The Best Cable Bicep Curl Alternative Exercises: Muscle-Building Tips and Variations

The Best Cable Bicep Curl Alternative Exercises

When it comes to working your biceps, the cable bicep curl is one of the most popular exercises. However, there are a number of alternative exercises that can help you build muscle and achieve better results. In this article, we will describe the best cable curl alternatives and how to perform them correctly. We’ll also focus on the exercise variations and common mistakes people make when doing these exercises.

Bicep Anatomy

Before we get into the exercises, let’s take a quick look at the bicep anatomy. The biceps brachii is composed of two heads: the long head and the short head. The long head originates from the lower part of the shoulder blade, while the short head originates from above the shoulder joint. The biceps attaches to the forearm bones via the biceps tendon.

The main function of the biceps is to flex the elbow, which is why exercises like the curl are so effective at targeting this muscle group. However, the biceps also play a role in supinating (turning out) the forearm and stabilizing the shoulder joint.

Now that we’ve reviewed tricep anatomy, let’s get into the exercises.

The Benefits of the Cable Bicep Curl

The cable bicep curl is a great exercise for building muscle because it allows you to work each arm individually. This is important because it prevents the dominant side from taking over and doing most of the work.

Another benefit of the cable curl is that it provides constant tension on the biceps, which is essential for muscle growth. The reason constant tension is so important is that it prevents the biceps from fully recovering between sets, which forces them to adapt and grow.

Lastly, the cable curl is a great exercise for people who have shoulder pain because it doesn’t put any stress on the joint.

How to Perform the Cable Bicep Curl

Now that we’ve reviewed the benefits of the cable bicep curl, let’s take a look at how to do it. To perform the cable curl, start by attaching a single-grip handle to a low pulley. Next, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. From here, curl your hand toward your shoulder, keeping your elbow close to your side. Once your hand reaches your shoulder, slowly lower it back to the starting position.

Cues to keep in mind:

  • Keep your back straight and avoid swinging your body.

  • Don’t use momentum to curl the weight; focus on using your biceps to do the work.

  • Breathe out as you curl the weight and breathe in as you lower it back to the starting position.

Variations of the Cable Bicep Curl

There are many variations of the cable bicep curl that you can do.

Exercise #1: Straight-Bar Bicep Curl

The straight-bar bicep curl is a great exercise for building muscle because it allows you to load more weight.

To perform this exercise:

  • Start by grasping the straight-bar with your hands shoulder-width apart.

  • Next, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent.

  • From here, curl the bar toward your chest, keeping your elbows close to your sides.

  • Once the bar reaches your chest, slowly lower it back to the starting position.

Common Mistakes

One of the most common mistakes people make when doing the straight-bar curl is using too much weight. This can lead to swinging and using momentum, which takes the focus off of the biceps.

Exercise #2: Barbell Drag Curl

The barbell drag curl is a great exercise for targeting the biceps. This exercise also allows you to use more weight.

To perform this exercise:

  • Start by grasping the barbell with your hands shoulder-width apart.

  • Next, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent.

  • From here, curl the barbell toward your chest, keeping your elbows close to your sides.

  • As you curl the barbell, drag it along your body so that it ends up in front of your chest.

  • Once the barbell reaches your chest, slowly lower it back to the starting position.

Common Mistakes

One of the most common mistakes people make when doing this exercise is not dragging the barbell along their body. This takes away from the effectiveness of the exercise. Remember to drag the barbell along your body so that it ends up in front of your chest.

Exercise #3: Barbell Spider Curls

The barbell spider curl is that it allows you to keep your upper body stationary, which takes the focus off of your lower back and hip flexors.

To perform this exercise:

  • Start by lying chest down on an incline bench with a barbell in your hands.

  • Next, position your feet shoulder-width apart and keep your knees slightly bent.

  • From here, curl the barbell toward your chest, keeping your elbows close to your sides.

  • As you curl the barbell, bring it up so that it ends up in front of your chest.

  • Once the barbell reaches your chest, slowly lower it back to the starting position.

Common Mistakes

One of the most common mistakes people make when doing this exercise is not bringing the barbell up to their chest. This takes away from the effectiveness of the exercise. Remember to bring the barbell all the way up toward your chest so that it is in front of your body.

Exercise #4: Single-Arm Dumbbell Curls

The single-arm dumbbell curl is a great exercise for targeting the biceps. This exercise focuses on one arm at a time, which allows you to focus on the working muscle.

To perform this exercise:

  • Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and a dumbbell in your hand.

  • Next, position your feet shoulder-width apart and keep your knees slightly bent.

  • From here, curl the dumbbell toward your chest, keeping your elbow close to your side.

  • Once the dumbbell reaches your chest, slowly lower it back to the starting position.

Common Mistakes

One of the most common mistakes people make when doing this exercise is not keeping their elbow close to their side. This takes away from the effectiveness of the exercise. Remember to keep your elbow close to your side so that you target the biceps muscle.

Exercise #5: Incline Dumbbell Curl

The incline dumbbell curl is a great exercise for targeting the biceps. This exercise allows you to keep your upper body stationary, which takes the focus off of your lower back and hip flexors.

To perform this exercise:

  • Start by lying back on an incline bench with a dumbbell in each hand.

  • Next, position your feet shoulder-width apart and keep your knees slightly bent.

  • From here, curl the dumbbells toward your chest, keeping your elbows close to your sides.

  • Once the dumbbells reach your chest, slowly lower them back to the starting position.

Common Mistakes:

One of the most common mistakes people make when doing this exercise is not keeping their elbows close to their sides. This takes away from the effectiveness of the exercise. Remember to keep your elbows close to your sides so that you target the biceps muscle. Another common mistake is not using enough weight. This exercise should be challenging, so make sure to use a weight that is heavy enough.

Exercise #6: Dumbbell Hammer Curl

The dumbbell hammer curl is a great exercise for targeting the biceps. This exercise allows emphasizes the brachialis muscle, which is the muscle located on the outside of the biceps.

To perform this exercise:

  • Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and a dumbbell in each hand with thumbs pointed up.

  • Next, position your feet shoulder-width apart and keep your knees slightly bent.

  • From here, curl the dumbbells toward your chest, keeping your elbows close to your sides.

  • Once the dumbbells reach your chest, slowly lower them back to the starting position.

Common Mistakes

One of the most common mistakes people make when doing this exercise is not keeping their elbows close to their sides. This takes away from the effectiveness of the exercise. Remember to keep your elbows close to your side so that you target the biceps muscle. Another common mistake is not using enough weight. This exercise should be challenging, so make sure to use a weight that is heavy enough.

Exercise #7: Chin Ups

Chin-ups are a great exercise for targeting the biceps. This exercise also works the muscles of the back and shoulders.

To perform this exercise:

  • Start by grabbing a chin-up bar with your palms facing toward you.

  • Next, position your feet shoulder-width apart and keep your knees slightly bent.

  • From here, pull yourself up toward the bar until your chin is over the bar.

  • Once you reach the top, slowly lower yourself back to the starting position.

Common Mistakes:

One of the most common mistakes people make when doing this exercise is not using their back muscles. This takes away from the effectiveness of the exercise. Remember to use your back muscles to help pull yourself up. Another common mistake is not using enough weight. This exercise should be challenging, so make sure to use a weight that is heavy enough.

Summary

In conclusion, the cable bicep curl is a great exercise for targeting the biceps. However, many other great exercises can be done to target the biceps. These exercises include the incline dumbbell curl, the dumbbell hammer curl, and chin-ups. Remember to use proper form and technique when performing these exercises. Also, make sure to use a weight that is heavy enough to challenge you. If you do these things, you will see great results in your biceps development.

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