Muscles Targeted: The cable curls target the biceps as the primary muscle group and they also hit the forearms as the secondary muscle. The great thing with using the cable machine is the ease of use to change the weight quickly which allows you to do things like drop sets without the need to change weight plates like you would need to do when using free weights.
Exercise Advice: Using a cable machine, attach a straight bar to the cable and adjust the weight to something you can easily do for a warm-up set of 15-20 reps to get your muscles warm. Make sure the pin is completely locked into the weight stack on the machine or you run the risk of it coming out and all the weights crashing down. With everything secure, place your feet at about a shoulder width stance and safely grab the straight bar. Bring the bar to about waist height and slowly curl the bar to the top position. At the top, try to really flex your biceps and have a peak contraction on the muscles. Slowly lower the weight down to the starting position and repeat. After a proper warm-up, you can add a drop set to your workout by doing one set with a weight you can lift 12 times and after you finish this first set, immediately decrease the weight about 10 pounds and try to do another 10-12 reps. You can drop the weight 3-4 times until you’re completely burned out. Drop sets are great to add at the end of your biceps workout to get a great pump in your muscles.
Things To Avoid: You want to avoid arching or slouching your back on this exercise. Once you’re in the starting position, you want to stand up straight with a slight bend in your knees, your back straight and your shoulders back. Do not slump your shoulders down. Keep them back with good posture throughout the entire movement. Also, try to keep your elbows in close to your sides while you curl the bar up and down. You want to avoid letting your elbows flare out while you bring the weight up to the top position. This usually means you’re using too heavy of a weight and your cheating with your technique. Always focus on strict form and technique so you can get the most out of the exercise and place maximum tension on the biceps muscles.
Reps and Sets: On this exercise, focus on 8-12 reps for overall muscle growth. Always choose a weight you can safely handle and one which allow you to perform the exercise correctly. The total number of sets for this exercise will be in the range of 2-3 sets. Your overall total number of sets for your biceps workout will be in the range of 4-6 sets. This might not sound like much but you really only want to use a small number of sets for your biceps since it’s a smaller muscle group and doesn’t need to be overworked with too many sets. Only train your biceps once per week also. You will also be working your biceps as a secondary muscle group on back day, so don’t worry about them getting enough stimulus during the week.
Other Exercises To Use: A couple of other great bicep exercises to combine the cable curls with include the Seated Dumbbell Hammer Bicep Curls and the Incline Bench Alternating Dumbbell Curls. By combining different exercises into your biceps workout, you will be able to target your muscles from all different angles. This will help shock your muscles with different stimuli. You never want to do the same exercises and workouts day in and day out. Always switch it up and watch your muscles grow!