Bodybuilder Mike O’Hearn frequently features former Masters Olympia champion Robby Robinson on his YouTube channel. Robinson often shares training knowledge with O’Hearn and his audience, and their workout on Sept. 18, 2023, was no different.
Robinson joined O’Hearn for some arm training, which featured an exercise they don’t traditionally do: strict curls. Robinson offered specific technique protocols he adheres to when building his biceps with strict curls. A demonstration by Robinson can be seen in the video below:
We’re going back to the old days.
Robinson completed a set of 10 reps with 60 pounds. O’Hearn and his wife, Mona Muresan, followed suit. Muresan used the same bar as Robinson, while O’Hearn used a fixed EZ-Curl barbell (better alignment for his wrists) that weighed 90 pounds.
Strict curls are a competition lift at some powerlifting meets and are always performed against a wall. Organizations that sanction meets with strict curls include C.T. Fletcher’s International Strict Curl Association (ISCA).
A lifter in such a meet must maintain three points of contact with the wall at all times: the back of the head, the upper back, and the glutes. The athlete must perform the curl at the judge’s command and hold the top of the movement until they receive a down command. Judges on each side of the lifter confirm the lift as good or failed if the athlete successfully completed the lift while maintaining the three points of contact with the wall.
After O’Hearn performed another set and revealed to Robinson that O’Hearn had previously competed in a strict curl meet, but had not performed the movement in quite some time.
I did a strict curl contest in 1994, almost 30 years ago.
All three lifters were seen performing a second set each before the video’s conclusion; spotting each other to mechanical failure. The strict curl may not be as popular as sanctioned powerlifting’s main three lifts — squat, bench press, and deadlift — but there is a subsection of competitive powerlifters who battle to strict curl the most weight possible.
As of September 2023, Leroy Walker holds the strict curl world record but Nizami Tagiev has tied him. They have each successfully lifted 114 kilograms (251.37 pounds). Walker set the record in 2021; Tagiev tied it in 2022.
Featured image: @robby_robinson_black_prince on Instagram