Resistance training is critical for optimizing athletic performance because it allows for muscle strength, endurance, and speed. Resistance training, which causes muscle hypertrophy, is critical for strength athletes such as bodybuilders. To optimize muscle hypertrophy, bodybuilders design training programs that include exercises that isolate individual muscles using various exercise variations or ranges of motion to increase muscle activity. Cable curls are one of those exercises which focus on targeting the elbow flexors (biceps, brachia, and brachialis). This exercise mainly aims at inducing muscular hypertrophy of the elbow flexors. The standard and most common method of doing cable curls is a standing cable curl.
How to do Cable Curls?
Having large biceps are essential for fitness enthusiasts. There are different exercises and methods to maintain your biceps. One prevalent exercise which is usually done is cable curls. A cable curl is a standing dumbbell curl that is performed with a cable machine rather than dumbbells. Cable curls necessitate the use of a machine with a low pulley cable bar resistance.
The cable is situated in or near the floor of this type of machine. Capture the guide with an underhand grip on the palms facing up to perform a cable curl. Stay close to the machine and tuck your arms from shoulders to elbows on your sides while raising the bar to your shoulders. Reduce the bar to aid your movement without allowing gravity.
Types of Cable Curls
You can do cable curls in a variety of ways. You can improve your forms and select the types with which you are most comfortable. These variations include:
Rope Cable Curl
By catching the low pulley rope cable with a shoulder-width underhand grip and raising it until forearms are vertical, this exercise targets your Biceps muscles (especially the long head muscle), as well as your Forearms, Shoulders, and Traps muscles.
High Cable Curl
Adjust an incline bench to approximately 45 degrees and position it in front of a high-cable pulley equipped with a short straight bar. Take a seat at the bar and lean back on the bench. Straighten your arms and angle them upward toward the pulley. Curl the bar toward the forehead without using your shoulders or upper arms. For 1–2 seconds, hold the peak contraction while actively flexing the biceps. Return the bar to its starting position gradually.
Reverse Cable Curl
Maintain an upright posture by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Place your palms down on the handle (pronated). During the curl, keep your elbows tucked to your sides and exhale as you raise the weight. During the curl, concentrate on consciously contracting/flexing the bicep muscle. Return the weight to its starting position slowly. During the exercise, do not swing your body and use momentum to curl the weight up. Reduce your weight if you find yourself swinging.
One arm Cable Curl
Grip a handle tied to the lower pulley with a supinated/open wrist position from a standing position. Curl up in a semicircular arc while keeping your elbow by your side. Squeeze at the point of maximum contraction before gradually dropping the weight to the starting spot. Before curling up for another repetition, lower the weight until the arms are entirely extended.
Lying Cable Curl
Lie down on the floor or a horizontal bench. Place your feet on the floor if you’re on the bench. If you lie on the floor, you can press your feet against the machine. With an underhand grip on the machine handles, slightly bend your elbows. Bend your elbows and slowly raise the handle as you exhale. At the top, pause for 1-2 seconds. Inhale when you get back to the starting position.
Benefits of Cable Curls
If you’re in the gym, perform a standard standing bicep curl. As you raise the cable pulley, your biceps curl into a ‘cannonball’ position. As you gradually lower the cable, your biceps resist the weight while extending.
On the other hand, cables maintain tension on the muscle throughout the movement, as the weight stack being lifted is suspended. It increases the tension in the muscle, resulting in increased microtrauma, which stimulates additional muscle growth.
Additionally, you can attach various handles to the pulley of a cable machine to attack your biceps from various angles. Bear in mind that your biceps (like any other muscle group) grow due to injury. Therefore, what is the optimal method for incorporating effective muscle damage? Tension your muscles to stimulate growth.
Cable Curls vs. Dumbbell Curls
If we talk about cable curls and dumbbell curls, both are good for biceps; however, cable curls provide more tension than dumbbells. Although dumbbell variations of a particular exercise typically involve less overload or tension on the muscle, they are a very effective tool for correcting and preventing imbalances resulting in training plateaus.
Also, one more difference between cable curls and dumbbell curls is that cable curls provide equal resistance at all angles. In contrast, in dumbbell curls, resistance fluctuates when you move your arms at different angles. As you know that each type of training provides different advantages whether it’s with cable or dumbbell. Therefore it is essential to incorporate both in your workout routine to get the best-balanced results.
Things you must avoid while doing Cable Curls?
There are a few things to avoid when performing cable curls, including
- Using too much weight, as your hand and forearm may not be strong enough to stabilize the weight in your grip, affecting your wrist position. If your wrist is not neutral, the force can be displaced into your forearm, increasing the load on the elbow. As a result, it is possible to experience elbow pain while cable curling.
- Maintaining a setup and posture while doing cable curls, having proper attachments, and using them efficiently with appropriate postures is essential.
- Another significant mistake that people usually make is maintaining proper distance between legs and machine. Sometimes people stand too far away from the machine while doing cable curls which isn’t harmful but doesn’t focus on the muscle flexor properly.
- Jumping while doing cable curls is also a widespread mistake that you must avoid. The only reason for doing cable curls is to grow your bicep muscles, but jumping while doing cable curls does not help biceps muscle; it mainly trains your calf muscles or leg muscles. Therefore make sure not to jump while doing cable curls but to stay on a restricted movement.
- Range of motion and breathing is essential while doing exercise with cable curls. Sometimes people don’t do full contractions with the range of motion, which is down and up, but move it till halfway. When we talk about breathing, so the correct way of breathing while doing cable curls to inhale, when to move your arms down, and exhale when you move it up.
Best techniques to do Cable Curls
The best way to do proper curling is by making sure you have a cable machine. Select your attachment and ensure that it is set to the lowest setting possible (closest to the floor).
Take a shoulder-width grip on the cable attachment, either underhand or palms facing upward. Assemble a confident stance with your feet shoulder-width apart close to the cable pulley machine.
First, maintain a static position for your upper arms, elbows close to your torso, and curl the weights up while contracting your biceps. The forearms should be the only part of the body that should move. Continue contracting your biceps until they are completely contracted. The bar will be positioned at shoulder height. Squeeze the muscle after a one-count pause. Return to your starting position gradually. Move exceptionally slowly and allow the negative portion of the movement to aid in developing size and strength. Allow the weight stack to come into contact with the ground before beginning your second repetition. Repeat for the specified number of times.
As we know, resistance training is essential for muscle strength and strength athletes like bodybuilding. Having large biceps is one of the most common preferences of a bodybuilder or fitness freaks. Therefore, there are different training methods and techniques to have large biceps, and cable curls are commonly performed in every gym that focuses only on biceps or bicep brachia. There are various techniques and ways of doing cable curls, such as standing cable curls, rope cable curls, overhead cable curls, reverse cable curls, one hand cable curls, lying cable curls, etc. The one fundamental method is the standing cable curl.
Cable curls have many advantages if we compare them with other bicep training exercises such as dumbbell curls or barbell curls because cable curls provide more tension to the muscles than dumbbell curls or barbells curls and it also provides equal resistance to the bicep muscles. People usually make common mistakes while performing cable curls which is very important to avoid for effective muscle growth of your biceps, such as incorrect gripping, inappropriate posture, improper distance from the machine, jumping while curling, etc. It is imperative to do cable curls appropriately with proper technique to get the best results and avoid harming your muscles.