Bicep Curl

  • Alternative Names: Dumbbell bicep curl, db bicep curl, supinated bicep curl
  • Type: Strength
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Equipment: Dumbbell
  • Muscles Targeted: Biceps
  • Mechanics: Isolation
  • Average Number of Sets: 4-5 with 8-12 reps each
  • Variations: Cable, machine, barbell, reverse, seated, incline, TRX, concentrated, EZ, alternating, resistance band bicep curls
  • Alternative: Barbell curl, high cable curls

The bicep curls are one of the most common exercises performed in the gym for developing the biceps and arms. It is an easy exercise that can be performed by the beginners and experienced trainees alike. Aside from training your biceps and arms, a set of bicep curls with lighter dumbbells can be utilized as warm-up stretches.

Bicep Curls Vs. Hammer Curls

The Proper Form

Bicep curls are performed by holding a pair of dumbbells with a supinated grip so that the palms are facing forward. The hammer curls, however, involve holding the dumbbells with a neutral grip so that the palms are facing your torso.

Muscles Used

The bicep curls primarily recruit the biceps brachii while the brachialis and brachioradialis serve as the secondary muscles helping in the movement. On the other hand, the hammer curls work your brachioradialis more than the bicep curl so that your brachialis and biceps brachii serve as the assisting muscles.


  • Performing the exercise with moderate intensity for 5 minutes helps burn about 18-20 calories while doing it more intensely assists in burning about 36-40 calories.
  • Curling your biceps strengthens your arms and makes daily tasks like lifting a suitcase, picking up a child, or pulling a lawnmower much easier.

How to do Bicep Curls

Stand upright and hold a pair of dumbbells (weighing about 20-40 lbs) at arm’s length in front of your thighs. Keeping the elbows near your body, rotate the palms to assume a supinated grip. Contract your biceps and curl the dumbbells, while keeping your upper arms stationary. Continue moving the weights up until you reach the point of full contraction, and the dumbbells are at your shoulder level. Pause for 1-2 seconds and then gradually lower the weights back to the initial position.

Bicep Curls

Dumbbell Bicep Curl Tips

  • Make sure that you squeeze the biceps hard at the top, as it will promote muscle development.
  • If you are a beginner, pick lighter weights so that you can comfortably lift for 12 repetitions.

Variations: Different Types of Bicep Curls

  1. Cable Bicep Curl: Performed by holding the cable bar attached to a low pulley, while keeping your elbows close to the body.
  2. Bicep Curl with Machine: Involves pulling the handles of the bicep curl machine towards your upper arms.
  3. Barbell Bicep Curl: Is similar to the dumbbell bicep curl except that you perform the exercise with a barbell.
  4. Reverse Bicep Curl: Performed by grabbing the dumbbells with an overhand grip.
  5. Seated Bicep Curl: Involves curling your biceps in a seated position, while holding a pair of dumbbells with a supinated grip.
  6. Incline Bicep Curl: Similar to the seated bicep curl, but you do it by lying back on the incline bench.
  7. EZ Bar Bicep Curl: Performed by standing with a shoulder-width stance and holding an EZ bar with an underhand grip.
  8. Alternating Bicep Curls: Involves the same movement as the basic version, but you lift one arm alternatively.
  9. Resistance Band Bicep Curls: Is performed by standing with your feet on the resistance band and holding the handles to your sides with the palms facing forward.
  10. TRX Bicep Curl: Involves grabbing the TRX suspension handles, leaning back with the feet placed together, and then bringing the body back to the initial position.
  11. Concentrated Bicep Curl: Is performed by sitting on the edge of a flat bench and holding one dumbbell with an underhand grip in front of you so that it is between the legs.

Alternative Exercises

  • Barbell Curl
  • High Cable Curls

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