Muscles Targeted: One arm dumbbell incline bench curls are a fantastic exercise for targeting the muscles of the upper arm. This exercise exerts more resistance on the biceps brachii, which is the largest and most visible muscle and includes two heads (short head and long head). When performing one arm dumbbell incline bench curls, lifting the weight straight up in line with the body will target the long head located on the outside of the biceps. Angling the arm slightly outward will change the targeted muscle to the short head located on the inside of the upper arm.
Exercise Instructions: You can perform this exercise using an incline bench or regular preacher bench. Stand behind the bench with a dumbbell in one hand and hold it using an underhand grip (palm facing upward). Adjust the bench to about a 45 degree angle and let your arm hang down onto the bench with the back of your upper arm lying flat on the bench and your armpit tucked into the end of the bench pad. Slowly curl the dumbbell up to about chin level and pause a the top for a brief moment to get a peak contraction in the biceps. Slowly return the dumbbell back down to the starting position and repeat with the other arm.
Why This Exercise is Important: Improvising your workout is an effective way to keep your muscles from adapting to the same exercises day in and day out while also keeping your workouts fun and interesting. Dumbbell curls on an incline bench is an effective variation that can add a challenging movement to your workout regimen as the incline angle and the dumbbells both present specific resistance by isolating the biceps. The one arm dumbbell incline bench curl makes your right and left arm work independently, thereby helping to add symmetry and balance to your arms and overall physique.
Things To Avoid: Proper positioning of your arm on the bench is crucial in order to execute this movement safely and effectively. You should avoid placing your elbow on the very end of the bench since this will cause issues with your tendons and ligaments along with placing too much unneeded stress on the elbow joint. Tuck your armpit into the end of the bench and lay your arm flat on the bench pad. Your elbow should be positioned about 10-12 inches down on the bench pad.
It is very important to maintain a smooth and fluid motion throughout the full range of motion. Your tempo should always be slow, controlled and completely under control. Avoid any jerky, fast or uncontrolled movements while curling the weight up and lowering it back down. Including too many exercises in your biceps workout could lead to muscular burnout and overtraining issues causing little or NO growth so don’t overdo it. Hit the biceps with 7-8 total sets and then let them rest and recover.
One of the common mistakes that lots of beginners make is breathing incorrectly. Do not hold your breath while doing this exercise or you might get light-headed and pass out. As a rule of thumb you should exhale when you curl the weight up and inhale as you lower the dumbbell down.
Last but not the least, getting enough rest in between sets is crucial for allowing the muscle to recover before hitting it hard and heavy with the next set. Give yourself 90-120 seconds between sets and maybe even longer if you’re doing super heavy sets with mass building movements like standing barbell curls.
Reps and Sets: Since biceps are a smaller muscle group the best results will be achieved with a workout plan that includes a total of 7-8 overall sets. This means using 2 sets with 4 different exercises or 2-3 sets with 3 different exercises. Each exercise must begin with a proper warm-up set using either free weights, machines or cables for around 15-20 repetitions. After the warm up set, move into your working sets with heavier weights.
Following up the warm-up set, focus on completing 2-3 sets of one arm dumbbell incline bench curls with 10-12 repetitions for each arm. Use an appropriate amount of weight in the first set to be able to complete the full 12 repetitions ensuring that the last few repetitions are very demanding. For each of the following sets, proportionately increase the weight used in the previous set thereby making the last few repetitions of that set more difficult to complete. The specific amount of weight you use will completely depend on your current strength and fitness levels.
Other Exercises To Use: There are many biceps exercises that you can use along with one arm dumbbell incline bench curls to create an effective workout plan. The success lies in choosing the right combination of exercises to achieve peak performance and overall muscle development. A few recommended exercises that can be used along with one arm dumbbell incline bench curls in your workout are standing barbell curls, dumbbell concentration curls, preacher curls and hammer dumbbell curls. A combination of these exercises implemented into your workout plan will target the main parts of the biceps and other muscles in the arms which will help you build thick, full and impressive biceps. View our extensive database of exercise guides for a comprehensive list of exercises that target the biceps and other muscle groups.