One of the most common biceps exercise is the bicep curl. We all know how boring this exercise can be. So we’ve reached out to give you the many variations of the bicep curl. Now that there’s no excuse for any biceps-training regimen to be limited to the same old barbell and dumbbell variations.
There are countless ways to workout your biceps, but if you stick to the same old exercises two things are bound to happen: Your results will plateau due to lack of imagination, and you’ll be bored out of your mind.
Your pipes should never be set on autopilot, and your biceps exercise should never be boring. It’s time to make your biceps workouts fun and productive again, starting with these six versions of the classic bicep curl.
Behind The Back Cable Curl:
Sets x Reps: 3 x 12–15.
Because the arm is behind the body, this curl variation stretches the long head of the biceps [the head most responsible for giving the biceps its ‘peak’]. A bigger stretch means a stronger contraction.
- Attach two handles to the lowest pulley setting on a cable column.
- Facing away from the weight stack, grab the handles and step away from the stack a few feet.
- Start with your arms fully extended and back behind you.
- Keeping your upper arms stationary, curl the handles forward and up.
Related article: The Best Bulging Bigger Biceps Workout To Grow Your Arms
Dumbbell Drag Curl:
Sets x Reps: 2–3 x 12 reps.
The angle of the arms, which would be difficult to maintain without the use of an incline bench, forces the short head of the biceps to work super hard. Development of the short head gives tremendous width to the biceps.
- Lie facedown on an incline bench set to 45 degrees, holding a pair of dumbbells.
- Start with your arms hanging straight down toward the floor, palms facing forward (supinated).
- Keeping your upper arms perpendicular with the floor, curl the dumbbells up and squeeze the contraction in your biceps at the top.
- Slowly lower back down to full elbow extension.
- This exercise can also be performed one arm at a time, alternating sides every other rep.
Related article: Get Ready To Bulk Up Your Biceps With Our 100 Bicep Curl Challenge
Barbell Drag Curl:
Sets x Reps: 3 x 8–10 reps.
This old-school burner torches the long head of the biceps muscle. The reduced, focused range of motion better targets the biceps, since you’re squeezing harder.
- Hold a barbell with a standard shoulder-width grip.
- Bend your arms and push your elbows back behind you to pull the bar straight up your body (unlike with a typical curl, in which the weight moves in an arc).
- Pull it as high up as possible, somewhere around your upper abs or lower chest, and squeeze your biceps for a count at the top.
Related article: Here’s The Best Route To Bigger Biceps With This Superset Workout
Lying Cable Curl:
Sets x Reps: 3 x 15 reps.
Placing constant tension in the concentric and eccentric phases of the lift, the lying cable curl allows for maximum stability of the torso. This lets you fully concentrate on isolating the biceps.
- Clip a straight- or EZ-bar attachment to a pulley set low.
- Grab the ends of the bar with a palms-up grip, then lie all the way back on the floor, faceup.
- Fully extend your arms straight down your body (parallel with the floor), then curl the bar up as high as possible, keeping your elbows in tight throughout.
- Hold the contraction for a count at the top, then slowly lower back down until arms are fully extended.
High Cable Curl:
Sets x Reps: 2–3 x 15–20 reps.
High-cable curls pack a wallop due to the external rotation of the shoulder. In this position, the short head is forced to perform the bulk of the lift. The constant tension that the cable provides would be difficult to achieve using a dumbbell.
- Attach handles to the high pulleys on either side of a cable-crossover station.
- Grab the handles and stand between the pulleys with your arms extended and up.
- Keeping your upper arms stationary, curl the handles in to your ears.
- Squeeze hard, then slowly return to the arms-extended position.
- You can do these one arm at a time.
Cable Preacher Hammer Curl:
Sets x Reps: 3 sets x 12 reps.
The hammer [neutral] hand position targets the brachialis muscle, which, when fully developed, greatly enhances the biceps peak. The preacher bench stabilizes the arms to promote full isolation, and the cable provides constant tension throughout the lift.
- Position a preacher curl bench a couple of feet in front of a cable station.
- Hook a rope attachment to the low pulley, grab the ends of the rope with palms facing each other, and sit on the bench.
- Start with the backs of your arms flush against the pad and your arms extended.
- Curl the weight up as high as possible.