Log in to BOXROX Pro

Science-Backed Dumbbell Curl Variations to Grow Your Upper Arm

3 exercises to hit the short head, long head, and the brachialis.

Growing your biceps is hard and takes time. Also, you need to do curls to target them. Here is a list of the best dumbbell curl variations for you to hit all parts of your biceps.

The list of dumbbell curl variations was created by Jeremy Ethier.

Jeremy Ethier is a kinesiologist and fitness trainer, co-founder of Built With Science. His YouTube channel has over 4 million subscribers and he delivers clear information with sound background research.

The bicep is divided into two heads:

  • Long head – forms the peak when the arm is flexed, the outer part of the bicep.
  • Short head – runs inside the arm, closer to the chest.

There is also the brachialis. Although not part of the biceps, this muscle will help increase the width and peak of the bicep as it sits underneath the muscle and making it bigger will push out and widen your upper arm even more.

Dumbbell Curl VariationsSource: Teach Me Anatomy

Check out below the video of dumbbell curl variations that you can incorporate into your training if you want to target your biceps from different angles.

If you are short on time, this list is perfect as Ethier narrowed it down to one exercise per muscle area.

Science-Backed Dumbbell Curl Variations

1. Concentration Curl

  • Short head
  • 3-4 sets
  • 6-12 reps
  • (3-4 reps eccentric phase only)

To make this dumbbell curl variation perfect for targeting the short head, make sure you flex your arm as much as possible and turn your wrist out with the pinkie toward the ceiling.

Another science-backed tweak you can do is to not hold the dumbbell in the middle of the handle, but leave more room on your pinkie, increasing the degree of active supination.

After finishing one set of the exercise, perform more reps focusing on the eccentric phase (lowering the dumbbell slowly).

2. Incline Dumbbell Curl

  • Long head
  • 3-4 sets
  • 6-12 reps

Make sure you keep your elbow pinned while performing this exercise to minimise the involvement of the delts and target the long head of the biceps.

3. Hammer Curl

  • Brachialis
  • 3-4 sets
  • 6-12 reps

“Gripping the dumbbell with a more pronated grip as if we’re holding a hammer, we can now, in wrist-friendly way, effectively shift some of the tension away from the biceps and onto the brachialis when we curl,” Ethier explains.

Using science to make this exercise more effective, you can focus on the eccentric phase of this exercise, by lowering the dumbbell slower as this will isolate the brachialis even more.

If you are interested in more bicep content, check out the links below:

How to Build Massive Arms with the Spider Curl

Best Bicep Finisher Exercises

If you are looking for more dumbbell content, you should read these:

Best Dumbbell Movements for Building Muscle – 30 Exercises Included

15 Full Body CrossFit Dumbbell Workouts

Image Sources

Related news