Incline Dumbbell Biceps Curl Exercise Guide
The incline dumbbell biceps curl is a rather unpopular exercise for the biceps as you can’t use large weights to command respect among your fellow gym-goers. However, you should remember that you perform bodybuilding exercises for yourself and sometimes reduced weight combined with a complete isolation of the muscle helps to achieve much better results than struggling with huge dumbbells or barbells.
During the incline dumbbell curl you can work both arms simultaneously (double incline dumbbell curls) or alternate arms (alternating incline dumbbell curls) depending on your preference.
Incline Dumbbell Biceps Curl Exercise Instructions
STARTING POSITION (SETUP): Holding a light dumbbell in each hand, sit on an incline bench (put its backrest at an angle slightly greater than 40 degrees), keeping your head and upper body in full contact with the bench. Let your arms hang down, fully extended and perpendicular to the floor. Begin with your palms facing in.
MOVEMENT (ACTION): Curl one dumbbell up, turning your palm up and out as you do so and keeping your elbows stationary. At the top of the repetition, your palm should be facing slightly outward. Try to achieve a short peak concentration of the biceps at the end of the concentric phase – when the dumbbell is just short of touching your shoulder. Always curl the dumbbell as high as you can without moving your upper arm or changing your posture. Lower the dumbbell very slowly to the starting position, stopping just short of the elbow fully extending. Repeat with the other arm, alternating back and forth.
EXERCISE TIP! It’s not necessary to begin the exercise with your palms facing in (thumbs pointing forward) and then rotating your hand (while curling) so the palm faces upward at the top. You can begin and finish the incline dumbbell biceps curl with your palms facing forward. There is no need to supinate the hand (palm uppermost) as the dumbbell is raised. See the image below.
Dumbbell Incline Curl Tips & Tricks
- Set an incline bench at 45-degree angle, or even slightly higher if 45 degrees irritates your shoulders. The lower you go, the harder it is on your shoulders.
- If you do one arm at a time, lean over to the other side to get a better stretch, e.g. if you are curling with your right arm, lean over to the left. The lower the angle of the bench, the greater the recruitment of the long head of the biceps.
- If you put on too much weight, you won’t be able to do the exercise properly. It’s better to take smaller dumbbells and feel the biceps working, while trying to perform the movement with surgical precision and very slowly.
- Try to keep your elbows stationary for at least the first 90 degrees of the movement to limit shoulder recruitment. After 90 degrees, if the dumbbells are heavy, your elbows will tend to move forward.
- Body position is very important on this exercise. Arch your back and puff your chest out, with your head back. Pinch your shoulder blades together to force your arms back behind you as much as possible.
You can use any of these options:
- Rotate your wrists on every repetition or keep your hand supinated (already explained above);
- Do this exercise with a hammer grip;
- Work only one arm at a time (unilateral work);
- Raise both dumbbells simultaneously or alternate arms;
This biceps exercise works the long head in particular (i.e., the part that produces the biceps “peak”), especially
if you use a hammer or semi-neutral grip (palms facing). Even so, both the long and short head contribute significantly to the movement. This should not be a heavy exercise.
- Dumbbell Supinating Biceps Curls
- Straight Bar Standing Bicep Curl
- Standing Hammer Dumbbell Curl
- Dumbbell Concentration Curl
- EZ-Bar Preacher Curl
- Standing Cable Curls
- Machine Biceps Curl
- Cable Preacher Curl
- Standing EZ-Bar Curl
- Cable Rope Hammer Curls
- Standing One-Arm Cable Curl
You perform this version of the biceps curl seated on an incline bench; which allows you a greater range of movement and more muscle isolation than the basic exercise and injects welcome variety into your arm workout.
Lying on an incline bench and letting your arms hang straight down angles them slightly behind your body instead of flush with your torso. This changes the effect of the move by redirecting the effort of the exercise to different muscle fibers within your biceps. Effort is focused on the lower portion of the biceps, near the elbow.
Furthermore, performing alternating incline dumbbell biceps curls on an incline bench provides good back support. Keeping your head in constant contact with the bench will help prevent neck strain.
Finally, proceed carefully by introducing this exercise for the first time at the end of the biceps workout (when the biceps are warm and already tired). You shouldn’t use the incline biceps curl at the beginning of a biceps workout until after you have become very familiar with the exercise.