Big primary workout routines just like the bench press, pull-up, and barbell row are nice for constructing your again, chest, and even shoulders, however they won’t suffice to fill your sleeves and construct a formidable set of weapons.

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Training your biceps immediately won’t solely contribute to particular muscle development, but in addition joint well being and efficiency. Traditional workout routines just like the barbell curl can often goal your biceps simply effective, however if you wish to take issues to the subsequent stage and actually focus in your higher arms, think about together with the spider curl in your coaching routine. (1)

Among the various curl variations that exist, the spider curl takes benefit of gravity, leverage, and arm place to emphasise the quick head of the biceps and supply a singular stimulus, resulting in extra development and larger arms. (2) Here’s why and the way you must use this particular train.

How to Do the Spider Curl

The spider curl, generally referred to as the reverse incline curl, will get its extra visible title as a result of the place during which you carry out the train resembles the arachnid dangling from its thread. Indeed, the load can be dangling out of your arms, and also you’ll use gravity and positioning to supply a singular biceps stimulus.

Step 1 — Set Your Bench and Get Into Position

person in gym on bench curling barbellCredit: Albert Solsona / YouTube

Set an adjustable bench at roughly 45-degrees, much like an incline bench press. Grab a barbell with a palms-up grip and lie chest-down on the bench. Have your head  and neck protrude excessive of bench and let your arms cling straight towards the bottom. 

Retract and depress your scapulae (pull your shoulder blades collectively and down) and preserve this place in the course of the carry.

Form tip: Find a safe foot place so that you just’re comfy and steady on the bench, permitting you to totally give attention to working your arms. This will rely barely in your top, leg and torso size, and particular person bench mannequin. You could really feel extra balanced with a comparatively vast stance or along with your ft shut collectively.

Step 2 — Curl the Weight Up

person in gym curling barbellCredit: Albert Solsona / YouTube

Keep your higher arms vertical as you curl the load up so far as attainable with out transferring at your shoulder. In the highest place, squeeze your biceps as laborious as you’ll be able to for a second. Keep your elbows pointing towards the bottom the entire time.

Keep your wrists straight or bent barely backward to take care of most pressure in your biceps and stop your forearms from taking up the workload.

Form tip: If your elbow shifts ahead, you’ll scale back pressure from the biceps by utilizing help out of your entrance deltoids (shoulders). You’ll additionally diminish the efficient vary of movement. The mechanics of the train already make it a comparatively quick movement, as there may be restricted pressure on the backside of the motion. If you begin transferring your elbows, you’ll lose much more pressure on the high.

Step 3 — Lower With Control

person in gym on bench curling barbellCredit: Albert Solsona / YouTube

Slowly let the load come all the way down to the preliminary place. Controlling the eccentric (reducing) portion of the motion will stop you from bouncing or dishonest, which might make the train much less efficient.

By transferring with management, you’re protecting pressure on the specified muscle, main to raised outcomes. Repeat for the specified quantity of repetitions to finish a set.

Form tip: If your wrists or elbows are liable to tendonitis or ache, think about using an EZ-curl bar, as the marginally angled grip might be simpler on the joints.

Spider Curl Mistakes to Avoid

Biceps workout routines are sometimes butchered for the sake of ego, resulting in suboptimal outcomes. Isolation workout routines are technically simpler than extra complicated multi-joint workout routines, however that doesn’t imply you’ll be able to simply wing it carelessly. Avoid these widespread blunders if you’d like the largest arms attainable. 

Going Too Heavy

There are massive compound (multi-joints) workout routines recruiting a number of muscle teams to maneuver heavy weights. Then there are isolation (single-joint) workout routines which give attention to a single muscle group, usually with reasonable weights to take care of focused pressure. Then, there are hyper-specific isolation workout routines that concentrate on a specific “part” of a muscle group.

muscular person in gym doing biceps curlCredit: MAD_Production / Shutterstock

These laser-precision workout routines are actually not meant for transferring heavy weight, however are as an alternative greatest used to carry up a really particular muscle half or emphasize a specific head of a muscle. The spider curl is one in every of these detail-oriented workout routines, because it focuses on the quick head of the biceps.

Using heavy weights will defeat the aim of the train as a result of you’ll undoubtedly shift the workload to different physique elements and encourage dishonest.

Avoid it: Keep the weights comparatively lighter and the units comparatively longer with extra reps and a higher give attention to squeezing your biceps. If you are feeling sturdy contractions someplace apart from your biceps, think about using a lighter load.

Using Momentum

Because of your arms’ place relative to gravity, there’s little or no pressure on the biceps within the backside portion of the carry. The efficient vary of movement is already comparatively quick, primarily the higher half to three-quarters of the curl. If you scale back the vary even additional by swinging the load, you lose loads of time beneath pressure and skip one of many key components to muscle development. (3)

person in gym curling barbel on benchCredit: Be Better / YouTube

Moreover, in case you swing your arms round to make use of extra weight, you exceed your biceps muscular energy. This signifies that the extra kilos being lifted are stressing your connective tissues and joints greater than your muscle tissue, and also you threat accidents only for the sake of ego. 

Avoid it: Practice utilizing a managed tempo and, if obligatory, an particularly slower reducing velocity. If you’ll be able to’t carry out the specified quantity of repetitions with out resorting to momentum, scale back the load.

How to Progress the Spider Curl

The undeniable fact that your arms are hanging within the air in the course of the spider curl would possibly show tough for inexperienced lifters to coordinate at first. On the opposite hand, some hardcore gym-goers will crave a harder problem for constructing their arms. Try these progressions workout routines in case you belong in both class.

Preacher Curl

The preacher bench is particularly designed for remoted biceps coaching. It mimics the spider curl mechanics by setting your arm at an angle and it focuses on the quick head as nicely, however supply the benefit of a secured and supported place from the bench pad.

With this tools, there’s not a lot dishonest attainable. Use it to coach with excellent your kind and construct a mind-muscle connection earlier than making an attempt the spider curl. Start with the extra generally used 45-degree pad and progress to utilizing the vertical pad, identical to the unsupported spider curl.

Spider Concentration Curl

If you’ve already mastered the barbell spider curl, you’ll be able to do that upgraded dumbbell development, additionally referred to as incline focus curl. For a nasty biceps pump, carry out it like a typical two-dumbbell spider curl, however press the pinky-side plates of the dumbbells collectively and squeeze them as laborious as you’ll be able to the entire length of the carry.

The quick head of the biceps additionally contributes to bringing the arms collectively, so the isometric adduction (inward motion) will recruit this a part of your biceps even additional.

Spider Curl Benefits

You can rely on arm-obsessed lifters to invent a myriad of biceps workout routines, however they aren’t the product of vainness — every has distinct objectives and advantages. The spider curl is particularly designed for aesthetic functions with a laser-like precision, however that doesn’t imply solely these with physique objectives ought to embrace this motion.

Pure Biceps Training

The distinctive shoulder and arm place induced by this train is extremely efficient for creating a mind-muscle connection and isolating the biceps for hypertrophy. (4) If you recruit different muscle tissue, your arms will begin to sway and the mechanics will change. Also, you can not cheat by swinging your physique as a lot as with another biceps workout routines. 

person on bench curling barbellCredit: OPEX Fitness / YouTube

If you will have lagging higher arms, this can be a smart way so that you can accumulate high quality quantity with out recruiting or fatiguing different muscle teams. (5) Isolation workout routines are wonderful for creating symmetry and an aesthetic physique.

Focuses on the Short Head of the Biceps

If you are feeling you’re missing within the interior a part of your biceps, give this train a go. Focusing on the quick head of the biceps will improve the “width” of your arm and provides the looks of a fuller-looking muscle.

The spider curl will goal this head extra due to the arm’s place, in entrance of the shoulders. The quick head of the biceps attaches on the entrance of your shoulder joint and might carry out a stronger contraction when your shoulder is “relaxed” within the stretched place.

Joint Health and Strength

This train might be helpful for athletes competing in energy sports activities, equivalent to powerlifting or strongman/strongwoman by immediately contributing to general pulling energy. It may additionally assist with elbow and shoulder joint well being by decreasing repetitive use pressure from performing a restricted variety of biceps workout routines.

Switching to the spider curl will present selection and a distinct stimulus, leading to much less stress in your joints and environment friendly coaching with decrease general weight used. This can have restorative advantages, particularly when carried out for larger reps.

Muscles Worked by the Spider Curl

The spider curl has one main aim: to extend your arm measurement. Let’s see the way it contributes to this sought-after aim.

Biceps Brachii

The biceps is the largest and most seen anterior arm muscle. It flexes the arm, supinates the wrist (rotates the palm upwards), and barely contributes to numerous shoulder actions and stability.

Bodybuilder flexing back, shoulders, and armsCredit: Prostock-studio / Shutterstock

This muscle consists of two heads, each connected to the radius (forearm bone). The lengthy head runs on the outer aspect of the arms and is connected to the shoulder blade. The quick head is on the interior aspect of your arm and in addition attaches to the shoulder blade, however immediately from the entrance of the shoulder. 

The spider curl emphasizes the quick head due to the hanging arm place. The lengthy head is in a “shortened” place and its involvement is proscribed within the stretched place.


This deeper muscle is positioned beneath the biceps brachii. It is the first elbow flexor, being considerably stronger than the biceps itself and never concerned in supinating or rotating your wrists. As such, it’s recruited throughout any curl train. Increasing its measurement will lead to a fuller arm and also will “push” your biceps upwards, making it seem even greater.


Several forearm muscle tissue contribute to elbow flexion, notably the strongest of them — the brachioradialis. The spider curl may even make your forearms greater, which may visually assist to make up for a genetically “shorter” biceps with lengthy tendons close to the elbow. Training these muscle tissue can even enhance your elbow and wrist well being and efficiency.

How to Program the Spider Curl

This train will not be suited to heavy weights, so programming is kind of easy. Get essentially the most out of the spider curl utilizing these repetition schemes.

Moderate Weight, Moderate Repetitions

This time-tested method will yield a ton of outcomes. It has been bodybuilders’ favourite for many years for a cause. Do three to 4 units of eight to 12 repetitions for maximal muscle good points. This will present coaching quantity in the simplest hypertrophy vary, driving muscle development.

Light Weight, High Repetitions

Studies have proven that so long as you’re utilizing 40% of your one-rep most and are taking muscle tissue near failure, you’ll reap efficient muscle good points, so don’t be afraid of going lighter generally. (6) Two to a few units of 15 to twenty repetitions will present a terrific stimulus, and an intense burn, perfect for a finisher whereas additionally being simpler on the joints.

Spider Curl Variations

Variety is the spice of life, and that additionally applies to coaching. If you don’t have a barbell or in case you want to present your biceps a distinct coaching stimulus, attempt these variations.

Dumbbell Spider Curl

Using a pair of dumbbells as an alternative of a bar can tackle imbalances between every arm. Because every arm is transferring independently, you’ll be able to’t use your stronger aspect to compensate to your weaker one.

This is the proper variation when you’ve got a blatantly weaker aspect or if you’d like essentially the most symmetrical physique attainable. It will, nevertheless, take a however extra coordination and focus to maneuver the weights on the similar time.

Cable Spider Curl

The spider curl is a good train to focus on the quick head of the biceps, nevertheless it’s doing a poor job of coaching the lengthened place of the muscle due to gravity’s restricted efficient within the backside place. Using a cable pulley is the answer.

Set up a bench at a low cable station to supply muscular pressure in the course of the carry. This boosts the muscle’s time beneath pressure and will increase the necessity for a managed eccentric. You can even really feel a higher stretch in your biceps.

Concentration Curl

This old style train makes use of the identical common mechanics because the spider curl, along with your working arm prolonged down, however you don’t want an angled bench. Grab a dumbbell and prepare one arm at a time. Lean ahead and curl whereas being as strict as attainable — don’t begin swinging your torso.

This is a tougher variation as you must stabilize your physique and actually focus in your biceps. Some lifters declare it emphasizes the alleged biceps “peak,” however it can principally present good, centered work whereas isolate your biceps as a lot as attainable.


The spider curl might be not the primary train that pops in your thoughts when you concentrate on biceps coaching, in order that’s effective when you’ve got some questions on this lesser identified carry.

When ought to I do the spider curl in my exercise?

Generally talking, isolation workout routines are greatest carried out on the finish of the session. You need to begin with heavy poly-articular (multi-joint) workout routines like rows and presses while you’re contemporary and might carry essentially the most weight. Use isolation actions to complete your muscle tissue and drive hypertrophy with much less neural constraints.
If you’re doing an arms-only session, maintain this one on the finish. The spider curl is without doubt one of the strictest workout routines there may be, specializing in a selected a part of a single muscle group, the place you should utilize the least weight. See it extra as a “finisher.”

Will it construct the height of my biceps?

Not particularly. It will enhance your biceps as an entire, however if you wish to goal your biceps “peak” (the a part of the biceps the grows vertically and provides a taller look to the muscle), you must goal the lengthy head of the biceps and hope your genetic lottery will yield the outcomes you’re after.
The spider curl focuses on the quick head, making your arms comparatively extra spectacular from the entrance as a result of it contributes to “width” greater than “peak.” Couple it with an train that emphasizes the lengthy head, just like the incline dumbbell curl, for full biceps growth.


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