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How to use a preacher curl

A preacher curl is a more controlled version of a standard (that is, a barbell / dumbbell / EZ curl or hammer curl) curl, utilising either a preacher curl bench, or a preacher attachment for a regular bench (both shown below). You can also use an underhand grip (hands facing up), overhand grip (hands facing down) or a hammer grip (hands facing in) on a preacher curl.

This is an isolation movement in that by helping control the movement, it better isolates the biceps, which in turn helps to maxmise your curl time. To preacher curl:

  • Start by adjusting the pad to the right height for you (your back should be straight, with the top of the pad close to your armpits).
  • Irrespective of bar (barbell, dumbbell, dumbbells, EZ curl, hammer curl), your arms should be around shoulder width apart when you grab the bar(s).
  • Slowly curl the bar(s) upward in an arc towards your mouth. Focusing on the bicep muscle as your curl, stop when your forearms have just passed vertical (and before you hit yourself in the mouth).
  • Still flexing your bicep muscle, slowly lower the bar bar to your starting position (do not rest it back on the bar holder until you have completed your set)
  • Repeat

As mentioned above, you have many variations of this exercise to try. Using an EZ curl bar, super EZ curl or hammer curl bar changes the area of the bicep you focus on and a change of grip to overhand focusses on forearms. Change to dumbbells and you can do alternating curls, single curls or hammer curls.

Lots of variations for killing those biceps but remember, focus on the bicep muscle as you curl to make sure it’s working hard, and breath as you curl – out coming and and in going down.

One last warning – if you’ve never curled with a preacher before – maybe go easy the first time. The day after – it will hurt!!!

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