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Concentration Curls, How to Build Up Your Biceps

If you are in the world of fitness, you understand the importance of having impeccable upper arms. Many of us desire to have robust, vascular arms. There are a plethora of upper arm workouts, more than a hundred of them. Many are effective in their own ways. One of the most effective for building your biceps is concentration curls.

Here you will learn how to execute concentration curls for optimal growth of your biceps.

As the prefix “bi” suggests, biceps have two long and short heads. While biceps are the primary target, concentration curls also engage the brachialis and tricep muscles.

If you are looking for a workout that uniquely builds bigger biceps, read through to understand why concentration curls are the go-to for bodybuilders.

How to Do Concentration Curls

The conventional concentration curl is done while seated on a bench and using anywhere from a light to moderately heavy dumbbell.

That said, start by selecting a dumbbell and sitting on a bench. Spread your legs apart such that they form a V-shape, and keep your knees at right angles. Angle your upper body at 45-degrees.

Using one hand, grab a dumbbell with an underhand grip and anchor your elbow on the inner surface of your thighs on the corresponding side.

For your starting position, extend your elbow until it almost straightens below you.

From this posture, activate your biceps to pull the dumbbell toward your shoulder. Remember to isolate movement only to the elbow and forearm. Once at the peak of the lifting phase, pause for a second and gradually lower to the original position.

Repeat the same movement until you complete a full set and alternate arms.

Tips: The lowering phase is as pivotal as the lifting phase, so do not let the dumbbell drop too rapidly. Also, do not fully extend your arm. Instead, keep a slight bend at the elbow.

Aim for three sets of 8-12 reps.

Benefits of Concentration Curls

Great for muscle hypertrophy and strength

The basis of isolation workouts is optimal activation of muscles down to the last fiber without having to depend on other muscle groups.

As such, concentration curls can be used for the sole purpose of stimulating muscle growth as well as endurance.

Keep in mind that bulking is not just for show. Taken further, it will boost your overall strength and effect improved form and performance in other workouts, too, including pull ups.

Improved athletic form and ability

Several examples of sports require muscular biceps. For instance, swimming, tennis, hockey, and even weight lifting fundamentally hinge on top-notch physical ability, and working your biceps will take your performance to the next level.

Improves your physique

One general universal reason men or women work out is so they not only can look better but also to be healthier and gain confidence. Performing concentration curls can stimulate the growth of arms.

While it doesn’t take much to perform concentration curls, you must stick to proper form to build up your biceps.


If you’ve mastered the basic movement, here are other variations that will optimally work your biceps:

  • Preacher curl

Preacher curls are strikingly similar to conventional concentration curls except for one subtle difference. 

Unlike conventional concentration curls, a pad is used to anchor your elbow and alleviate pressure caused by it. Thus, you can execute the movement without having to worry about incurring discomfort.

  • Standing concentration curl

Start by standing with feet about shoulder-width apart for this workout and grab a dumbbell with an underhand grip.

After that, hinge your body to one side and place your elbow on your thigh just above the knee on the same side.

Follow by activating your bicep to lift the weight and stop when it almost touches your shoulder. Contract your biceps at the top and lower back to your starting position.

Perform a complete set before switching to the other arm.

  • Landmine concentration curl

Fix a barbell to a landmine attachment in front of you. Grab and straddle the barbell and incline your upper body to 45-degrees.

For support, place your elbow over the thigh on the same side.

Proceed by performing concentration curls using lifting and lowering motion. After a complete set, change to the opposite arm. 

  • Cable concentration curl

Our experience with the cable machine so far has been exceptional, and the same can be said for cable concentration curls.

One thing to love about them is that they offer resistance both during eccentric and concentric lifting, meaning your biceps are challenged even more.

So, if you master the basic concentration curl, you can add some spice to your upper arm workout using the pulley system.

In this variation, get prepped on a pulley system and adjust the cables to the lowest setting. Hold the handles with the palms facing up, and similarly rest your elbow on your thigh. Afterward, follow the same movement as conventional concentration curls.

  • Hammer concentration curl

Start by grabbing a dumbbell with a hammer grip (twist your forearm so that your palms face your body). Put your elbow on your thigh’s inner surface just above the knee on the same side.

From here, engage your bicep to pull the dumbbell up, pausing when it just about touches your shoulder. Gradually lower and repeat.

How to Avoid Injury

Don’t lean too far forward

Bodybuilders know how devastating back injuries can be. Notably, the lower back is the most prone to injury and requires extensive care to treat. Therefore, the best practice is to avoid injuries at all costs.

While bending forward during concentration curls is required, don’t take the lean below 45-degrees, or you will place your spine under unnecessary pressure.

Also, twisting and turning is not recommended because it increases the risk of injury.

Pace control is key

The fundamental rule for all sorts of weight training is always to take things slow. No matter what you see on the internet, social media, or watch on YouTube, always pace your workouts and stick to the correct form.

As a rule of thumb, moving weights at a slow pace puts you in higher control of both form and the range of motion.

Conservative weight selection

Cheating in the gym is widespread, more so during the end of sets when you have to activate muscles that are already tired.

Working with heavier weights may lead to faster gains. However, this will only apply if you can stick to the correct form.

Professional lifters recommend starting with light to moderately heavy dumbbells. As such, if you find it hard to maintain your form, there is no harm in using lighter weights.

Give yourself time to recover

The essence of recovery and taking some time off the gym cannot be overstated.

Basically, when you lift, muscles experience pressure that causes microscopic damage to the fibers. Growth happens when your body remodels and fixes these tiny areas of stress.

Significantly, more muscle grows when you are asleep. So, getting at least 6-8 hours of sleep is enough to facilitate the recovery of muscles and stimulate hypertrophy.

Related Workouts

  • Standing dumbbell drag curl

One way of eliminating momentum during the lifting and lowering phase is to perform the dumbbell drag curl.

Select a dumbbell and grab it with your palms facing up. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and your upper body straight and neutral. Engage your core and back muscles, and contract your biceps to lift the weight. Pause at the top of the movement before slowly lowering it to your starting position. However, always keep your elbows tucked by your sides.

  • Dumbbell Zottman curl

Please start by selecting a dumbbell and grabbing it with your palms facing forward. Assume a standing posture with feet placed about shoulder-width apart. While keeping your upper body straight, pull the dumbbell upward while twisting your hands such that palms face downward. Pause and lower the weight, and rotate your hands once again to return to your starting position.

  • Cable crossover

One way to get your muscles to grow faster is to hit as many compartments as possible. When using the cable crossover machine, you will reach your biceps and triceps, forearm, shoulders, and back.

Start by setting the pulley to the highest setting and grab the cable handle with both hands (your wrists should face the floor). Place your feet about shoulder-width apart. Brace your core and back, breath in, and pull the cable across your body toward the flow. Gradually lower the weight to the starting position and repeat.

  • Overhead press

The overhead press has been the go-to for many bodybuilders for a long time because it exceptionally stimulates upper arm growth. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Out and out, it affects bulking around your shoulders, upper back, as well as your chest.

Begin by loading a barbell and grab it with palms about shoulder-width apart. Lift it off the ground and stop when it is shoulder level.

From here, push the barbell overhead until the arms are almost straight. Pause for a second and gradually lower it, and repeat.

  • Resistance band bicep curls

Following the same routine repeatedly increases the risk of hitting a fitness plateau. Using resistance bands not only adds to your palette but also comes in handy in people who have joint complications and cannot lift heavy dumbbells.

Start by slipping both bands under each foot and holding them with palms facing up for this workout. Contract your biceps to pull them upwards. Pause at the top of the lifting phase and slowly release your arms back to your original position.


To see optimal progress and build your biceps, incorporate these workouts into your exercise program. Remember to warm up and rest properly – don’t work the same muscle for consecutive days. But instead, take a day’s rest between workout days.


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