Unleash Your Inner Beast: The Secret to Achieving Unstoppable Biceps with Preacher Curls

preacher curl
Table of Contents

Outline to be discussed

  • What is the preacher curl?
  • Preacher curl benefits
  • Step-by-step instructions
  • Common mistakes you should avoid
  • Modifications and variations

As compared to other regular curls, the biceps preacher curl is considered a relatively modern exercise. It was developed by Vince Gironda around the 60s and has become popular since then. In contrast to regular curls, a preacher curl is done on a preacher’s bench or on a preacher’s machine.

What is Preacher Curl?

The Preacher curl is a highly effective exercise for targeting the biceps, providing an intense workout for building strength and definition in this muscle group. The exercise involves using a preacher bench and a barbell, with the bench providing stability and isolation for the biceps, allowing for a more focused and effective workout. This exercise is a great addition to any arm workout and can help to build strong and defined biceps.

The preacher bench provides stability and support, allowing you to maintain proper form and technique throughout the exercise, while the barbell allows you to work the biceps in a controlled and isolated manner. The exercise is performed by sitting on the preacher’s bench and curling the barbell towards your chest, pausing at the top of the movement to squeeze your biceps. By using proper technique and avoiding common mistakes, the Preacher curl can provide a highly effective workout for building strong and defined biceps. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced fitness enthusiast, the Preacher curl is a great exercise to add to your arm workout.

Preacher Curls Benefits

This amazing exercise has exceptional benefits other than building your muscles.

  1. Isolation of Biceps: The preacher bench helps to isolate the biceps, making it easier to target this muscle group and avoid using other muscles.
  2. Reduced Cheating: The bench helps to reduce the temptation to use momentum, ensuring a more controlled and effective movement.
  3. Improved Form: The bench provides stability and support, allowing you to maintain proper form and technique throughout the exercise.
  4. Increased Range of Motion: The bench allows you to use a full range of motion, making it easier to target the biceps and achieve a deeper stretch.
  5. Better Mind-Muscle Connection: The isolation provided by the preacher curl helps to improve the mind-muscle connection, making it easier to focus on engaging the biceps.

Step-by-step Instructions

Preacher curl
preacher curl

You can perform this exercise with a barbell, dumbbells, or an EZ bar, it depends on your choice of comfort. I personally prefer preacher curls with an EZ bar.

  1. Start by positioning the barbell on the preacher bench, with the barbell at a height that allows you to comfortably reach it while seated.
  2. Sit on the bench, with your arms extended and palms facing up.
  3. Grasp the barbell with a narrow, underhand grip.
  4. Keeping your elbows stationary, curl the barbell towards your chest.
  5. Pause at the top of the movement, squeezing your biceps.
  6. Lower the barbell back to the starting position, under control.
  7. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Common Mistakes you should avoid

  • Not Contracting the Biceps Correctly

It is usually hard to perform this exercise as compared to the other bicep curls. In the beginning, you might not be able to do desired no. of reps with a full range of motion. Which will not take you so far in terms of strength and muscle gain.

Try to use lower weights at first. Your reps should be controlled and in a full range of motion. Squeezing at the top is a must-do for gaining biceps muscle mass and strength.

  • Doing half reps for more tension

It is true that when you stop halfway to the curl, it keeps tension in your biceps. Most people stop at half of the rep because they can lift more in this way and have become habitual to this.

When you stop halfway, you are skipping the stretch in your arms which is a very important part of a curl. Yes, it is hard but stopping halfway would make slow gains.

  • Skipping the bottom sticking point of the curl

You are often stuck at the bottom position (sticking point) of a curl and are unable to lift the weight. This point is actually the hardest part of a curl and it is totally normal. In regular curls, you can cheat on this by using a little body momentum and moving your elbows behind the body. but in the case of preacher curls, you are really stuck!

  • Using Momentum:

Avoid using momentum to complete the movement. This reduces the effectiveness of the exercise and increases the risk of injury.

  • Improper Grip Width:

Make sure to use a grip that is narrow enough to place more emphasis on the biceps.

  • Elbow Movement:

Keep your elbows stationary throughout the exercise to avoid involving other muscles.

  • Lack of Control:

Make sure to lower the barbell under control to fully engage the biceps.

But don’t worry, practice preacher curls with dumbbells for a few weeks, and then you will be able to do bar curls as easily.

Modifications and Variations

You can also try variations of the standard preacher curls by replacing the EZ bar with a straight bar or using dumbbells instead of the bar.

Dumbbell Preacher Curl

A great variation of traditional preacher curls is by using dumbbells. Dumbbells allow a greater range of motion on a preacher bench. Doing unilateral (one arm at one time) dumbbells preacher curls will also help in improving balance.

Barbell Preacher Curl

You can always replace the dumbbells or the EZ bar with a standard Olympic barbell. However, this variation can be a little harder than the dumbbell preacher curls. Try to keep the spine neutral and maintaining tension in your muscles for the whole range of motion.

Preacher Curl machine

It is a great advancement over the standard preacher curls. It helps you focus more on the muscle and thereby eliminating the chances of weight imbalance due to its fixed position of handles. It provides maximum stimulus to activate the muscles and muscle growth.

Dumbbell Preacher Curl:

Use dumbbells instead of a barbell for a similar exercise that allows for a greater range of motion.

Seated Dumbbell Hammer Curl:

Use a neutral grip, with palms facing each other, for a variation that places more emphasis on the forearms.

Standing Cable Preacher Curl:

Use a cable machine for a similar exercise that provides constant tension throughout the movement.

Final Thoughts

The Preacher curl is an effective exercise for building strong and defined biceps, providing an intense workout for this muscle group. By using a preacher bench and a barbell, you can isolate the biceps, improve form, and use a full range of motion for maximum results. Make sure to avoid common mistakes such as using momentum, improper grip width, and lack of control, and consider variations and modifications to keep your workout challenging and effective. With proper technique and a focus on engaging the biceps, the Preacher curl can help you build the arms you’ve always wanted.


What is a Preacher Curl?

A Preacher Curl is a weightlifting exercise that specifically targets the biceps muscles. It is performed on a preacher bench, which provides support and stability while isolating the biceps during the curl movement.

What equipment do I need for a Preacher Curl?

You need a preacher’s bench and a barbell. Some gyms may also have a specialized preacher curl bench with a built-in barbell holder, but a regular preacher bench with a separate barbell works just as well.

Can women do Preacher Curls?

Yes, both men and women can benefit from performing Preacher Curls. It is a great exercise for building strength and definition in the biceps muscles.

How many sets and reps should I do for Preacher Curls?

The number of sets and reps will depend on your fitness level and goals. For general strength and muscle building, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps are recommended. For toning and definition, 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps with lighter weight may be used.

Can Preacher Curls be done with dumbbells instead of a barbell?

Yes, Preacher Curls can also be performed with dumbbells instead of a barbell. This variation can offer a different type of challenge for the biceps muscles.

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