Transform your Skinny Arms with the Preacher Curl – Benefits, Muscles Worked, Technique Tips and Variations

Learn how to build more muscle and mass with this great exercise.

Time to add mass and muscle to your arms and transform your guns with the highly effective Preacher Curl.

What is the Preacher Curl?

The Preacher Curl is a barbell arm exercise performed with an EZ bar and a Preacher Curl rack.

Muscles Worked by Preacher Curls

The Preacher Curl primarily hits the biceps branchii, more commonly know as the biceps.

These are composed of two heads, the short head and the long head. This means that they have two insertion points. The short head originates at the coracoid process of the scapula and the long head originates at the supraglenoid tubercle of the scapula.

Preacher Curls will also improve your grip and forearm strength.

Why are they Called Preacher Curls?

The exercise gets its name from the formal similarity to a preacher resting over the parapet of a pulpit whilst preaching.

Benefits of the Preacher Curl

The main benefit of the Preacher Curl is that it focuses on muscle growth for the biceps.

This is because it places such a strong emphasis on the negative portion of every rep, where you lower the barbell to the starting position.

A HUGE part of building muscle is linked with the negative portions of reps. This is because it allows you to maximise time under tension whilst slowly returning the load to the starting position.

Build stronger arms

Another benefit here is that you can easily push harder when you are working to fatigue. Once you have destroyed your arms and do not have any power left to bring the weight up, you can simply get your workout buddy to help you with the first part of the lift then once again allow the weight to descend whilst trying to control it as slowly as possible.

More time under tension = more gains

Dorian Yates used this method a lot within his training.

This means you don’t quit even when you can’t lift the weight anymore.

Another great benefit of the Preacher Curl is that it is practically impossible to cheat. You cannot use momentum to shift the load like you can with the standing Barbell Curl.

The movement will also help other exercises, such as pull-ups, chin-ups and rows.

How to do the Preacher Curl

Firstly, make sure you have correctly adjusted the height of the seat for your body.

  1. Sit down with the EZ Barbell already in your hands
  2. Hold the EZ Barbell with the close grip position (change this for other variations of the exercise)
  3. Press your upper body against the pad and rest your arms on the frontal pad
  4. Inhale and brace your core, glutes and grip
  5. Curl the weight to the top (shoulder height), squeeze your biceps as hard as you can and pause for a second
  6. Slowly lower the weight in a controlled manner
  7. Exhale during the last part of the descent
  8. Repeat for the desired number of reps

Preacher Curl Technique Tips

Make sure that your biceps are under tension at all times. Even at the top and bottom points during the lift.

Preacher Curl Variations

The Barbell Bicep Curl, Incline Dumbbell Curl and Concentration Curl can all be used as variations of the Preacher Curl.

Simly changing your grip on the EZ Bar will also switch up the stimulus and attack your arms in different ways.

Preacher Curl FAQs

Got more questions? We’ve got you covered.

Why are Preacher Curls Bad?

Preacher Curls are not bad. They offer a good tool for building the inner biceps because of the isolation and close hand positioning.

They are not as effective as the Barbell Curl for building the biceps peak because your arms are a long way out in front of the body, causing slack on the long head of the biceps.

What’s the Difference Between Preacher Curls and Barbell Curls?

Barbell Curls should be your number one lift for building mass, muscle and big biceps. The Preacher Curl is performed sitting down using an EZ bar and a Preacher Curl bench.

The Barbell Curl is great for muscle and mass whilst the Preacher Curl is an excellent accessory exercise to accompany your gains. It will help you maximise time under tension, control of the descent, a great contraction, improve your mind muscle connection and allow you to push even harder.

Learn more

Shake up your training with the Decline Bench Press, grow your arms with the Pendlay Row and Landmine Row.

Or build more upper body strength with the Landmine Press or the Dumbbell Floor Press.

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