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Incline Dumbbell Curl – The Battle of the Best Bicep Exercise


Incline dumbbell curls are to your biceps what that hottie is to your Tinder profile – a perfect match! While the incline dumbbell curls may look easy and laidback, it’s the perfect way to load up your arm-guns, giving you that explosive pump post-workout.

Let’s navigate through what exactly an incline dumbbell press is, the muscles worked and proper form of incline dumbbell press so you get the gains you dream of!

What Is an Incline Dumbbell Curl | Incline Dumbbell Curl Form | Benefits | Muscles Worked | Alternatives | Key Takeaways | FAQs

What Is an Incline Dumbbell Curl?

If your goal is to build strength and mass in your arms, then you need to add the incline dumbbell into your arm workout routine. This workout isolates the long head of your bicep, stretches it and pushes you to apply more force while contracting. This makes it a great exercise if you are looking to maximize the bicep peak.

How To Do an Incline Dumbbell Curl with Proper Form?


While there are multiple ways of performing this exercise, here’s the conventional method of doing an incline dumbbell curl with proper form:

  • Sit on an incline bench or a seat with a dumbbell in each hand, with your arms extended
  • Keep your elbows close to your torso and tucked slightly inward
  • Rotate the palms of your hands, letting them face forward for the perfect incline dumbbell curls angle
  • Keeping your upper arm stationary, curl the weights forward while contracting the biceps as you breathe out
  • Make sure that only the forearms are moving
  • Avoid tilting your wrists to prevent injuries – your wrists should be still and aligned with your forearms
  • Continue the movement until your biceps are fully contracted and the dumbbells are at shoulder level
  • Hold the contracted position for a second to feel tension in your muscles
  • Slowly extend your arms outward, bringing the dumbbells back to starting position as you breathe in
  • Repeat 12-15 times for 3-4 sets.

Benefits Of an Incline Dumbbell Curl


According to studies, incline dumbbell curl is the best exercise to work your biceps as your arms move behind your body, which stretches the long head of the biceps. This muscle runs over the shoulder joint so the stretch goes all the way to your shoulder.

When you stretch a muscle before contracting, your muscle is able to contract with more force taking on the majority of the load during an exercise. Since the long head of the biceps make up the mass of the biceps peak, the incline curl is an effective exercise for building the biceps peak.

*Pro Tip: Make sure you’re wearing a supportive gym t-shirt that promotes a full range of motion and gives your biceps the compression they need.

Incline Dumbbell Curl Muscles Worked

Muscle Group Function in Incline Dumbbell Curl
Biceps Brachii Primary target; increased stretch for intense contraction.
Brachialis Isolated due to arm position, enhancing strength and definition.
Brachioradialis Assists in curling, contributing to grip strength and forearm aesthetics.
Deltoids Provide stabilization for the arms during the curl.
Core Muscles Engaged for maintaining posture and stability on the bench.

Top 5 Incline Dumbbell Curl Alternatives

Whether you just can’t seem to get the incline dumbbell curl form right or want to create a proper bicep workout routine, here are a few incline dumbbell curl alternatives you can do:

Hammer Curls

Here’s how you can do hammer curls:

  • Stand with your back straight, holding a pair of dumbbells by your sides
  • Keeping your elbows fixed to the sides and slightly tucked into your torso, lift the weights
  • Bring the weights parallel to your arms, contracting your biceps
  • Hold at the contraction then slowly release your arms

Discover the 5 types of bicep curls.

Twist Curls

Twist Bicep Curls

Here’s how to do twist curls:

  • Stand with your back neutral and your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Place your arms by your sides, letting your arms fully extend
  • Brace your core
  • With dumbbells in each hand and shoulders retracted, lift the dumbbell from one and
  • During the lift, bring your arm up to your shoulder and twist your wrist towards your chin
  • Hold as you bring the weight up, letting your bicep feel the full burn then slowly extend your arm again

Learn more about how to do twist curls with proper form and angle.

Decline Dumbbell Curls


Here’s the right way of doing a decline dumbbell curl:

  • Adjust a bench on 30-45° angle
  • Lay flat on the bench with your chest down and your arms ahead of you
  • Your arms should be fully extended and your palms facing forward
  • With your chin tucked in, lift the weights all the way up to your shoulders
  • Pause when your biceps are fully contracted – then extend your arms again

Check out the top 10 bicep exercises to do on your next arm day.

Plate Curls

Plate Bicep Curls

Here’s a step-by-step for plate curls:

  • Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart
  • Hold a plate from the sides and place it against your thighs
  • Brace your core with your shoulders retracted
  • Bend your elbows and lift the plate
  • Your wrists should be higher than your elbows
  • Contract your biceps and hold at the contraction before extending your arms outward again

Learn how to do plate curls properly.

Preacher Curls


Here’s how you can do preacher curls with correct form:

  • Sit on the preacher bench seat with an EZ bar in your hands
  • Press your chest and upper arms against the preacher pad with your arms fully extended
  • Take an inward grip on the EZ bar to maximize your bicep engagement
  • With your upper arms and elbows locked in place, lift the weight all the way up to your shoulders
  • Extend your arms again, letting them fully stretch out before repeating

Learn how to do preacher curls correctly.

Cable Curls

Bicep Cable Curls
Cropped shot of a muscular bodybuilder doing bicep curls in cable crossover gym machine

Here’s a step-by-step for cable curls:

  • Attach an EZ or straight bar to the pulley of cable machine
  • Lower the attachment to the bottom
  • Holding the straight bar or EZ bar from the ends, pull it and bring it to the front of your thighs
  • Make sure your arms are fully extended and stretched out
  • Keep your knees slightly bent, your core embraced, your shoulders retracted and your back neutral
  • Pull the bar into your shoulders, squeezing your biceps as you lift
  • Hold when your bicep contracts, then slowly release your arms

Ladies, check out the top 10 arm exercises to look toned.

Key Takeaway

There is no one exercise that you can do that will trump the others – you will need multiple exercises to hit every head of your bicep muscles. It is important to incorporate different exercises that target both the long and short head of your biceps, to get the maximum results.


Are incline dumbbell curls effective?

The incline dumbbell curls are an excellent exercise to boost your bicep growth, strength and size. Because of the incline position, your bicep gets a lot more stretch, allowing it to fully contract when you curl. This increase range of motion adds intensity to your workout, giving you the tension and engagement, you need in your biceps.

In addition, because of the angle of the incline bench, your momentum is minimal. This eliminates any kind of room for cheating, letting you work your bicep fully. With this isolation, you’re able to grow your muscles and get the gains you want.

What is the proper incline curl form?

To build your biceps and max out your growth, you need to make sure you’ve got the best incline curl form. To get your incline curl form right, sit with your back flat against the bench and your core braced. Then with your arms fully extended, holding the weights in each hand, lift in the curling motion until the dumbbells reach your shoulders. Squeeze your biceps when you contract them upward.

What angle is incline dumbbell curl?

Typically, the incline dumbbell curl angle ranges from 30° to 45°. This is because at this angle, you’re able to fully stretch out your biceps, giving you optimal muscle activation and growth. In addition, this angle also ensures shoulder safety, reducing any unnecessary strain on your shoulders. And, with this angle, you also get a full range of motion, which is crucial to amp up your gains.

With this bench angle, you also minimize any chances of injury, letting you workout with ease. However, you can always increase or decrease the bench angle if you like a steeper or flatter incline – it’s all about staying safe and getting those gains.

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