What Is the Biceps Cable Curl Exercise? Tips, Technique, Correct Form, Benefits and Common Mistakes

Biceps cable curl is a productive biceps strengthening exercise. (Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko via pexels)
Biceps cable curl is a productive biceps strengthening exercise. (Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko via pexels)

The biceps cable curl, also known as the cable biceps curl or cable curl, is one of the best isolation exercises you can do for the biceps muscles in your upper arm. It is a beginner-level cable machine exercise that largely targets the biceps brachii, i.e., the two-headed muscle located on the front side of your arm and the brachialis, which is located beneath your biceps muscles.

This exercise also engages the deltoids in your shoulders and forearm muscles. Moreover, your core gets engaged while performing the biceps cable curl, as it requires you to tighten your upper body throughout the movement. You can incorporate this exercise into your upper body strength-building workout routine.

How to do Biceps Cable Curl?

Step-by-step instructions

  • To start the exercise, adjust the cable machine, and make sure the cable is attached to the bottom with the sliding adjustment.
  • While extending your arms, hold the bar with an underhand grip, and step back 1-2 feet away from the pulley.
  • Stand upright with your knees bent slightly and your feet flat on the floor.
  • Engage your core muscles, straighten your spine, and keep your head stable while keeping your gaze forward.
  • Slowly curl the cable upward towards your chest, and breathe easily.
  • Make sure only to move your forearms, and raise them from your elbows.
  • Pause at the top of the contraction movement, and lower your forearms to the start.
  • Repeat.

Tips for Beginners

Consider the following tips when performing this exercise.

  • If you are a beginner, start with three sets of eight to ten reps.
  • Always choose a weight that makes you feel comfortable but is challenging enough.
  • Once you’ve mastered the standard cable curl exercise, consider trying a few variations, such as:

Seated Cable Curl

If you have stability and balance issues, you may want to try the seated cable curl. To do this exercise, sit while keeping your feet firmly on the floor and your back straight. Use your arms to lift the cable, and do not move your lower body.


Standing One-arm Cable Curl

This variation of the biceps curl engages the biceps separately while targeting both sides equally.


Additionally, you may also change the angle of the machine by adjusting the height settings on the cable by stepping further or closer.

Benefits of Biceps Cable Curl Exercise

Cable curls are one of the most result-worthy exercises you can do to strengthen your biceps muscles. This exercise helps increase the size and strength of your biceps brachii, which makes everyday life a lot easier by helping you carry heavy objects easily. However, beyond functional benefits, this exercise can also help make your biceps look more muscular and bulging.

Toned and sculpted biceps also provide an aesthetic look to the upper arm and improve its overall appearance by slowing down the ageing process and promoting skin metabolism. Additionally, this exercise can also strengthen your shoulders by making them more flexible and stable.

Common Mistakes to Look Out for When Doing Biceps Cable Curl

Make sure to avoid these mistakes to get the most out of the biceps cable curl exercise and avoid any strain or injury.

Moving too quickly

When doing this exercise, perform each move at a controlled pace, and do not rush. When your biceps are at their maximum contraction, make sure to hold the position for a few breaths.

Flaring your elbows

If your elbows are flaring out to your sides, it's because you are using the wrong weight. To avoid that, reduce the weight till you can do the curl movement properly.

Moving your upper body

Always remember to only move your elbows during the exercise. Ensure that your upper body is stable.

Wrong forearm movement

The major requirement of this exercise is to move your upper arm and forearm together. So, make sure you complete the range of motion by fully closing and opening your elbows and targeting the right muscles.

Bottom Line

Avoid doing the biceps cable curl if you have pain or injury to your wrist or elbow. Make sure you exercise till you feel fatigued but not to the point where your muscles start to hurt. If you feel discomfort or pain, stop the exercise immediately.

Also, remember to warm up before beginning any strengthening exercises to activate your muscles. Choose a weight that you can easily lift with good form, and give yourself enough time for adequate recovery between exercises.

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Edited by Bhargav