Forgotten Exercises: Zottman Curls


Looking for a new arm exercise? Of course you are, who isn’t?

Following our discussion of the see-saw shoulder press last week, we thought it was time to examine another forgotten exercise, the Zottman Curl. Named after 19th century strongman George Zottman, the Zottman curl is a fantastic way of stressing the biceps, brachialis muscles, and forearm supinators.

So what are Zottman Curls and how do I perform one?

Although a rare sight in gymnasiums nowadays,  Zottman Curls are a fantastic way to develop your forearms and biceps. To execute the perfect curl

  • Position yourself as you would normally for a standard biceps curl i.e.  dumbbells at your sides, elbows close to your torso and palms facing forward
  • Curl the DB up to your shoulders
  • Squeeze your biceps at the top
  • Turn hands over so your palms are now facing away from you (pronated grip) i.e rotate your wrists outward so your palms face forward again.
  • Lower the weight to the starting position using a pronated grip.
  • At the bottom position, switch back to original supinated grip. Repeat for prescribed number of repetitions.

Here’s a video of current bodybuilding sensation Rich Piana performing the exercise


Like any bicep exercise, the Zottman Curl can be done in a variety of ways, be it standing, seated or incline. Play around and see which suits you best.

Bonus Material

The Zottman Curl was a favourite bicep developer of the Iron Guru, Vince Gironda. Check out this rare footage below of Gironda performing the movement.

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