Preacher Curl Alternative – What is The Best?

By Walter Oconner | Fitness & Exercises


Preacher curl is a terrific exercise and should be a staple of every gym rat, at least when it comes to biceps isolation movements. However, although it has some obvious benefits, it has its drawbacks.

In this article, we will talk about the preacher curl, why it's good, but also why it isn't always the best option. Lastly, we will display some exercises to choose as a preacher curl alternative. Let's jump right in.

Concentration Curls - The Best Preacher Curl Alternative


This movement is the closest it gets to a dumbbell preacher curl, without the preacher station. It minimizes the cheating opportunity, as there will be no swinging if done correctly. Also, it requires no dedicated preacher curl. And because of the position, blood will rush into your arms, giving you a massive pump. Here's how to do it:

  1. You sit on the edge of a bench with your legs spread apart while letting the dumbbell hang between your legs.
  2. Your arm should be pressed against your thigh or knee, depending on your build and arm length.
  3. Rotate your arm, the idea is that your palm faces away from your leg
  4. The dumbbell should hang just above the floor.
  5. Now curl the weight up. Make sure your upper arm doesn't move, the elbow should remain fixed against your thigh.
  6. Fully flex your biceps, pause at the top, then slowly return to the starting (bottom) position while maintaining full control. That's one rep.
  7. Make sure you don't use momentum when you start rep 2. And don't forget to switch hands.

Curls Over An Incline Bench


While this movement requires a bench, you don't need an actual preacher curl station. If you have an adjustable bench at your (home) gym, you are good to go:

  1. Set a bench to an incline. Anything more than 90 degrees will work.
  2. Stand behind the bench.
  3. While holding a dumbbell, place your hand over the inclined backrest, your elbow fixed firmly. Your chest should lie on the top part of the bench.
  4. Extend your hand all the way you can, without losing the stability in your elbow. That's the starting position.
  5. Now, flex your biceps and raise the weight. Your upper arm shouldn't move, and your elbow should remain in full contact with the bench all the way throughout the movement.
  6. Pause at the top and slowly lower the weight to the starting (bottom) position.
  7. That's one rep. Complete the desired amount, and switch hands.

Curls While Lying On An Incline Bench

This movement also requires an inclined bench, but it is EZ-bar friendly, which means you can do it with both hands. The move is great because it completely kills-off momentum, so no cheating. You can do it with dumbells too. Here are the steps:

  1. Set a bench to a 45-degree incline.
  2. Lie on it, stomach down.
  3. Hold an EZ bar hanging down at arm's length.
  4. Without letting your upper arms move, curl the bar to a full biceps flex, and pause for a second.
  5. While maintaining control, lower the bar back to the starting position, slowly.
  6. Repeat the prescribed number of repetitions.

Triple-stop EZ bar biceps curl


This one is more of an alternative to regular biceps curl than to a preacher curl. But, because stopping the movement kills off momentum completely, you will get the main benefit a preacher curl. Here is the how-to:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, while holding an EZ bar hanging in your fully extended hands.
  2. Without moving your upper arm and elbow, flex your biceps fully as in a regular biceps curl.
  3. Now, on the return, you need to pause the movement three times for one second:

The first pause is just slightly lower than the top position.

The second pause is on the middle of the movement, with your elbows at 90 degrees.

The third and final pause is just before the bottom position, with your arms almost fully extended.

 Rest for one second at the bottom and repeat the movement for the needed amount of reps. This exercise is a killer, you won't be able to do too much

There you have it, folks, that was our take on the preacher curl and its alternatives. If you can't do the old-school favorite for whatever reason, these exercises we suggested will do the trick, with much less equipment. But even regular curls are excellent, as long as you don't cheat. Just stay persistent, and your guns will grow.

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About the Author

Hi everyone, I am Walter, Main Editor of and a Fitness Trainer with over 4 years of experience. I’ve also been promoting clean eating, a healthy lifestyle, and Organic products.