Preacher Curls-Correct Form,Benefits and Muscles Used

Preacher Curls are a strength developing isolation type exercise that targets the biceps. It is regarded as one of the best exercises to develop the peak of the biceps muscles. It can be performed with a cable, with a barbell and with dumbbells. You will need a preacher curl bench to perform this exercise.

Correct Form Of Preacher Curls


Here are the steps to perform the preacher curls exercise correctly.

  • Grab a barbell and a preacher curls bench. Add appropriate weight on the barbell, and keep it in front of you or on the ground.
  • Adjust the height of the seat such that your arm-pits rest near the top of the pad.
  • Keeping the upper part of the arms flat on the pad, grab the barbell, or preferably, ask someone to hand you the rod.
  • Bring the rod up to your chest level. This is the starting position.
  • Slowly, breathe in and lower the barbell, till your arms are almost vertical and the biceps are fully stretched.
  • Exhale as you slowly curl the barbell back upto the starting position, using the full force of your biceps, till the barbell is at shoulder position.
  • Hold this position for a count of 2 and squeeze your biceps tightly.

 Precautions To Keep During Preacher Curls


Here are a few things to keep in mind while performing the preacher curls.

  • Never lift a very heavy weight. You might end up damaging your elbow and biceps muscles rather than making them strong.
  • Never lock out your elbow at the bottom. This creates a large stress on your biceps. Always keep a slight bend at the bottom part of the movement.
  • Although the above form was with a straight bar, try to avoid a straight bar as much as possible, and choose an EZ bar or dumbbells in its place (described below).
  • Always keep a spotter handy to hand you the barbell and to help i getting in an extra rep or two.

Alternate Exercise: Biceps Curls, Dumbbell Curls, Concentration Curls, Wrist Curls, Hammer Curls

Variations In Preacher Curls Exercise


Here is an image of Arnold performing the preacher curls. Just having a look at his pumped up biceps will give you a measure if the full potential of this exercise. Here are a few variations to the normal preacher curls. Individual images are from bodybuilding (dot) com.

1. With an EZ bar


This variation uses an EZ bar for performing the preacher curls, rather than a straight bar.

  • The primary reason is that with the EZ bar, the palms are slightly inclined towards each other, and hence the wrists don’t come under a great stress as they do in a flat barbell.
  • With a barbell, an EZ bar is always preferred. You can also use an inclined rod while performing this exercise on a cable machine.

2. On a Cable Machine


In this variation of the preacher curls, we use a cable to provide resistance instead of actual    weight plates. You can use a straight bar or a slightly angled bar.

  • Place the preacher curl bench around 2 feet from the pulley machine and take your position.
  • Let someone hand you the bar from the low pulley. Perform in the normal preacher curls form.
  • However, here the bottom of the motion will be your starting position, i.e, when the arms are fully extended.

3. With Dumbbells


Here, we use dumbbells instead of a barbell to perform the preacher curls. You can either perform the exercise with one arm at a time or with both arms together.

  • Grab a dumbbell each in both arms, or in one arm, if you want to perform one arm at a time.
  • Keep the back of the upper arm firmly on the pad, and inhale as you slowly lower the weight to a point where your arm is fully stretched.
  • Exhale as you slowly bring the dumbbell back to starting position. After completing one set with one arm, repeat for the other arm.

4. On a Swiss ball


Here, you lie down on a Swiss ball as shown, and place your upper arms in such a way that your forearms are left hanging in mid-air.

  • Bring the dumbbells down together or one arm at a time, and complete the exercise as mentioned earlier.
  • Choose light weights, as you don’t want yourself rolling over the ball.

5. Standing Preacher Curls


In this, you are actually standing rather than seated on the bench. The back of the upper arms is not placed on the bench, rather its the elbow. You can perfrom this on an incline bench also.

Video: Preacher Curls

Muscles Used In Preacher Curls


The following muscles are mainly used in the preacher curls exercises.

  • Biceps Brachii
  • Brachialis
  • Brachioradialis
  • Wrist Flexors

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