Biceps curl

The biceps curl is any of a number of weight training exercises that target the biceps brachii muscle in order to develop one or more of the following attributes:

Biceps curls can be done using any of the following equipment:


Although the exercises differ, a common factor of each is a 'curling' motion, where a weight—attached to an item of equipment listed above—is moved through an arc, primarily using the strength of the biceps. The biceps is contracted to lift the weight upward through the arc, to a point where further movement is not possible. It is important that the elbow remain next to the body during this motion as to keep stress on the biceps. The biceps is then extended, lowering the weight back through the arc, to the start position. This contraction and extension together constitute a single repetition. As with most weight training exercises, results from biceps exercises can be maximized with a proper understanding of flexion.


Several variations on the biceps curl transfer some of the load from the biceps to other flexors of the elbow. One group of variations involves postures that hold the elbows in front of the trunk, shortening the biceps and forcing the brachialis to do more work. Variations on this theme include the preacher curl where the elbows rest upon a sloped bench, the concentration curl where the elbow is braced against the inside of the knee, and the prone incline curl performed lying prone on an inclined bench, where the force of gravity holds the upper arms in front of the trunk.

The biceps curl is usually performed with the palms supinated (facing upwards). Turning the palms inward transfers load from the biceps to the brachioradialis. Variations on this concept include the hammer curl, performed with the palm inward, neither pronated nor supinated, and the reverse curl, with the palms pronated (facing downwards). Another variation, the Morelli Curl uses a traditional over-under or powerlifting grip with one palm supinated and the other pronated. The concentric component of the lift is emphasized in the pronated arm, while the eccentric component emphasizes the supinated arm. Yet another variation, the Bench Press Curl, is unique in that it requires two people to function properly in. One, lying on the bench (similar to bench press) lowers the weight eccentricly to 1/2 the ROM as seen in bench press, and the other trainee, standing over the bar, actively curls the bar upwards (essentially a barbell curl) as the other actively presses up. With an adjustable bench press positioned at a 45 degree angle, one could perform incline bicep curls. Incline bicep curls are usually performed with dumbbells in each hand, and by sitting on the incline bench, holding the dumbbells close to the body with elbows tucked in, and performing a full curl. Decline bicep curls are possible as well, and are usually performed with a preacher bench along with dumbbells, a straight bar, or a curved bar ("EZ bar"). With the elbows flat against the bench, and the chest pressed close to the preacher bench, one performs a traditional curl motion with the weights, focusing on stressing the biceps. The incline and decline biceps exercises effectiveness lie in gravity. Additional gravitational push is applied to the weight when performing the exercises at diagonal angles, increasing the stress on the biceps and therefore increasing the results from the exercises when performed correctly.

Another bicep curl variation is the correct curl where the palms are positioned on the barbell at the width they would land into once they are fully supinated. This variation heavily targets biceps with less involvement from your brachialis and brachioradialis muscles.

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