What Are Zottman Curls Good For?

Zottman Curls

Bodybuilding enthusiasts might know what the Zottman curl is and the benefits that it provides. However, if you’re new to bodybuilding, you may have never heard of it. In fact, it’s an old form of arm exercise that is quite popular to date.

When it comes to bodybuilding, expect training variations applied to different parts of the body. Do you want to know the best form of exercise for forearms and building biceps?

The answer is Zottman curls! It’s an excellent form of dumbbell exercise for the forearm and blows up your biceps even better as it helps improve grip strength.

Regardless of the kinds of exercises, it’s crucial to know that muscles are significantly involved. Also, knowing this allows you to use appropriate training while working out.

In this case, the emphasis is applied to the brachioradialis and biceps brachii. This old form of exercise works on the lower and upper arms, which are represented by these muscles. More on these muscles are explained further below.

Zottman curls are a traditional form of arm exercise that is excellent for forearms and growth in the biceps. Instead of working out separately for the biceps, this exercise indirectly triggers new growth.

Anyway, adding variations to workout routines adds productivity and prevents them from getting stale. Especially for arm building, it’s always good to add a new dumbbell routine.

What Are Zottman Curls Good For?

Why Is It Called A Zottman Curl?

The term “Zottman curl’’ was named after the American strongman George Zottman. He was from Philadelphia, famously known for his solid forearms and physique.

George is known to create numerous records, some of which are yet to be broken, including the dumbbell press. While sitting on a chair, he was able to clean and press dumbbells weighing 175 pounds. To date, no one has yet to achieve this!

Before becoming a professional strongman, he worked as a milkman delivering at home. Later he went on to perform at the dime museum and was hailed as the ‘local Hercules’ by the local media outlets.

During the late 1890s, he was known as the strongest man in the world. In his prime, George was bestowed with a height measuring 5’11 and an enormous chest measuring 47-inch, 27-inch thighs, and 58-inch shoulders.

However, what made him famous was his 15-inch forearms and 19-inch biceps! All these attributes led to the name “Zottman curl.”

How Do You Do Zottman Curls?

Any form of exercise needs to be done correctly for a better outcome. Doing it in the wrong way leads to potential injury risks and ineffectiveness as well.

In this case, this form of arm exercise requires more coordination, unlike regular dumbbells and barbells.

Check the steps below to do this exercise correctly:

  1. Stand and hold a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing the legs. Ensure that your torso is fully straight. Also, don’t forget to brace your abs.
  2. Keep your upper arms close to your sides, then bend the elbow. Curl up to your shoulders while ensuring to rotate the wrists so that the palms turn upward. Until the biceps are squeezed, curl all the way up.
  3. Once the elbow is fully contracted, switch to a pronated grip. It means turning and rotating your forehand arms without lowering the weight. Doing this allows the palm to face downward.
  4. Return to the starting position by lowering the dumbbell slowly.
  5. Follow the same process as in step 1 when reaching the bottom. Turn the dumbbell again in the supine position.
  6. Repeat the steps as prescribed or set by the trainer.

While performing this exercise, ensure that you’re in control of the weight and move slowly.

Zottman Curls

What Muscles Do Zottman Curls Work?

As mentioned above, Zottman curls focus on the biceps brachii and brachioradialis. Attaining ripped forearms and biceps requires these muscles need to be worked out. Let’s take a look at how it’s achieved.

Biceps Brachii

This muscle is present at the front of your upper arm. It is also known as a two-headed muscle with its origin near the clavicle and is humorous.

Here the short and long head comes together, which results in forming a single muscle belly. It performs three functions:

  • Shoulder flexion
  • Forearm supination
  • Elbow flexion


This muscle plays a vital role, with its main function being elbow flexion. It’s present at the top of the forearm resulting in doing most work.

It work alongside the biceps, allowing the elbow to flex. And it’s more effective when hands are in a down or pronated position.

Zottman curls work on these muscles for the biceps and forearms. These muscles get interconnected while performing this form of exercise.

Stressing them results in attaining firm and ripped forearms and biceps. It may be an old-school exercise, but it is still prevalent.

Are Zottman Curls Worth It?

Zottman curls are worth doing if you desire to achieve a toned forearm. Not only that, it’s an excellent exercise for the biceps. In fact, this dumbbell curl is actually a bicep curl.

You can expect various benefits besides activating your forearm creation. These are some benefits of this exercise:

Stronger grip: Since reverse curl is involved in this forearm exercise, it strengthens the grip. A firmer grip is useful in sports such as football, wrestling, and rock climbing. Besides, it’s handy during deadlifts and rows.

Adds variation to your workout routine: Following the same exercise may get boring and result in ineffectiveness. Besides, it may affect your mental and physical performance.

Hence, including Zottman curls in your workout routine would improve muscle growth and make daily physical exercise enjoyable.

Bigger and toned arms: The bigger brachioradialis enhances the size and shape of the upper arm. Once the muscle is well-formed or developed, your arms get a distinct shape similar to a bowling pin.

Saves time: This form of dumbbell exercise is like two-in-one. You’re not only working on your forearms but biceps at the same time. It’s time-efficient and saves the trouble of doing separate exercises.


Jason Shaw is an experienced bodybuilder, gym owner, nutritionist and content creator for many websites. He has competed at a high level and wants to bring that experience in muscle building, fitness and nutrition including supplements to our many readers, whether you're a skinny guy want to build muscle or a seasoned bodybuilder.

Similar Articles


Best SARMs For Bulking

Most Popular