First and foremost, the Jefferson Curl, like most movements that are not used by everyday people (but should be), is not one anyone should jump into thinking they can do it correctly and safely with weight right away. You need to understand the movement, its goals, its drivers, and then you need to progress with the movement from no weight to using lightweight. Anything else is asking for injury.
If you get injured, it’s not the exercise that’s at fault, it’s the operator that’s at fault. Us humans are designed to flex their spine, and flex it under load. The amount of load depending on your conditioning, which means, how flexible you are, how well you perform the movement, how strong you are in the muscles that should drive the movement, and how well you engage the muscles that should be driving the movement.
To me the Jefferson Curl is an exercise that helps increase hamstring and thoracic flexibility. Furthermore, it creates strength in the back, in particular in areas that are usually kept rigid during lifts.
The Jefferson Curl is essentially that which we tell our athletes not to do during other heavy lifts, i.e. “Don’t lift with your back”.
In the video I show several progressions:
- Bodyweight Jefferson Curl
- Kettlebell Jefferson Curl (handle grip)
- Kettlebell Jefferson Curl (upside down bell grip)
- Kettlebell Jefferson Curl (base grip)
- Kettlebell Jefferson Curl (deep base grip)
From there you can use elevation to perform the exercise and get more range.
SLOW. CONTROL. PROGRESSION.
Do you think this exercise is not safe? Do you believe the same about partner-assisted stretches AKA PNF stretching? If so, continue no further.