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Fitness Move of the Week: Bicep Curl Variations

by | Jul 31, 2015 | Last updated Feb 15, 2022

When people ask you to flex, they’re probably looking to see your biceps. They’re easy to flex and simple to size up. But basic bicep curls aren’t the only exercise that will get you the biceps you want. This week’s fitness move is all about bicep curl variations to get you the strongest (and best-looking) biceps you can have.
The Basic Bicep Curl
The basic curl is simple:
– Arms shoulder-width apart, elbows by the sides of your torso
– With a dumbbell in each hand, you can either alternate sides or do both together
– Keep your elbows by your sides (about an inch from your ribs) and your body still as you curl the weight up
– Let it back down in the same fashion, dropping it until your arm is straight to come back up again
Alternative: This can also be performed with a barbell.
Preacher Curl
The preacher curl often allows you to curl more weight because the seated position limits your range of motion (ROM). Muscle & Fitness recommends you perform them first in your workout, then move on to full ROM standing curls.
– Pick your weight of the E-Z bar and place it on the curl bench (which looks like this)
– Grab the bar and sit down; place your hands at the inner curves and put your elbows down a little closer than shoulder-width apart and press your chest against the bench
– Start the movement from the top, your hands near your shoulders, then slowly lower the bar down
– Breathe in as you lower the bar, until your arms are fully extended, and breathe out as you bring the bar back up
– When you’ve reaching your starting position, pause for a moment and squeeze the biceps for a moment. Perform reps as desired.
Seated Incline Dumbbell Curls
Seated incline curls force your arms behind your torso, enabling you to work the long head of the bicep, which is part that pops up when you flex, and give your bicep that full look.
– Set the bench to around a 45° angle and sit down
– You should have a barbell in each hand and your arms should be fully extended, close to your torso
– As you bring the weights up, only your forearms should move. Hold the contracted position for a moment.
– Breathe out as you lower them back down. Repeat as desired.