Bicep curls are one of the most recognizable weight training exercises. While compound movements should be a fundamental part of any weight training program, accessory exercises like bicep curls can also offer a functional purpose as well as an aesthetic purpose.

Bicep curls can be a part of a balanced strength training program, much like tricep extensions and lat pull-downs. Though they can also be a lot of fun.

Who doesn’t like the nice pump and undeniably great feeling after doing a set of bicep curls?!

Bicep curls are often criticized for being a pointless “bro” exercise that would never match up to movements like the deadlift and squat. Though, rather, they should be criticized for being so poorly performed.

Just because bicep curls aren’t as effective as big compound lifts, it doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be performed with proper technique and form.

All too often we see gym goers trying to curl dumbbells that are far too heavy, swinging their backs and hips to use momentum to lift the weight instead of isolating the actual muscle they should be targeting.

In this article, we discuss the benefits of the supinated curl, also known as the underhand bicep curl. So, keep reading if you want to maximize the benefits of the bicep curl, thus improving your arm size, strength, and appearance!

Supinated Curls: Muscles Worked

The supinated curl, also known as the underhand bicep curl, is an essential exercise for building bigger biceps. The exercise is simple, requiring just a set of dumbbells.

The primary muscles worked are the biceps brachii. The bicep muscle has two heads: a long head and a short head. Both of these heads work together as a pair during lifting and pulling motions.

Supinated curls also work your brachialis, a muscle that lies beneath your biceps brachii. The movement also engages your brachioradialis, which is the most prominent muscle in your forearm.

Much like many other accessory exercises, your core and back muscles are also activated during the supinated curl as they are required to help stabilize your body during the motion.

Benefits of Supinated Curls

Gains Strength and Size

The supinated curl is a premium accessory exercise that primarily targets the biceps. This exercise helps to strengthen the biceps as well as increase the size.

Growing your biceps isn’t just for show, it can actually help improve your performance in other lifts such as the barbell row and lat pull-down, both of which activate the biceps during the movement.

Improve Athletic Performance

The supinated curl can also offer some benefits to athletic performance too. Any sport that involves throwing, rowing, swinging, and other motions along these lines, often depend on strong biceps.

For this reason, incorporating biceps curls into your workout routine can help you perform these kinds of motions better, giving you the extra edge you’re seeking over your competitors.

Improve Aesthetics

It’s no surprise that everybody wants bigger and better-looking arms. Having big arms is a hugely sought-after aesthetic goal. If you’re one of these people, the supinated curl is a no-brainer exercise for developing bigger, more defined biceps.

How to Do Supinated Curls

Now we have covered the many benefits of supinated curls, it’s time to learn how to perform this simple exercise!

For this exercise, you only need a set of dumbbells. We recommend starting off light and building up in weight as you become more comfortable with the movement.

For the setup:

  • Grab the pair of dumbbells and hold with your palms facing forward
  • Stand around shoulder-width apart

For the action:

  • While engaging your core and back, contract your biceps to curl the weight upwards
  • Squeeze your biceps at the top of the movement and pause for a moment
  • Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps

Some tips:

Choose a lightweight to begin with and aim to complete 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps.

As you feel more comfortable with the motion, you can build up to a more challenging weight with a lower rep range, such as 6-8 reps for 3-4 sets.

Supinated Curl: Common Mistakes

As we mentioned before, bicep curls often get a bad reputation for being poorly performed. So, to maximize the benefits from this movement, look out for these common errors:

Rounding the back

Rounding your back in any movement can put a lot of stress on your spine, increasing your risk of serious injury.

Ensure your back is engaged and straight throughout the movement, as well as your shoulders pinned back.

Using too much momentum

This is often the case when the dumbbells are too heavy. If you feel like you need momentum to lift the dumbbells, you should drop the weight.

Leave your ego at the door and ensure you are really making the most out of this movement by focusing on proper form. This will actually help increase your gains compared to lifting a weight that’s too heavy.

Rushing the movement

We are largely referring to the eccentric part of this movement here (when you are lowering the dumbbell). Try to avoid letting the weight drop and ensure you are in full control of the weight as you return to the starting position.

Lifting the dumbbells can be a more explosive motion, though lowering them must be slow and controlled, helping you to maintain the tension in the working muscle!

The Take-Home

Supinated curls are an easy but effective movement for improving bicep strength, size, and appearance.

While they are an easy movement, you often find that they are poorly performed. Ensure you are maximizing the movement by keeping your back straight, lifting an appropriate weight, and not rushing the motion.

Bicep curls should form part of a balanced strength program, helping to increase size and strength, as well as help improve athletic performance!