"Curls for the girls”—biceps curls, not hair curls—is a weight training saying that has been printed on many T-shirts and posters. The saying means that male bodybuilders doing those curls bring muscles that women like to see.
“It (weightlifting—ed.) gets me in shape for the summer and I do curls for the girls” was cited in print in 1981.
Other weightlifting sayings include “benches for the wenches,” “bis for the guys,” “calves for the chavs,” “cuts for the sluts,” “flies for the guys,” “glutes for the sloots” “lats for the brats,” “no pecs, no sex,” “planks for the skanks,” “quads for the broads,” “rows for the hoes,” “squats for the hots,” “squats for the thots,” “squats for the twats” “traps for the chaps” and “tris for the guys.”
Wikipedia: Biceps curl
The term “biceps curl” may refer to any of a number of weight training exercises that target the biceps brachii muscle.
5 May 1981, The Star-Democrat (Easton, MD), “Weightlifting...,” pg. 2B, col. 4:
Mike Meehan, a 22-year-old lifter from Easton puts it this way: “It’s a ton of fun...it gets me in shape for the summer and I do curls for the girls.”
Google News Archive
8 June 1986, Wilmington (NC) Morning Star, “Weights,” pg. 6B, col. 4:
And Spencer, who puts lots of cleans and deadlifts into his workouts, added that this isn’t for show.
“We don’t stress doing curls for the girls,” he said, grinning. “You’re using what you’re lifting to improve athletically.”
Google Groups: soc.men
Exploitation of men, again
AARONSON PHILIP G
Beginning lifters male especially seem to concentrate on bench and curls (benches for the wenches, curls for the girls ... gee why do they do that?)
Google Groups: misc.fitness.weights
> Basically, strengt trainng used to be dominated by folks who thought
> that clean, squat, press were all that mattered. Guys who worked biceps
> were said to be doing ‘curls for the girls’. Not that having big arms
> really mattered as far as clean poundages, but they looked good on the beach.
Starting and Progressing in Powerlifting:
A Comprehensive Guide to the World’s Strongest Sport
By Gary F. Zeolla
That will suffice for some, but most will want to add a few “curls for the girls.”
The Tale of Two Champions
By Gregory J. Page
We loved to work out, and do “curls for the girls”. We would always talk about how big our biceps had become.
Friends Fishing and Feuding on The Madison River
By Eric Bynes
New York, NY: Book Country
Like most kids those days, significant energy was instead devoted to bench pressing and bicep curls (“Curls for the girls” was the rally cry for many an iron-pumping male teen in the 90s).
The Essentials of Teaching Physical Education:
Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
By Stephen A. Mitchell and Jennifer L. Walton-Fisette
Reston, VA: SHAPE America—Society of Health and Physical Educators
When focusing on the health-related components of muscular strength and endurance, you or your students might hear various terms used in relation to strength training such as mirror muscles, guns, curls for the girls, jacked, ripped, and so on. (...) Guns is a slang name used for the biceps when they are flexed, and curls for the girls is a saying also associated with the biceps.
New York City • Exercise/Running/Health Clubs • Wednesday, July 13, 2016 • Permalink