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How to Bicep Curl

What is a bicep curl?

What is a bicep curl

See all bicep curl variations

If you're reading this on a tablet or mobile your biceps are one of the muscles helping you hold your device. Located at the front of your upper arms, the bi-articular muscle helps control the motion of both the shoulder and elbow.  

Making up about one-third of your arms, the bicep is a highly visible muscle which means regularly performing bicep curls is a fantastically effective way to add definition and a toned look to your arms.

The biceps are one of your most-used muscles, essential to the forearm lifting motion. On a daily basis, hundreds of tasks involve bending your arm at the elbow and bicep curls will help make these actions easier to perform. An added bonus is a stronger grip, as holding the dumbbells used to perform the curls also trains your wrist and finger flexors. 

The following isolation exercises will target your biceps and put you on the road to having stronger, healthier, more defined upper arms.

Bicep curl tips

  • Choose a weight that challenges you but that allows you to perform the exercise correctly. If it's too heavy you may be putting strain on other muscles.
  • To get the most from your bicep curls, perform repetitions to exhaustion - where you physically can't complete another curl.
  • As you perform each curl, try and keep your shoulders and elbows as still as possible, to ensure it's your biceps doing the hard work.

Bicep curl variations

How to do Single arm curls with dumbbells

Level: Beginners

Equipment: Pair of dumbbells

  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart with a dumbbell in hand, palm facing forward and elbow close to your side.  
  2. Slowly curl the dumbbell upwards, bending from your elbow, until the dumbbell reaches your shoulder.  
  3. Slowly lower the dumbbell back to the start position. 
  4. Complete your set, then switch hands.

how to do Double arm curls with dumbbells

Level: Beginners

Equipment: Dumbbells, exercise bench

  1. With feet flat on the floor and back against the bench, hold a dumbbell in each hand with arms pointing towards the floor and palms facing your body.  
  2. Slowly curl the dumbbells upwards towards your shoulders, rotating your wrists so your palms face upward. 
  3. Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the start position and repeat. 


If you’re not sure if any of the above exercises are suitable for you, please consult your doctor before you start it. Need guidance on how to perform the exercise? Ask a personal trainer at your gym.