Muscles Targeted: Incline angle dumbbell curls target the bicep muscles and the forearms. They also hit the anterior deltoids (front of shoulders) as a secondary stabilizer muscle group. This exercise also brings in the short head of the biceps (inner head) and allows a maximum stretch in the muscle as the arms are extended slightly behind the body.
Exercise Instructions: Adjust a bench to about 45 degrees. Grab a pair of dumbbells and carefully lie back on the bench while holding a dumbbell in each hand. Simultaneously, curl the dumbbells up and out with both hands, slowly turning (supinating) your wrists outward as you raise the dumbbells. Keep your back flat against the bench at all times. Slowly return the dumbbells back down to the starting position and repeat.
Why This Exercise is Important: The angle of the inclined bench is usually at about a 45 degree angle which gives this exercise a unique advantage for training the arms by allowing them to maximally stretch out and elongate the biceps during the movement. This allows the bicep muscles to really work hard during the exercise. The incline angle dumbbell curl exercise is important not only for the biceps and forearms but also your wrists as well and greatly helps in strengthening them. Using an incline bench with dumbbells allows you to change the starting position of your arms unlike when doing normal seated curls. The incline instinctively brings your arms further behind your body, isolating the biceps completely. The incline position balances the rest of the body and prevents it from helping the biceps to move the weight during the curling motion. Angling the arms outwards targets the short head at the inside of the upper arm. It also effectively brings in the long head of the biceps.
Things To Avoid: Try to avoid a fast, jerky tempo when doing this exercise because it can result in a serious injury. Try using lighter weights to gauge your resistance before graduating to heavier weights. Avoid raising your feet off the ground which will adversely affect the stabilization needed to effectively perform this exercise. Also avoid raising your back off the bench while curling the dumbbells up and down. Keep your back and butt fixed firmly and stationary on the bench to ensure safety and proper exercise technique for optimal results.
Reps and Sets: The most ideal repetition range for this exercise and most bicep exercises is usually between 8-12 reps per set. Going too low with the reps and too heavy with the weight is not ideal since the angle is a little different and the stretch in your biceps is intense. For the best results, the overall number of sets should be around 6-8 for your entire biceps workout. Doing too many sets will overtrain your biceps preventing them from growing or getting stronger. Train your biceps only once per week for the best results. Hit them with short and intense workouts and then allow them to rest so they can fully recover and grow.
Other Exercises To Use: Some other complimentary exercises that can be used in tandem with incline angled dumbbell curls are the standing barbell curls and cable curls. These will help to increase the overall mass and size in the arms. These exercises target the bicep muscles as well as the forearm muscles for overall arm development. Make sure to rest for 1-3 minutes in between each set to allow your arms to recover before starting the next set. View our extensive database of exercise guides for a comprehensive list of exercises that target the biceps.