Preacher Curls

For those looking to improve their upper arm strength, the Preacher Curl is a fantastic exercise to add to a workout routine. 

A variation of the classic bicep curl, this tried and tested curl can be done with both a weight stack and a free weight rack, making it a versatile choice for upper-arm strength building. 

Preacher Curl Development

The preacher curl was developed by Mr. Olympia winner Larry Scott in the 1960s, and was designed to focus on the strength and size of the biceps. 

Interestingly enough, Scott got a lot of his techniques from his mentor, Vince Gironda, who had insisted that Scott work more on his biceps. 

By the time the 1970s rolled around, many in the weightlifting community referred to the preacher curl as the “Scott Bench”. 

A Bicep Curl Variation

A preacher curl is a variation of the bicep curl that’s designed to work both the biceps and a few more of the upper arm muscles. 

The exercise focuses on the lower biceps, or brachialis muscle. It can be done either standing or sitting with a dumbbell or barbell, making it an exercise that adjusts to your needs and the equipment you have on hand. 

Determining How To Do Your Preacher Curls

To get ready for the preacher curl: 

  1. Determine whether you want to perform the exercise sitting or standing. If you will be standing, make sure that you have access to a preacher bench. 
  2. Make sure that you have the appropriate weights for the exercise, and adjust your barbell or dumbbells accordingly. 
  3. Ideally, you’ll have another person to hand you the dumbbell or barbell to begin the exercise. If not, keep the weight on the front bar rest of the preacher bench. 

Getting Started On The Preacher Bench

Once you’re ready to start: 

  1. Press your chest against the preacher bench pad and hold your weights at shoulder length. 
  2. Carefully lower the weights until your upper arm is fully extended. Inhale. 
  3. Use your biceps to curl the weights up towards you until they’re at shoulder height. Exhale and maintain this position for a few counts. 
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 for your desired number of repetitions. 

The Preacher Curl And Benefits Of Negative Movement

Unlike the bicep curl, the preacher curl uses negative movement to help improve your muscle growth and strength.

The exercise not only works out the main part of your biceps, but also engages other upper arm muscles for a more well-rounded workout. 

Single-Arm And Kettlebell Preacher Curls

If you want to switch the preacher curl up during your next workout: 

  • Try a single-arm preacher curl. This will help focus your efforts more on one side of your body. 
  • If you don’t have dumbbells or a barbell, or would like to switch your routine, you can also use a cable machine or kettlebells to achieve a similar effect. 

Strengthen Your Upper Arms 

With the preacher curl, your upper arms will get the attention they need from your next workout. By focusing on the technique and specifications of the preacher curl, your entire upper-body weight training regimen will benefit!

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