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The 13 Best Cable Curl Alternative for Bigger Biceps

Christian Pinedo


If you’re looking to add some size and definition to your biceps, the cable curl is a great exercise to try. It keeps constant tension on the bicep and you only need a cable machine to perform it. However, if you’re looking for cable curl alternatives that will give you even better results, there are curl alternatives (i.e., preacher curls). In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of the preacher curl and other cable curl alternatives & how to perform it correctly. We’ll also compare it to the cable curl and show you why it’s a better choice for building bigger biceps!

Why You Should be Looking for Cable Curl Alternatives:

Cable curl exercises isolate your biceps, allowing you to build strong arm muscles. They’re perfect for beginners since the machine aids in the execution of the movement and there isn’t as much coordination required. Substitute cable curl workouts must target the same muscles and be simple enough for novices. Here are twelve of the greatest alternatives that can be done:

1. Chin Ups

The greatest bodyweight substitute for cable curls is this one. The Chin-Up is a complex compound movement that works your biceps, lats, rhomboids, and core. It might be tough for novices, but adding chin-ups to your routine will help you develop a far more impressive physique and enable you to do other. If you’re looking for overall bicep growth and development, the chin-up is a great bodyweight exercise for any novice, intermediate, or advanced trainees.

Get your pull-up bar and grab it with an underhand grip, keeping your hands just below shoulder-width apart. Look straight ahead, brace your core, and pull yourself upwards. Continue until the bar is at chin height, then lower yourself back to starting position. Rather than relying on momentum to lift you up and down, concentrate on engaging your biceps and using proper form.

2. Incline Dumbbell Curls

The incline dumbbell curl is another great cable curl alternative that targets your biceps muscles and specifically, the long head of the bicep. To get bigger upper arm muscles, you should target the long head portion more often.

This exercise is performed by sitting at an incline bench and holding a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing forward. Curl the weights up to your shoulder while keeping your back pressed firmly against the bench. Hold & pause at the top, and then lower back down. Incline dumbbell curls provide a somewhat wider range of movement than flat barbell curling but be careful not to swing the weights too quickly or you might hurt yourself.

3. Incline Cable Curls

The incline cable curl is a great alternative to the traditional cable bicep curl exercise. This exercise targets your long head of the biceps and provides a greater range of motion than the cable bicep curl while also keeping constant tension. In addition, the incline cable curl helps to isolate your biceps muscles and ensure that you’re getting the most out of your workout.

To perform the incline cable curl, you’ll need an incline bench and cable machine. Sit at the incline bench with your back pressed firmly against it and grasp a cable handle in each hand with your palms facing forward. Curl the weights up to your shoulder while keeping your back pressed firmly against the bench.

4. Overhead Cable Curls

The overhead cable curl is a great alternative to the regular cable bicep curl as it doesn’t allow for much cheating or sway. It provides a greater range of motion and targets the long head of the biceps usually, depending on the handle attachment you choose. Most times, people use a rope attachment.

To perform the overhead cable bicep curl, stand in the middle of a cable machine and grab the cable handles with an underhand grip. Curl the cables as you would a dumbbell, keeping your elbows close to your sides. Try to keep your elbows stationary so the focus remains on your biceps.

5. Barbell Spider Curls

The spider curls are an intense bicep exercise that will really work your arms. This focuses on the long head of the biceps, which can help you grow a strong peak. So give it a go; you’ll be glad you did!

Put a barbell on the ground near the end of the incline bench. Lay on an incline bench with your chest on the bench and your arms hanging off the edges and grab that barbell.

Bring the barbell up to your shoulders, pause at the top, and then lower it back down again. Keep your arms in line with one another, moving only your lower arms and not putting any strain on places other than your biceps.

This is very similar to the preacher curl but where your arms are on an incline.

6. Barbell Drag Curls

Barbell drag curls is a cable curl alternative that provides a number of benefits for bigger biceps. First, it allows you to use heavier weights than you could with traditional cable curls. This is because the barbell provides more resistance than cables. Second, barbell drag curls recruits more muscle fibers than traditional cable curls, resulting in better gains.

Load a barbell with the desired weight and stand with your feet hip-width apart, gripping the bar with an underhand grip (palms facing up). Keeping your elbows close to your sides, curl the bar up until your hands are at chest-to-shoulder level.

As you drag the bar up, focus on contracting your biceps and keeping your upper arms stationary. Once you reach the top, slowly lower the bar back to the starting position.

7. Dumbbell Hammer Curls

The other effective cable curl alternative is dumbbell hammer curls, which really target the long head of the bicep. They also help to enhance your grip strength and endurance, allowing you to work out for longer. Combining them with incline dumbbell curls will provide you with a terrific biceps pump and may help you achieve significant muscle growth.

Hold a weight in each hand, with your palms facing your thighs. Curl the weights up towards your shoulders, keeping your elbows close to your sides. Pause briefly at the top and lower the weight back down. You can do this exercise seated or standing.

8. Seated Dumbbell Curl

The traditional bicep curls or seated dumbbell curls are a great cable curl alternative. It’s one of the best regular curls for bicep growth and cannot be looked down upon.

To perform the Seated Dumbbell Curl, you will need a bench and two dumbbells. Sit on the bench with your back pressed against it, and hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing forward. Bend your elbows and curl the dumbbells toward your shoulder. Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position and repeat.

9. Resistance Band Incline Curls

Another cable curl alternative is the resistance band incline curls which also target the long head of the bicep. A Resistance band is a versatile and useful piece of equipment. You can use it in any workout routine.

Begin by tying two resistance bands together on each side of you. With one in each hand, lift it up to your waist level. Take a stride forward with the bands taut, curling them towards your body.

10. Band Resisted Barbell Curl

Like the traditional barbell curl, another cable curl alternative is the barbell curl, but with a resistance band.

The cable on the Overhead Cable Curl helps you to build considerably larger biceps since it provides constant tension throughout the movement. The greatest alternative for overhead cable curls is band-resisted barbell curls because they provide more tension and force your arms to work harder. This results in bigger and firmer biceps than usual curl exercises.

11. Resistance Band Lying Bicep Curl

If you don’t have access to machines or weights or workout from home, a resistance band bicep curl is a great cable curl alternative. Resistance bands can assist you to tone your arms and increase flexibility and stability, allowing you to do other curls more easily. It’s a fantastic beginning-level substitute exercise because everyone should be able to do it.

12. Concentration Curls

A cable curl alternative, these are the greatest substitute since they mimic the motion slightly. Throughout the movement, your arms are kept close to your body, which helps you tone and build muscles in your upper arm and strengthen your forearm. These concentration curls can also help you get a visibly bigger bicep quickly by building the long and short heads of the bicep.

Sit on a bench or chair with a dumbbell in one hand and your other arm along your thigh. Allow the dumbbell to hang down near the floor as you rest your elbow against your inner thigh. Keep your back and shoulders still, and pull up on the weight with your bicep to raise it towards your shoulder.

Take a brief pause at the top, then slowly lower it down. Concentrate on keeping the movement under control as you do so. At first, aim for 6-8 reps; however, as you become stronger, you may increase your number of repetitions to 8-15.

13. Straight Bar Bicep Curls or Barbell Curls

If you only have access to a barbell, this is one of the greatest cable curl alternatives. The movement helps to target your biceps, making them seem bigger physically. They’re commonly used by all lifters and are considered one of the essential bicep exercises.

Stand up tall and hold the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart. Bend your arm and raise the bar up to your shoulders by pulling your shoulders back and contracting your biceps. Pause for a second before lowering it back down to its starting position. Remember to move slowly and deliberately, and don’t swing the bar using only body weight.


We hope you found this list of cable curl alternatives helpful. If you’re looking for more ideas, be sure to check out our other posts on our blog. What is your favorite alternative to the cable curl? Let us know in the comments below!

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Christian Pinedo

Hey there, Christian here. I'm a former fat guy who just wants to help you succeed in your fitness journey. I share my own experiences and experiments right here on this site. Let me know how I can be of help by leaving a comment below. If you want to learn more about my 50 lb weight loss journey, click here.

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