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Cable Incline Bicep Curl vs. Dumbbell Incline Curls 
Who Wins When It Comes To Growing Arms?

Incline Bicep Curl

The Cable Incline Bicep Curl - Table of Contents

1: Introduction

2: Muscles Worked

3: Incline Dumbbell Curl vs. Cable Incline Bicep Curls

4: How To Do Incline Bicep Curls

5: Reps, Sets and RIR

6: The 5 Minute Bicep Curl Workout

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The Cable Incline Bicep Curl or Incline Dumbbell Curls?  If you chose the Incline dumbbell Curl, I’m going to show you why the Incline Bicep Curl shouldn’t be counted out when it comes to growing serious guns!

Psymon H

I’m Psymon H., the 50-something-year-old war-horse, making his name from improving physiques and growing natural muscle with minimal equipment. In this article, we'll discuss the differences between Cable Incline Bicep Curls and Incline db Curls.

First, I'll explain the differences between the two exercises. Next, I’ll show you how best to execute Cable Incline Bicep Curls for maximum growth and how to perform the exercise if you train at home and don’t have access to an overhead cable pulley system. 

To end this exercise tutorial, I'll also share a 5-minute incline Bicep Curl workout you can do for a crazy pump and serious growth potential.

5 Day Dumbbell Workout Plan

Incline Bicep Curl Muscles Worked:

Incline Bicep Curl Muscles Worked:

Incline curls are an isolation exercise that uses a "pull force" to target the bicep muscle. It mainly targets and activates the three flexor muscles located on the front of the arm called the bicep brachii, brachioradialis, and the brachii.

The biceps brachii has two heads or origins. This is where the 'bi' in biceps comes from. It crosses two joints – the elbow and the shoulder meaning that it can influence the movement of both joints.

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Dumbbell Incline Curls vs. Cable Incline Bicep Curls:

Dumbbell Incline Curls vs. Cable Incline Bicep Curls:


Cable Incline Bicep Curls vs. db Incline Curls

If both exercises are curl movements designed to work the biceps, why would they not feel the same?

When we work with dumbbells, we're essentially working against gravity. The exercise feels hardest when the dumbbell is at a 90-degree angle to the working muscle.

When you start an incline dumbbell curl, the first portion of the movement is easy compared to when the dumbbells reach a right angle to the bicep muscle.

When you lift the dumbbell any higher than 90-degrees, you take away much-needed stress from the muscle. If you're not sure what I mean, just curl a dumbbell past the 90-degree angle. You'll notice that you can keep it in this position for quite a while.

Try the curl again but this time curl the dumbbell to a 90-degree angle and let’s see how long you can hold the position without letting the dumbbell drop.

When you use cables, the weight and tension are distributed much more evenly throughout the movement.

 You can also work to strengthen the area that connects the bicep to its origin on the scapula, which is often a weak and overlooked area, and where most bicep tears happen.

 After everything has been said and done - In my opinion both exercises hold merit when it comes to growing biceps.

Incline db Curl

Five Day Dumbbell Workout Plan

5 Day Dumbbell Workout Plan for Muscle Growth

How to do Incline Bicep Curls Using a Cable:

We'll perform the incline cable curls slightly differently from how you'd expect by using two rope attachments instead of handles so we can include one of the major roles of the biceps, supination.  

Items Needed: An overhead pulley system, incline bench, and two rope attachments. (This can also be done using two resistance bands and an overhead anchor.)

Setup: Attach the two ropes to the overhead pulley and pull them through so they become two long ropes. Set your bench at a 60-degree angle a few feet away, facing the station.

Cue 1: Grab each rope with a pronated grip (palms down) and sit back on the incline bench.

Cue 2: Lift your chest and tense your core.

Cue 3: To start the exercise movement, turn your wrist into a supinated position as you begin to curl.

Cue 4: As you curl the ropes closer to your head, lift your elbows slightly and squeeze the biceps hard before returning your arms to the pronated position at the beginning of the exercise.

Try to keep your back in contact with the bench by only moving your arms.

To avoid using your front delts; your shoulders must remain locked while performing the exercise.

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Seated Incline Dumbbell Curl

Incline Bicep Curl Reps, Sets, and Reps in Reserve:

For reps and reps in reserve (RIR), you could use anything from 5 – 20 repetitions per set, aiming to leave 1-2 repetitions in reserve. This will ensure you're achieving maximum motor unit recruitment on all working sets. Your sets will depend on your training structure, recovery, fatigue, and training age, but 3 to 5 sets would be a good range.

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The 5 Minute Incline Bicep Curl Workout:

If you want to turn your training up a notch, make this 5-minute bicep workout your next move.

Rep Targeting:

To complete the incline bicep curl workout, you set a rep target and achieve that repetition goal no matter how many sets it takes to reach the target. This workout is recommended for late intermediate and advanced lifters, and should not be done by novice or early intermediate lifters.

Let’s say that the rep target for this workout is 50 repetitions. You choose a weight that allows you 15 reps to failure. This is an example of how the workout could go.


You achieved 15 reps on your first set.


• You rest for up to 30 seconds


• You perform 10 reps to failure


• Rest up to 30 seconds


• Achieve 8 reps to failure


• Rest up to 30 seconds


• Complete 7 reps to failure


• Rest up 30 seconds


• Perform 5 repetitions to failure


• Rest 30 seconds


• Perform 5 reps to failure


• Complete!

Incline Drag Curl

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