Incline dumbbell curl For a complete biceps workout

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Chances are you train your biceps with dumbbell curls. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But to optimally load the long, outer head of your biceps, it’s better to also include incline dumbbell curls in your schedule.


Incline dumbbell curls – or dumbbell incline curls, if you prefer – are performed sitting on a bench, with the backrest angled at 30-60 degrees. How far back you can place the backrest depends on the health and mobility of your shoulder joint.

You start the exercise with your arms fully extended. Now bring one dumbbell to your shoulder by bending your forearm while twisting it inward. Without this so-called supination, you are actually doing hammer curls, an exercise that focuses on your brachioradialis.

In the finishing position, your forearm is in a vertical position and your palms are facing your shoulders. Lower the dumbbell back in a controlled manner to the starting position. Repeat with your other arm.


  • You can switch arms every rep as described above, but you can also curl both arms at the same time, as you would with a barbell. Finally, you can also do one set per arm.
  • Keep your upper arm almost still during the exercise. Otherwise your shoulders will help, at the expense of your biceps. ‘Almost’, because your elbow will always come forward slightly during a full arm bend at the end. That is normal and unavoidable.


The difference with conventional dumbbell curls is the position of your arms in relation to your upper body. As a result, you switch off your posterior shoulder heads and trapezius muscle, so that your biceps have to work harder. Due to the stricter execution, the long, outer head of your biceps in particular is better trained.


You will generally be able to perform incline dumbbell curls with less weight than regular dumbbell curls, but this exercise is relatively heavier for your biceps. It is not for nothing that you see bodybuilders who train for bigger muscles, not for a bigger ego, do precisely these ‘lighter’ exercises. So ask yourself what you want to train…

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