I'm sure everyone has already seen the pictures of Paul Ryan at the weight bench.
But this isn't really about Paul Ryan. It's about biceps curls, probably the most useless weight exercise going for a regular person who wants to build muscle and stay in shape. I call them "the Doritos of fitness".
For some reason, someone curling a dumbbell has become shorthand for "weightlifting", and thus for "fitness". I guess it's partly the different angles you can photograph someone from. Squats can be kind of gross from the wrong angle, and someone doing bench presses is lying down. Plus, since those are real exercises, the subject's face gets all red and distended. And you can't keep doing them for long.
Still, it's time to get things like biceps curls and dumbbell side lifts out of the picture. They work tiny little muscles and really don't do much, which is why people like doing them: they don't make you hurt while you're doing them and they don't leave you exhausted afterward. Work movements, not muscles, and work as much of your body as you can. Do some pull-ups while you're at it. I think those would make a good replacement for the hackneyed biceps curl.
I'm sure Paul Ryan doesn't spend much time on biceps curls in his routine. I mean, that would be doing something with no real effect just for show, kind of like talking about cutting foreign aid or the public television budget as a way to try to balance the budget....