Zottman Curls are a unique variation of dumbbell curls that are a combination of a regular curl and a reverse curl.
In this guide, I’m going to teach you how to do Zottman Curls including important coaching tips as well as a few alternatives.
How To Do Zottman Curls
- Biceps (Biceps Brachii, Brachialis, Brachioradialis)
- Forearms (Extensor Carpi Radialis Longus & Brevis, Extensor Digitorum, Extensor Digiti Minimi, Extensor Carpi Ulnaris)
- Stand tall, feet shoulder-width apart, a dumbbell in each hand.
- Curl both dumbbells up to shoulder height with palms up.
- Now, rotate the forearms so that palms face down and slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.
- Rotate the forearms again, back to palms up, and curl up again.
- Continue this pattern until all reps are completed.
Zottman Curls are an excellent curl variation that heavily incorporates the forearms. Curling the concentric portion with palms up allows for more weight to be able to be used to then overly stress the forearms on the eccentric.
Focus on the eccentric portion of the lift. The tempo of Zottman Curls should include at least a 3-second eccentric (on the way down).
Benefits of Zottman Curls
Zottman Curls are an excellent bicep curl variation that targets not just the biceps but challenges the forearm extensors as well.
The forearm extensors are an important, but often overlooked set of muscles. So, any exercise that target and strengthen the extensors plays an important role in any strength program.
How Many Reps?
Zottman Curls are typically done as part of the accessory work toward the end of a workout. The suggested rep range would be 3 to 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps each.
Zottman Curl Alternatives
Need an alternative for Zottman Curls? Here are a few suggestions you may be able to try instead.
Barbell Reverse Curls
If you don’t have dumbbells, you may be able to substitute Reverse Curls instead. Reverse Curls will also heavily emphasize the forearms as well.
Some lifters may find them to be a little uncomfortable on the wrists. I would suggest starting light and experimenting with your grip width to see if you can find a setup that works well for you.
Another biceps exercise that can be done with a reverse grip is Band Curls. If you have a resistance band, simply grab the band with an overhand grip and curl. You should even have the ability to rotate the forearms just a bit to more closely simulate an actual Zottman Curl.
More Links and Info
If you’d like to check out more biceps, triceps and forearms exercises then head over to the Arm Farm section of our Exercise Library. There you’ll find dozens of exercises, all with step-by-step instructions.