The primary muscles stressed in this movement are the muscles in the front of your upper arm (mid to upper biceps brachii). The secondary muscles stressed are the muscles in your forearm and the front of your shoulder.

Starting Position

Sit on a preacher bench with the top of the armrest at mid-chest or slightly lower. Grip the bar in the designated position with your arms extended over the armrest, wrists straight. Rest your upper arms on the armrest with your elbows slightly bent and your wrist straight.


Raise the bar up toward your chin until your biceps have reached their peak contraction and no higher (if the bar is raised any higher it will release the tension on the biceps). Contract your bicep hard at the top. Take two to three seconds to lower the bar down to the extended position.

Training Tips

Keep your body stationary when performing this movement. This will help to isolate the bicep.


  • There are three grips that can be used when performing this movement:
  1. Close Grip – place your hands just inside shoulder width. This grip concentrates on the outside of the bicep.
  2. Medium Grip – Place your hands shoulder width apart. This grip concentrates on the entire bicep muscle.
  3. Wide Grip – Place your hands just outside shoulder width. This grip concentrates on the peak of the bicep (biceps brachii).
  • An EZ curl bar can be used to isolate the brachialis and take pressure off a problematic wrist for rehabilitation.

Warning Tips

  • Do not full extend your arms when you lower the bar. Failure to do so can result in serious injury to your elbow (hyperextension).
  • Do not lower the bar any faster than two to three seconds. You must be in control at all times during this movement. The faster you perform this movement, the less control you will have, which in turn will increase your risk of injury.

Robert Bovee Certified Master PPT, RTS, ETS, FTS

As one of the most successful Professional Personal Trainers and Exercise/Fitness Therapists in the United States, Robert continues to remain at the forefront of the industry by providing his clients with a thorough education and the tools to implement that education. By improving his client’s physical health, strength, endurance, cardiovascular fitness and nutritional habits, he is able to motivate them to lead longer, happier and more productive lives. Find out more about Robert and his personal training career and services, here.


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