For us tall guys looking for an intense bicep workout, the 21’s exercise proves to be a game-changer. This technique, breaking down the traditional bicep curl into three segments of 7-7-7 partial reps, offers unique advantages for those with longer limbs. 

Firstly, it provides a varied range of motion, effectively targeting different parts of the bicep often overlooked in conventional curls. Secondly, 21’s ensure intense muscle engagement, promoting continuous tension for increased activation and growth. Lastly, this workout is time-efficient, allowing tall guys to maximize bicep gains without prolonged gym sessions. 

However, caution is advised to maintain proper form, as the speed of repetitions can lead to deteriorating form and unwanted stress on the back. 

In this article, I will delve into the benefits of 21’s and provide a tailored step-by-step guide for tall guys aiming to fill out their t-shirt sleeves.

Table of Contents

Understanding 21's

The 21’s technique is a time-tested method that divides the standard bicep curl into three segments, each targeting different portions of the bicep range of motion. By incorporating partial reps of 7-7-7, 21’s effectively engage the entire bicep muscle, promoting enhanced muscle growth and definition.

How To Do 21's For Tall Guys

21’s Advantages For Tall Guys

Tall guys can benefit significantly from integrating 21’s into their bicep training routine.

Varied range of motion

21’s provide a diverse range of motion, challenging the biceps throughout different phases of the exercise. This variation can be particularly advantageous for tall guys with longer limbs. Allowing you to hit areas of your biceps that might be passed over when doing DB curls 90% of the time.

Intense muscle engagement

By breaking down the curl into partial reps, 21’s ensure continuous tension on the biceps, leading to increased muscle activation and overall growth. This continuous tension makes you slow down the lift, allowing you to spend more mental energy in holding your posture in a elongated and proper form.

Time-efficient workout

21’s offer a time-efficient yet highly effective workout, allowing us tall guys to maximize their bicep gains without spending excessive time in the gym.

21’s Disadvantages For Tall Guys

Speed hurts

The amount of reps and time spent under tension is what makes 21’s so great. However that same combination lead lifters to start throwing the weight more and more as the reps add up. Doing this will quickly lead to deteriorating form that will focus a large amount of unwanted stress oil your back. Take it slow, be deliberate and work through the burn.

Tools You'll Need

  • Barbell
this is a photo of a barbell to do 21's

How To Do 21's For Tall Guys

1. 21's Set up

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, maintaining an upright posture.
  • Hold a barbell or dumbbells with an underhand grip, hands positioned slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.

Tall guy tip: If you have lower back pain or find it tough to fully engage your core throughout the full exercise. Before making your first curl, stagger your stance slightly. Move your front foot 2-3 inches forward so your right heel is in line with the base of the toes of your left foot.

Doing this will help you initiate the lower core engagement needs to take any unnecessary pressure off your back.

this is a photo of Tall Paul standing with feet shoulder width apart for 21's
Regular stance
this is a photo of tall Paul holding a barbell with an underhand grip fro 21's
this is tall Paul using a stagger stance for his 21's
Stagger stance

2. Initial lower range (reps 1-7)

Perform the first seven reps by curling the weight from the fully extended position to the halfway point, stopping when your forearms are parallel to the ground.

this is a photo of tall Paul going through the initial lower range first step of 21's
this is a photo of tall Paul going through the initial lower range second step of 21's

3. Upper range (reps 8-14)

For the next seven reps, curl the weight from the halfway point to a fully contracted position, stopping when your forearms are vertical.

this is a photo of tall Paul going through the upper range third step of 21's
this is a photo of tall Paul going through the upper range fourth step of 21's

4. Full range (reps 15-21)

Complete the exercise with the final seven reps, performing a full range of motion bicep curl from the fully extended position to the fully contracted position.

this is a photo of tall Paul going through the full range fifth step of 21's
this is a photo of tall Paul going through the full range sixth step of 21's

5. Controlled movements

Throughout each phase, maintain controlled and deliberate movements to ensure proper muscle engagement. 

Tall guy tip: Throughout the lift stand tall with your shoulders back and elbows tucked. Once you starting burning out (and you will!) try not to let your shoulders sag, which will lead to your back doing the same. Instead, hinge at the hips 15-20%, so your upper body stays in a safe and long position but now in a slight angle.

Doing this will take a bit of pain off your biceps while not putting unwanted stress on your back.

this is a photo of tall Paul with shoulders back and elbows tucked frontal for 21's
this is a photo of tall Paul with shoulders back and elbows tucked side for 21's

6. Rest between sets

Take a brief 30-60 seconds of rest between sets to allow your muscles to recover without losing the pump.

7. Repetitions and sets

  • Aim for 2-3 sets of 21 total repetitions, gradually increasing the weight as your strength improves.
  • I create tall guy workout plans, click through and message me your fitness goals and I can tell you the exact reps and set you will want to hit.