Seated Angled Dumbbell Curls – Biceps Exercise Guide


Muscles Targeted: Seated angled dumbbell curls is a very effective exercise for the development of your biceps. This exercise targets the biceps brachii muscles that are composed of a short head and a long head, with the emphasis on the short head located on the inner portion of the arm due to the angled nature of the forearms and wrist position during the execution. The brachialis muscle is also impacted and is located between the biceps and the triceps. The brachioradialis muscle which is in the forearm near the elbow is also targeted when the elbow is bent to bring the hand up to the shoulder during upwards portion of the curl. The front deltoids (shoulders), wrist flexors along with the abs and core muscles work together as stabilizers to control the body movement during this exercise although they do not make any major contribution to the exercise.


Exercise Instructions: This exercise is very similar to the regular seated dumbbell curls except that you will be angling your forearms outward on the upper portion of the exercise. Grasp a dumbbell in each hand and sit at the end of a bench (ideally a seated utility bench with back support) with your feet securely placed on the floor for stability. Simultaneously curl the dumbbells up and out with both hands, slowly turning (supinating) your wrists outward as you raise the dumbbells up to the top. Slowly return to dumbbells back down to the starting position and try to maximize the eccentric “negative” portion to add additional tension on your biceps.

Why This Exercise is Important: Seated angled dumbbell curls are a very good exercise for isolating the biceps muscle on each arm thereby correcting any strength and size imbalances that may exist. It is very important as people are generally stronger on their dominant side. For example, a right-handed person may find his left arm to be weaker in comparison to the right side during a workout. This exercise ensures that both arms will get a full workout since they are exposed to constant tension while curling the dumbbell up and lowering it down. The other important aspect of this exercise has to do with the angled nature of the forearms during the upward portion when the inner part of the biceps (short head) is emphasized.

Things To Avoid: This exercise must always be performed with proper form and technique without over rotating your wrists while curling the arm in the upward portion. Proper posture is also critical for safety and the back must always be kept straight during the set. Any jerking of the upper body to help lift the weights up must be avoided. Repetition tempo and timing should not be too fast or abrupt and the weights need to be controlled with the intent to avoid letting them drop down too quickly ensuring constant tension of the muscle is always maintained throughout the full range of motion. You should avoid moving the elbows and make sure to keep them tucked into your sides in a stable position. Only the forearms should be allowed to move during this exercise. Improper breathing during the exercise can result in issues and you should be careful to maintain the correct breathing pattern which means exhaling (breathing out) as you curl the weight up and then inhaling (breathing out) as you lower the dumbbells back down to the starting position.

Reps and Sets: Doing a warm-up set of around 15-20 repetitions using light weights is something that must mark the start of your workout session as it warms up the muscles and gets blood flowing along with mitigating the risk of inducing injury to a cold muscle which can happen. After warming up, seated angled dumbbell curls can be performed for 1-2 sets using a weight that you can manage for 12-15 repetitions for beginners. Advanced trainees can do 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps. While performing this exercise, one full repetition comprises curling the arms to raise the weight up near the shoulder, holding the contraction for a brief moment and then lowering the weight back down. The muscles must be adequately rested for about 90-120 seconds after each set to allow the muscles to recover and be ready for the next set.

Other Exercises To Use: Seated angled dumbbell curls can be teamed up with dumbbell concentration curls, preacher curls and hammer dumbbell curls to create a workout plan that works effectively for developing overall arm size and strength. View our extensive database of exercise guides for a comprehensive list of exercises that target the biceps.

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