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Bicep cable workouts

bicep cable workouts

The bicep cable workouts is a variant of the conventional biceps curl, whose main modification is that instead of using a barbell or a dumbbell, it uses a barbell hooked to a pulley.

Although it may seem like a very similar exercise to the conventional barbell biceps curl, it is quite far from how to work it. Those of you who have ever done it will notice the differences between working with one and the other.

Personally, I like the cable biceps curl better to pump up the arms, but for strength gains, I’ll definitely stick with the pull-ups or the barbell bicep cable workouts. Then it depends, also a lot, on the personal genetics of each one and which exercise suits us best.

 

However, what is certain is that it is a more than interesting exercise to introduce into our arm training routines, as it will help us to give variety and work the biceps in a different way.

Muscles involved in the High Pulley Curl

This exercise targets the biceps brachii (2 heads of the bicep cable workouts), brachialis (half of the arm between the biceps and triceps), and the brachioradialis (forearms) muscles. It’s a great exercise to get a full stretch on the biceps in the “negative” phase, which is the eccentric portion of the movement when the muscle lengthens. bicep cable workouts

bicep cable workouts
bicep cable workouts

 

  • To start, set a weight that is comfortable on each side of the pulley machine. Note: Make sure the amount of weight selected is the same on each side. bicep cable workouts
  • Now adjust the height of the pulleys on each side and make sure they are set higher than your shoulder height. bicep cable workouts
  • Stand in the middle of both sides and use an underhand grip (palms facing the ceiling) to grab each handle. Your arms should be fully extended and parallel to the floor with your feet shoulder width apart. Your body should be evenly aligned with the handles. This is the initial position.
  • As you exhale, slowly squeeze your biceps on each side until your forearms and biceps touch.
  • As you inhale, move your forearms back to the starting position.
  • Repeat for the recommended number of reps prescribed in your program.

 

Top Cable Machine Exercises for Bigger Biceps

Not sure how to begin training your biceps using a cable machine? Here are 12 of the best exercises to get you started!

1. Cable biceps curl

The barbell biceps curl is an excellent mass builder. However, the cable variation could be even better because it keeps the target muscles under constant tension, creating greater occlusion for a better pump. You can do this exercise with a straight bar or if you prefer, an EZ bar attachment. However you do it, cable biceps curls are a viable rival to traditional barbell biceps curls.

 

2. Supine cable biceps curl

If there is a disadvantage to standing cable biceps curls, it is that it’s all too easy to use your legs and lower back to lift the weight. This not only takes tension away from the target muscles but could also lead to injury.

Supine cable biceps are much stricter and provide your back with plenty of support. The result? A safer, even more effective workout for your biceps. bicep cable workouts

 

How to do it:

  1. Attach a straight or EZ bar to a low pulley. Sit on the floor with your legs straight and feet closest to the weight stack. Grab the bar with an underhand, shoulder-width grip. bicep cable workouts
  2. Lie down and straighten your arms. This is your starting position.
  3. Keeping your upper arms close to your sides, bend your elbows and curl the bar up to your shoulders.
  4. Extend your arms and repeat. bicep cable workouts
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3. Overhead biceps cable curls

There aren’t many biceps exercises that are more satisfying than the overhead biceps cable curl. This exercise makes your biceps look HUGE because you’re basically mimicking a double overhead biceps pose. As well as looking cool, this is an effective biceps exercise because you cannot use your legs or back to raise the weights. This is an excellent finishing move to do at the end of your biceps’ workout. Use light to moderate weights and pump out the reps to get a great pump!

4. Cable hammer curls

 

As well as working your biceps, cable hammer curls hit your brachialis and brachioradialis muscles. Located in your upper forearm/lower humerus, these small but crucial muscles will make your forearms thicker and help push your biceps up to make them look bigger. You can do hammer curls with dumbbells, but the cable variation maybe even more effective because of the constant tension on your muscles.

How to do it:

  1. Attach a rope handle to a low pulley. Hold the handle with your thumbs nearest the ends.
  2. Stand up, brace your core, and pull your shoulders down and back. Pin your upper arms into your sides.
  3. Bend your elbows and curl the handles up to your shoulders. Keep your thumbs pointing up, i.e., in a neutral position.
  4. Extend your arms and repeat.

 

5. Cable preacher curls

Preacher curls are a popular exercise. Championed by golden-era bodybuilder Larry Scott, this exercise is also called the Scott curl as it was one of his favorites. Scott was known for his phenomenal biceps, which he attributed to doing lots of preacher curls.

The main disadvantage of preacher curls is that there is much less tension on your biceps as your arms approach vertical. Using a cable machine is an excellent way to overcome this problem.

6. Single arm cable curl

 

This unusual biceps exercise is a lot like incline dumbbell curls in that it extends your upper arm behind you and stretches your biceps at the start of each rep. However, like all cable biceps exercises, it also keeps your biceps under constant tension, which could mean it’s the more productive exercise. Don’t go too heavy too soon with this exercise; overdoing it could lead to shoulder or elbow joint pain.

How to do it:

  1. Attach a D-shaped handle to a low pulley.
  2. With your back to the weight stack, take the pulley in one hand, step forward, and adopt a split stance for balance. Your arm should be extended behind you.
  3. Bend your elbow and curl the weight forward and up to your shoulder.
  4. Extend your arm and repeat.
  5. Do the same number of reps with the opposite arm.

7. Squatting cable curl

They say variety is the spice of life, and that’s especially true when building bigger biceps! New and unusual exercises can help trigger new muscle growth. This unique biceps exercise will hit your arms in an entirely new way. It’s similar to the preacher curl, but the angle of your arms is a little different, and you don’t need a special bench to do it. bicep cable workouts

 

How to do it:

  1. Attach a straight bar or EZ bar to a low pulley. Hold the bar with an underhand, roughly shoulder-width grip. Step back a little and then stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Squat down, so your upper arms rest on your knees. bicep cable workouts

 

  1. Bend your elbows and curl the handle up to your forehead. bicep cable workouts
  2. Extend your arms and repeat. bicep cable workouts

8. Cable spider curls

It’s unclear how spider curls got their name, but this unusual exercise could be the key to unlocking new biceps growth. The spider curl involves lying face down on an incline bench, which means you cannot use your legs or upper back to help lift the weight. It also produces a lot of muscle tension at the top of each rep, hitting the short head of your biceps, which could help you build a higher biceps peak. bicep cable workouts

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How to do it:

  1. Place a bench in front and a couple of feet away from a low pulley. Set the bench to about 45-degrees. Use a straight bar or EZ bar as required. bicep cable workouts
  2. Lie face down on the bench and grab the handle. Your arms should be straight.
  3. Bend your elbows and curl the handle up to your shoulders.
  4. Extend your arms and repeat. bicep cable workouts

9. Cable reverse curls

 

Reverse curls are often viewed as a forearm exercise (which they are!), but they’re also a valuable biceps exercise. Hitting the brachialis and brachioradialis as well as the biceps, this is a total arm exercise. While freeweight reverse curls are pretty good, using cables ensures there is no decrease in muscle tension at the top of each rep.

How to do it:

  1. Attach a straight or EZ bar to a low pulley and hold the handle using a shoulder-width, pronated (palms down) grip. bicep cable workouts
  2. Stand up, brace your core, and pull your shoulders down and back. Pin your upper arms into your sides.
  3. Bend your elbows and curl the handle up to your shoulders.
  4. Extend your arms and repeat. bicep cable workouts

10. Cable concentration curl

Concentration curls are a popular biceps exercise. Usually done with dumbbells, this is a very strict exercise that all but eliminates any chance of cheating. It’s not the best mass builder but, for a pump and maximum muscle tension, it’s hard to beat. Using a cable machine instead of a dumbbell means your biceps are stressed throughout the entire range of motion and not just the last half of each rep.

 

How to do it:

  1. Place a bench next to a cable machine and attach a D-shaped handle to the low pulley.
  2. Sit on the bench and grab the handle with your nearest arm. Place your upper arm inside and against your thigh. bicep cable workouts

 

  1. Keeping your arm in contract with your leg, bend your elbow and curl the handle up toward your opposite shoulder. bicep cable workouts
  2. Extend your arm and repeat.
  3. Do the same number of reps on both arms. bicep cable workouts
  4. You can also do this exercise standing, i.e., bent over with your upper arm resting against your inner thigh.

11. Supine cable curls on bench

Back in exercise #2, we introduced you to supine curls performed with a low pulley and while lying on the floor. This supine curl variation involves a bench and a high pulley to hit your arms from an entirely new angle. It’s not better or worse than the original supine cable curl, but it certainly is different. Variation can help keep you out of workout ruts and ensure your biceps keep getting bigger and stronger!

 

How to do it:

  1. Place a bench beneath your pulley machine. Attach a straight or EZ bar to the high pulley. Grab the bar with an underhand, shoulder-width grip. bicep cable workouts
  2. With your back to the pulley, lie down on the bench and extend your arms above you. This is your starting position.

 

  1. Bend your arms and curl the handle down to your forehead.
  2. Extend your arms and repeat. bicep cable workouts

12. Seated cable biceps curls

This exercise looks like you are about to do a set of seated rows. But, instead of working your lats, you’re going to do a challenging type of curl that’s bound to make your biceps grow! Tension is high as you flex your elbows, which hits the short head of your biceps and could help you build a higher peak. bicep cable workouts

 

How to do it:

  1. Attach a straight or EZ bar to a cable seated row machine. Sit on the machine and grab the handle with an underhand, shoulder-width grip. Sit up straight, pull your shoulders down and back, and brace your core. Extend your arms. bicep cable workouts
  2. Bend your elbows and curl the handle up to your forehead.
  1. Straighten your arms and repeat. bicep cable workouts
  2. You can also do this exercise using a low cable machine.

Cable Machine Biceps Workout  

While you could just pick a few cable biceps exercises and hope for the best, you’ll get better results if you follow a more prescriptive training program. Do this workout 1-2 times per week to ignite biceps growth. If you do it twice, make sure there is a couple of days between workouts to allow for repair and recovery, e.g., Monday and Thursday. bicep cable workouts

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Before you start, make sure you warm up your biceps with a few minutes of light cardio followed by dynamic mobility and flexibility exercises for your elbows and shoulders.

How are bicep cable workouts performed?

To correctly execute the cable bicep cable workouts, we must first place a bar hooked to a pulley, in a position that allows us to place the arms extended, emulating the starting position of other workouts.

With a supine grip, we will hold the bar tightly, and with the palms of our hands at shoulder height, with our feet slightly open and with our knees semi-flexed (very slightly), we will begin to lift the bar. It is important that we keep our back straight, with our chest out, to avoid possible injuries resulting from poor execution.

 

We will take the bar until the arms are completely contracted, being the arms and not our back the one in charge of executing the lift. Once up, we will hold 1-2 seconds to promote muscle congestion and we will return, again, to the starting position. bicep cable workouts

Why is this exercise important?

The key to this exercise is to isolate and develop the muscles of the upper arm. Using cable to target your biceps ensures that you maintain resistance on both the concentric (curling motion) and eccentric (muscle lengthening) portions of this movement. bicep cable workouts

 

This is a true isolation exercise for bicep cable workouts, so you’ll want to make sure your elbows are in a fixed position, so focus on moving your forearms back and forth without moving your elbows up and down.

By training your upper body, you’ll help increase your lean muscle mass, which will help speed up your metabolic rate and lose body fat. Having an increased BMR helps your body burn extra calories even at rest. This is because lean muscle is a very metabolically active tissue and burns many more calories than adipose tissue (body fat).

What muscles does the bicep cable workouts?

The bicep cable workouts, as we usually indicate in practically all the variants, is usually very close to the original movement in terms of muscles worked. The secret of this type of exercise is to promote the stimulation of these muscle fibers in a different way and thus cause a greater evolution.

  • brachial biceps
  • brachial
  • brachioradialis
  • wrist flexor muscles
  • front delts
  • middle trapezius

All of the exercises in this program are described above.

No. Exercise Sets Reps Recovery
1 Supine cable biceps curl 4 6-8 90 seconds
2 Cable hammer curls 3 8-10 90 seconds
3 Single arm cable curl 2 10-12 60 seconds
4 Cable spider curls 2 10-12 60 seconds
5 Cable concentration curl 2 12-15 45 seconds

Wrapping Up

There isn’t a bodybuilder alive who doesn’t want bigger, harder, stronger biceps. Well-developed biceps are a badge of honor and are often what separates a good physique from an excellent one.

Barbell and dumbbell curls can help you build the arms of your dreams, but they have limitations too. The main issue is that, depending on the exercise performed, there may be a drop-off in muscle tension partway through your reps. That makes some freeweight biceps exercise less efficient.

Using cables keeps your muscles under tension for longer. Also, it means you can attack your biceps from a greater variety of angles. In short, using cables is the smart way to develop bigger, more muscular arms.

Add the exercises in this article to your arm routine, or try our cable machine biceps workout. Either way, if you want to build your best biceps ever, cable exercises can help.

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