Cable Curl Variations will Accelerate your Results

The Cable Curl

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Muscles Worked

Since the biceps have been unofficially marked as a marker for strength, there have been several exercises that include more than just maneuvering barbells and dumbbells. Although most of these types of "curling" exercises involve the same general movement, the differences between each technique are significant. For example, the inclined dumbbell curl works the short head of the biceps, using resistance bands adds a "stability" component, and using a barbell more effectivel isolates the long head of the biceps (learn more about the biceps muscle.

As mentioned, performing a cable curl is markedly different from other types of curls. One such difference is that the weight distribution throughout the movement is equal. What I mean is, you're lifting the same "weight" whether you're initiating or finishing the movement. In contrast, gravity plays more of a roll in dumbbell curls, while intrinsic tension of a resistance band will essentially "reverse" gravity as increased resistance becomes apparent at the top of the movement.

This difference goes somewhat unnoticed to the novice, but it's a concept that can accelerate your goals! I've advocated throughout this website that variety is key (Basic Weight Training). Each technique will add a bit of variety and complexity, so I would recommend implementing small daily changes throughout your workout regimen.

Position your body in front of a cable machine with a straight back and slightly bent knees. Grab the handle with an underhand grip and place it in front of your thighs. From this initial position, curl the arms towards your chest. Don't make contact with the chest once you reach the top level. Lower down the cable slowly so that you feel a little resistance from the cable. Don't touch your thighs after lowering down for another repetition and do not, under any circumstance, allow the weights to suddenly drop! Not only does this promote injury, but it eliminates the eccentric motion (the most important part of the exercise).


Step 1: Stand in front of a cable machine, grab the handle with an underhand grip and place them in front of you thighs.

Step 2: Curl the arms towards your chest. Exhale

Step 3: Allow the cables to descend slowly. Inhale. I would recommend a two-count on the way up and a three-count on the way down.

When curling the arms - exhale. When lowering the arms - inhale. Remember to keep your back straight and your knees slightly bent. If your are positioned incorrectly, you will struggle to maintain balance and ultimately cause an injury.

You can do the cable curls with a close hand grip or wide hand grip. You can also use separate handles for each hand. Again, this adds a bit of complexity to the exercise and should be mixed in periodically.

Remember, the only moving body part should be the elbow joint. If you're forced to bend the waist and "heave" up the weight, you need to decrease the weight. Correct technique creates maximal results!

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