This is one of my very favorite "secret sauce" exercises for building the biceps FAST, even when nothing else seems to work.
You're using your ENTIRE bodyweight and placing it directly on the biceps...with a small adjustment to the setup of the normal chin-up exercise.
This will give you a TREMENDOUS muscle-building pump in your biceps, I can promise you that. It's one of the few bicep exercises that is actually a compound exercise and it has the potential to increase your arm size significantly with regular use.
I named this exercise after myself because it's really what I'm all about...it's completely opposite to what you're supposed to do, it uses equipment in ways it was never intended, it's a little bit nuts and it works twice as good as anything else.
To do this one, you'll need some basic equipment. The setup I'm using is a couple of bars set in the power rack. There's actually an even easier way to set it up in the rack IF you've got a rack that has thinner rails rather than the thick posts that mine has (I'll tell you how to set that up once you see the exercise). You can also very easily do this one at a playground on one of the ladders there.
This exercise requires some up-front strength to start with. To do this one, you should be able to perform at least 8 to 10 normal chin-ups. If you aren't there yet, I have another version that I'll show you that will be perfect for you. And if you're stronger, I have another version for you as well.
So set one bar up as high as the racking pins can be set, then set the safety rails about 18 inches or so below there - you can adjust the height as needed for your arm length. Set the second bar on the rails, pushed up against the uprights of the rack.
Now grip the top bar...your forearms will be braced against the bottom bar.
If you're using a rack that has thinner rails, just set both rails on one side so that they look like ladder rungs and you're all set.
Make sure you keep tension in the biceps and shoulders. This puts a fair bit of leverage onto the biceps at the bottom and you don't want to hyperextend anything.
Now pull your body up.
Since your forearms are braced and blocked during this chin-up movement, your lats actually become secondary movers and your BICEPS become the primary movers.
Pull all the way up until you hit full contraction at the top. You want to keep your upper body vertical to keep the tension focused solidly on the biceps here.
Hold at the top then lower yourself under control, especially as you come towards the bottom and reverse direction. DO NOT slam yourself down into the bottom position or try to reverse direction quickly. If you feel yourself coming down too fast, let go of the bar and drop to the ground.
What to Do If You're Not Strong Enough to Do Full Reps
Simple! You're going to do the exercise with your feet on the ground.
You may need to lower the bars a bit, so you can keep your feet on the ground the whole way, or you can do how I'm doing it in the demo and just spot with your feet for part of the exercise range of motion.
NOW take your feet off the ground and finish to the top.
And like I said, you can also set the bars lower to keep your feet on the floor the whole way through.
How to Add Resistance
As you get stronger, or if you're strong enough already, you can add resistance in the form of a dumbbell between your feet.
Here's what that looks like.
Now, if you're ready for some serious fun (and this is how I did it in the demo video), start with the dumbbell between your feet and get as many reps as you can, then go to just bodyweight for as many reps as you can, then standing for as many reps as you can.
Your biceps will be ON FIRE by the end of the set and you'll probably have a hard time brushing your teeth for the next few days but it'll be worth it.
The Nilsson Curl, used regularly in your bicep training, will help you add some serious size to your arms and improve your chinning strength as a side bonus.
Want Arms Like This?
Get 68 amazing exercises for biceps, triceps and forearms, just like the Nilsson Curls you've just read about. You'll get full descriptions, pictures, and video so you'll know exactly what you're doing every step of the way.
Related Article: A Calisthenics Bicep Workout Blasts Your Biceps Without Weights
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