

#2 Forearm Activation

The dumbbell Zottman curl curl offers the benefits of two exercises all in one since it targets the biceps and forearms at the same time. Although the forearms typically help support the arms during other curling movements, however, the dumbbell Zottman curl primarily concentrates on the forearms.

This way you’ll benefit from strengthening your lower and upper arms simultaneously.

#3 Improved Aesthetics

Let’s face it, most people want arm muscles that look better. Based on your objectives you can utilize the dumbbell Zottman curl to get stronger muscles, toned and more defined forearms and biceps. The exercise is easy to master and will aid in improving the look of your arms within a short time.

Dumbbell Zottman Curl: Instructions


To perform this exercise you’ll need two dumbbells.


  • Grab a dumbbell with your palms looking forward.
  • Take a standing posture with your feet about an inch apart.


  1. Keeping your back straight, tighten your biceps, and curl the dumbbells up.
  2. Squeeze your biceps tightly towards the top. Then, bend your hands in such a way that your palms are facing downwards.
  3. Slowly lower the dumbbells back to their starting position, then twist your hands to ensure that your palms face in the direction forward.
  4. Repeat this motion until the number of reps you want to do.


If you’re new to the dumbbell Zottman curl, select a lighter weight to start and do 3-4 sets of 10 to 15 reps. If you feel confident in the technique you can grab a pair of heavier dumbbells, and keep to 6–8 reps for 3-4 sets.

Dumbbell Zottman Curl: Mistakes

Dumbbell Zottman Curl Mistakes

#1 Rounding The Back

A lot of weightlifters turn their backs inwards while doing dumbbell curls. This back angle that is rounded can affect the spine’s safety and could cause injuries.

In addition, ensure that your back is straight and engaged to be able to test your biceps in the most secure method that is feasible.

#2 Using Momentum

A lot of times I observe people moving their arms and making use of momentum to raise the dumbbells in the dumbbell Zottman curl. This is usually because they are trying to lift the excessive weight.

Instead of letting your ego interfere Choose a weight that is lighter and work on improving your posture. Being aware when lifting heavier weights will improve your performance and lower the risk of getting injured!

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#3 Rushing The Motion

Another mistake that is often that is made when doing the dumbbell Zottman curl is to rush. That is, they blast through the curl, and allow the weights to sink rapidly towards the bottom. This can result in stealing significant gains that could be gained in the eccentric part of the exercise movement.

Instead of racing through the movement, curl the dumbbells slowly and in a controlled way. This is not only more secure, but it can improve the time you are under tension and increase the advantages of the dumbbell Zottman curl.

Dumbbell Zottman Curl: Variations

#1 Reverse Zottman Curl

The reverse Zottman curl is designed to target your forearms higher than the dumbbell Zottman curl. Start in the same position as the initial but twist upwards, with your palms facing downwards.

After that, at the end of the rep, turn your wrists around so that your palms are facing upwards. Then, return to the starting location at the top, and repeat!

#2 Resistance Band Zottman Curl

The zottman curl may also be completed using a resistance band. Take a resistance band with your feet about shoulders apart. You can complete the resistance band Zottman curl in the same shape as the dumbbell Zottman curl.

This time you’ll be holding on to the band!

Dumbbell Zottman Curl: Alternatives

If you loved the dumbbell Zottman curl then check out these alternatives Bicep exercises that will help you improve your bicep workout:

#1 Straight Curl

Stand up with your feet near each other while keeping your back straight. Place the dumbbells on the floor with your palms facing upwards. Engage your biceps so that you can extend your arms and then raise the dumbbells.

Press your biceps to the floor towards the end of the rep, and then slowly return to your starting position. Repeat!

#2 Reverse Straight Curl

Stand up with your feet close to each other with your spine straight. Place the dumbbells on the floor with your palms facing downwards. Flex your biceps until you can stretch your arms out and then raise the dumbbells.

Make sure you squeeze your biceps with force towards the end of the rep, and then slowly return to your starting position. Repeat!

Dumbbell Zottman Curl: Ideal Weight

Don’t overdo dumbbell Zottman curl. I suggest using dumbbells that permit 10-15 repetitions of standard curls.

If you are too heavy, it will cause it be difficult to manage the weight of the opposite with the reverse grip (pronated) posture. It is not a good idea to allow the weight to fall quickly when you lower it. This would be counterproductive to the goal of the workout. The negatives should be pleasant and controlled. That is why it’s a bit more moderate.

Dumbbell Zottman Curl: Reps & Sets

Dumbbell Zottman Curl Reps & Sets

If you’re looking to integrate the dumbbell Zottman curl into your exercise routine it is possible to add it later on in the workout to prevent over-working your grip. When designing for the dumbbell Zottman curl it is essential to adjust your previous days to accommodate the soreness in your muscles and the temporary decrease in grip strength as those muscles that make up the forearms and arm muscles might be exhausted after direct training.

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Here are two of the most important sets, reps, as well as the weight (intensity) guidelines to help you properly program the dumbbell Zottman curl.

To Build Muscle Mass

The dumbbell Zottman curl can be programmed similarly to other isolation exercises and must be practiced equally in moderate reps as well as moderate reps to increase general muscles, strength, and grip strength.

Begin by programming three or five repetitions of between 10 and 15 using medium to high loads, or up to two sets of 15-25 repetitions using moderate loads until near failure, while allowing intervals of 45 to 90 seconds.

To Strengthen

It is possible to perform the dumbbell Zottman curl using more weights to increase your strength. Be sure you control the eccentric in a way that isn’t too hard on the forearm muscles. Because the eccentric is typically a time to train with high weights, muscle soreness might increase and grip strength can briefly decrease following intense training. It is important to modify your training according to your needs (in the same way, you may be advised to avoid the heavy deadlifts on the next day.

Begin beginning by programming 3 to 5 sets with five to ten repetitions, with heavy load taking breaks as needed.

Last Words

This dumbbell Zottman curl is an iconic exercise for building arms that combines the advantages that dumbbell Zottman curl along with an opposite curl. Although it looks like however, the exercise is not just for aesthetic reasons. It can be integrated into your workout routine to increase your ability to move weight throughout the board. Remember, a stronger grip means stronger lifts.


  • Timothy P. Carnes

    Timothy P. Carnes is a certified personal trainer with a Bachelor's degree in Exercise Science from the University of Florida. With over 8 years of experience in the fitness industry, Timothy is an expert in strength and conditioning, body composition, and overall health and wellness. He also holds certifications in strength and conditioning through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and corrective exercise through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). As an author at FitGAG, he shares his knowledge and expertise on a variety of topics, including strength training, body composition, and overall health and wellness tips. Timothy believes that consistency and discipline are the keys to achieving fitness goals, and he strives to inspire his readers to prioritize their fitness and wellness journey. Through his articles, Timothy aims to empower his readers to take control of their health, enhance their performance, and live their best lives.

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