Bodybuilder, fitness influencer and two-time Mr. Olympia competitor Steve Cook has just shared his preferred method for finishing off a bicep workout. Like many a bodybuilder before him, Cook likes to end his arm day by doing the "21," a pump-boosting go-to that consists of performing three sets of seven reps of barbell curl variations.
In a short video on his YouTube channel (see above), Cook starts with a set of seven wide grip curls, followed by seven half curls performed with a narrow grip, and finally, in a departure from the traditional 21 finisher, a set of seven cheat curls.
"Cook's version lets him go a little heavier than normal, because he's doing a cheat curl at the end instead of a traditional good-form curl," says Men's Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel C.S.C.S. (continued below)
But while bodybuilders have been doing 21s for years, this finisher is definitely not one for a gym novice. "The added waist rock means he's thinking about a stronger eccentric contraction," says Samuel. "That means this isn't a great exercise for beginners, who don't really know how to properly control an eccentric with their biceps, and wind up in their shoulders. But for more advanced users, it's a worthwhile switch, because it lets you load more, even though this is the end of the workout."
Cook also switches grips between the first seven reps and the last seven reps, which makes it a bit more natural during the second seven reps to keep his palms supinated, a.k.a. facing upwards, during those reps, therefore reducing some of the demand on his shoulders to rotate externally.
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