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Preacher Curl

Target Muscles

Biceps brachii, Brachialis.
Also used Brachioradialis.

Starting Position

  • Sit on the seat of a preacher curl machine, adjusting it so that your armpits rest over the top edge of the pad.
  • Hold a barbell with your hands shoulder­width apart, palms facing forwards.
  • Your arms should be fully extended.

The Movement

  • Bend your elbows as you curl the bar up in ,a smooth arc towards your shoulders, stopping about 20-30 cm short of your shoulders.
  • Hold for a count of two; then slowly lower (the bar back to the starting position.


  • Keep your shoulders back and relaxed ­avoid leaning forwards as you curl the bar up or the emphasis will shift from your biceps to your shoulders.
  • Keep your body still and your wrists locked.
  • Lower the bar until your arms are fully extended - shortening the downwards phase will reduce the effectiveness of the exercise.


EZ-bar preacher curl
Preacher curls can be performed using an EZ­bar instead of a straight bar. This reduces the stress on the wrists although it puts the biceps in a biomechanically weaker position so they receive less stimulation.

Dumbbell preacher curl
Preacher curls can be performed with dumbbells, allowing you to concentrate more fully on each repetition because you can perform them one arm at a time.

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