Cable Lying Curl

Start Position
End Position

Starting position:

  1. Grasp a straight bar attached to a low pulley with a closed, supinated grip (palms facing upward) and shoulder width grip.
  2. Lie on your back with feet placed flat on the floor adjacent to pulley.
  3. Keep arms tucked at your sides through out the set.
  4. Extend elbows, keeping a slight bend in the elbows and resting the bar on the front of thighs.

Upward movement/concentric phase:

  1. Flex the elbows, curling the bar towards your upper body.
  2. Keep arms tucked at your sides.
Do not swing or jerk the body as the weight is lifted.

Downward movement/eccentric phase:

    1. In a controlled fashion, allow the elbows to extend back to the starting position.
Do not hold your breath. Exhale during the concentric phase and inhale during the eccentric phase.

Exercise Data

  • Primary Muscles: Biceps brachii and brachialis
  • Synergists: Brachioradialis
  • Stabilizers: Forearm flexors (flexor carpi radialis and flexor carpi ulnaris)
  • Type: Strength, hypertrophy, muscular endurance
  • Mechanics: Elbow flexion
  • Equipment: Cable with floor pulley, bench and straight bar attachment
  • Lever: 3rd class lever
  • Level: Intermediate to advanced
  • FAQ'S & FACTS ABOUT Cable Lying Curl

    What Is A Biceps Cable Lying Curl?

    A lying cable curl is a resistance exercise, which involves the primary elbow flexors, the brachialis and biceps brachii. This exercise requires a cable with a floor pulley and straight bar attachment. The exercise is performed while lying face-up on a bench. The lying cable curl is a variation of the traditional standing biceps curl in which the back and upper arms are rested on a bench (or on the floor), preventing movement of the body (i.e. momentum from swinging torso) while isolating the biceps. Performing curls with cable tension provides constant resistance throughout the entire range of motion. This exercise can also be performed lying on the floor adjacent to a cable floor pulley or on the bench of a seated row bench.

    The concentric portion of the lift is elbow flexion, which involves the lifting of the weight. The eccentric portion is elbow extension, which involves the descent of the weight.

    The purpose of the lying biceps curl is to strengthen the biceps while promoting hypertrophy (increases in size) of the biceps.

    Why Do Biceps Cable Lying Curls?

    Lying biceps curls strengthen and increase the size of the biceps brachii, brachialis and brachioradialis from different angle and with constant tension throughout the range of motion. The lying position also allows the lifter to isolate the activation of their biceps more effectively. Incorporating lying cable curls into a well-strategized exercise regimen can help increase force production of the biceps brachii.

    Although it is primarily an exercise for aesthetics, lying cable curls also serve as an auxiliary exercise that can increase strength involved in other multi-joint exercises.

    Anatomy Of A Biceps Cable Lying Curl

    The biceps brachii is located on the front of the arm, originating at the shoulder and inserting in the elbow joint. It consists of two heads, the long head (outer portion) and the short head (inner portion). The long head tendon helps stabilize the shoulder joint and its origin is located at the tubercle and lip of the glenoid cavity of the scapula (shoulder blade). The short head origin is located at the coracoid process of the scapula. The long and short head unite as the muscle bellies run down the front of the arm. Both heads merge, sharing insertion into the radial tuberosity of the elbow joint.

    The biceps brachii flexes the elbow joint and supinates the forearm. Supination refers to the simultaneous rotation of the wrist and elbow as the palm of your hand faces upward.

    The brachialis lies underneath the biceps brachii, originating at the front of the lower end of the humerus bone. Its insertion is located at the coronoid process of the ulna at the elbow joint. The brachialis is a primary elbow flexor.

    The brachioradialis aids the biceps brachii and brachialis in the standing biceps curl, helping stabilize the elbow joint.

    Although their contribution is minimal, forearm muscles, palmaris longus, flexor carpi radialis, and pronator teres contribute as weak flexors of the elbow joint.

    Primary forearms flexors, flexor carpi radialis and flexor carpi ulnaris are stabilizers. Both insert at the elbow joint and attach at the metacarpals near the wrist.

    Variations Of A Biceps Cable Lying Curl

    Wide grip, narrow grip, EZ bar handle attachment, high pulley lying cable curl (lifts shoulders off flat bench/floor), lying rope cable curls, incline cable curl.

    How To Improve Your Biceps Cable Lying Curl

    Focus on the concentric portion of the contraction, concentrating on “squeezing” at the end of the flexing portion.

    Emphasis on eccentric contractions, prolonging the eccentric portion of the contraction, may also be incorporated in a training program focused on increasing strength. This should be implemented accordingly and with adequate muscle recovery as eccentric contractions cause substantial damage to muscle tissue.

    Strategically varying your grip with a lying cable curl can result in optimal muscle activation that increases strength and hypertrophy of the biceps.

    It’s important to note that your repetition and set volume will depend on your goals (e.g. strength, hypertrophy, muscular endurance). It is also important to allow adequate recovery days in between biceps training to allow muscles to repair.

    Common Mistakes When Doing Biceps Cable Lying Curls

    Returning the weight to starting position too quickly. Performing the eccentric portion of the lift ballistically (e.g. dropping the weight on the way down, extending the elbows quickly) and/or hyperextending the elbows can result in biceps tendon injuries.

    Injuries Or Ailments & Their Effects Regarding Biceps Cable Lying Curls

    If proper technique is not adhered to (e.g. dropping the weight quickly instead of controlling the descent on the eccentric portion of the lift), the likelihood of a biceps injury increases.

    Although rare, biceps tendon rupture may occur if warm-up is not sufficient and/or if intensity (load) is increased inappropriately.

    If proper recovery is not implemented between training days for optimal muscle repair of the biceps, the biceps tendon becomes inflamed. Without proper rest and treatment, the inflammation remains and results in biceps tendonitis.

    Impingement syndrome and rotator cuff injuries, in general, are commonly associated with biceps tendonitis/biceps tendinosis. Therefore, it’s best to avoid bicep exercises when addressing impingement syndrome/rotator cuff injury unless advised by a physical therapist.