Standing Cable Curls - Biceps Exercise Guide with Photos
Muscles Targeted: Standing cable curls target the biceps
which are the primary muscle group engaged along with the forearms
which are the secondary muscle group involved with this movement.
For this exercise, the equipment required is a cable station which
is a resistance machine that has an adjustable cable that you can
attach different bars and other attachments to including a V-bar,
rope, straight bar and other apparatus. For this exercise you will
be using a straight bar attached to the cable machine. The biceps
muscle is made up of several parts: biceps brachii, brachialis and
brachioradialis. This exercise lets you achieve a peak contraction
of the biceps at the top of the movement and provides a much more
safe and stable motion for people who want to avoid using free weights
like barbells and dumbbells. Stabilizer muscles include the anterior
deltoids (front of shoulders) and the trapezius. The wrists are
also engaged very well with this exercise along with the benefit
of increasing overall grip strength.
Exercise Instructions: Stand facing a
cable machine and adjust the cable to the lowest setting a
few inches from the floor. Choose a straight bar attachment
and hook it to the cable. Grab the straight bar with an underhand
grip using both hands (palms facing upward) and while standing
erect with a straight back, slowly curl the bar up to the
top position which will be a few inches from your chest. Keep
your elbows locked firmly in place and close to your sides
throughout the movement. Slowly return the bar back down to
the starting position and repeat.
Why This Exercise is Important: A lot of gym-goers place
all of their faith in free weights as their main source of resistance
training equipment (barbells and dumbbells). While it's important
to use them as part of your workout program, cable exercises are
not to be ignored as they offer many advantages. They allow you
to attain a full range of motion from top to bottom with constant
tension directly placed on the muscles. Cable exercises also allow
for a more stable, fluid and controlled movement which is great
for some people who are scared to use free weights due to possible
injuries from handling or dropping the weights. This exercise forces
you to engage additional muscles for balance and stability since
you are performing the exercise while standing and pulling on the
cable which makes your legs work a little harder to support the
tension. This exercise also helps to reduce the strain on joints,
tendons and ligaments which some people incur from using free weights.
What this means is that the efficiency, consistency and smoothness
with which you perform the cable exercise will be more effective
and using cables also adds some nice variety to a workout routine
by hitting the muscles from different angles and unique types of
resistance. Overall, it is a very effective movement that helps
to build strength and size in your biceps.
Things To Avoid: In order to follow the correct exercise
technique for this movement, always make sure to maintain proper
body positioning and overall posture with your back straight, chest
out and shoulders back with a slight bend in your knees and an athletic
stance. Don't bend over at your waist at any time during your repetitions.
Make sure that only your forearms move during the exercise. You
should also keep your elbows in a fixed and stable position and
tuck them in close to your sides. These precautions will help you
perform the exercise properly and avoid injury.
Reps and Sets: For beginners, this exercise should be performed
with 1-2 sets and 12-15 reps only after a warm-up set is completed
with very light weight for 15-20 reps in order to get blood into
the muscles and your arms warmed up before moving onto heavier sets.
Once you get used to the exercise and your form is spot-on, you
can increase the number of sets to 3-4 and use lower reps in the
range of 6-8 per set. Take a rest period of 90-120 seconds in between
sets and train your biceps only once per week for the best results.
Other Exercises To Use: Although this exercise maximizes
the focus on the biceps, you should also focus your attention on
training your triceps in order to build symmetry in your arms. A
great arm workout with the cable machine would include standing
cable curls and two arm overhead cable curls for your biceps along
with straight bar pushdowns and bodyweight bench dips for your triceps.
View our extensive database
of exercise guides for a comprehensive list of exercises that
target the biceps.