Cable Curls for Bicep Workout

Bicep cable curls have the same principle of dumbbell curls, with the difference that the resistance comes from the cable. Cables have the advantage of providing constant tension during the movement.

The only bicep cable exercise that doesn't have an equivalent with dumbbells is the overhead curls.

There are more exercises that you do at the cables, but these are the ones that gave me best results.

Overhead Cable Curls

Overhead curls is an isolation exercise that works like a concentration bicep workout. No secondary muscles are involved exception made by forearms as usual for bicep exercises.

Details

PRIMARY MUSCLE: Biceps

SECONDARY MUSCLES: Forearms

EQUIPMENT: Cable machine with high pulley, 2 single grip handles

TYPE: Isolation

This type of curls works the whole bicep and it is especially recommended to build a nice peak of the muscle as it will grow in height.

Overhead Cable Curls

Execution

INITIAL POSITION: Stand between two pulley machines and grasp the handles with underhand grip (palms face up) and fully extend your arms. Depending on the height of the pulleys your arm can be horizontal or slightly raised.

MOVEMENT: Curl and bring your hands towards your shoulder till you reach the maximum contraction of the biceps. Then slowly return to the initial position.

BREATHING: Exhale during the contraction and inhale when you extend your arms.

TIPS and ERRORS: The execution of this exercise doesn't allow the use of heavy weights due to the mechanics of the movement. I suggest to do this exercise at the end of your session as a complementary bicep workout to emphasize the peak shape of the muscle. Keep you core tight, don't help the curls with weird movements of your body.

Standing Cable Curls

Standing curls at the cable will remind you of the standing barbell curls, where you can find more info. Since they are basically the same exercise I will limit the explanation here to avoid being redundant.

Details

PRIMARY MUSCLE: Biceps

SECONDARY MUSCLES: Forearms, Shoulders

EQUIPMENT: Cable machine with low pulley, 1 bar handle

TYPE: Isolation

Standing Cable Curls
Standing Cable Curls

Execution

INITIAL POSITION: Stand in front of a pulley machine and grasp the flat bar handle with underhand grip (palms face up) and fully extend your arms. Slightly bend your knees so you don't stress your back and gain more stability at the same time.

MOVEMENT: Curl and bring your hands towards your shoulders till you reach the maximum contraction of the biceps. Then slowly return to the initial position.

BREATHING: Exhale during the contraction and inhale when you extend your arms.

TIPS and ERRORS: Don't bend your body to help perform the movement and keep your elbows in the same position.

Variations

If you use the cord and grasp it with hammer grip you can do cable hammer curls.

See Hammer Curls for Bicep Workout for more details.

Single Arm Cable Curls

Single arms curls with cables reminds of seated/standing dumbbell curls and the purpose of the exercise is the same, you can just notice that the forces applied are a little bit different.

Details

PRIMARY MUSCLE: Biceps

SECONDARY MUSCLES: Forearms, Shoulders

EQUIPMENT: Cable machine with low pulley, 1 handle

TYPE: Isolation

Single Arm Cable Curls
Single Arm Cable Curls

Execution

INITIAL POSITION: Stand in front of a pulley machine and grasp the single handle with underhand grip (palms face up) and fully extend your arm. Slightly bend your knees so you don't stress your back and gain more stability at the same time.

MOVEMENT: Curl and bring your hand towards your shoulder till you reach the maximum contraction of the muscle. Then slowly return to the initial position. Repeat with the other arm.

BREATHING: Exhale during the contraction and inhale when you extend your arm.

TIPS and ERRORS: Don't bend your body to help perform the movement and keep your elbows in the same position.

 

Return from Cable Curls for Bicep Workout to Bicep Exercises

  Return to Home Page

1 Response

  1. I appreciate your explanations of various exercises, this one in particular. over head cable curls I now understand exactly how to do the exercise. I also learned that it is the only bicep exercise which you cannot do with dumbbells. that is good to know, since I had been planning on doing this with dbs. now I will use the cables. however, I must say that when you say that this is a good exercise to do towards the end / at the end / of your bicep training that I disagree. the reason why I disagree is that I understand what warming up is and how necessary it is to do. and I also know that it is important to activate all of your muscle fibers within the bicep muscles before starting working sets. and that there are two important parts to this. contraction as well as flexing. so you should contract as much as possible and you must flex as much as possible. for flexing, using full range of motion, the preacher curl is the best choice. and for contraction the overhead cable curl is the best choice and it is also smart to hold the contraction for a five count. so the warm up is done more completely and done smartest. so this is what I had to say. Thank you for the info you supplied to all of us build muscle 101 readers and also my (informed over the years knowledge...) opinion on when / why to do the exercise as the warm up section Sincerely, David Watts