Cable Single Arm Curl
- Grasp the D-handle attached to a low pulley with a closed, supinated grip (the back of your palm facing you).
- Extend elbow, keeping a slight bend in elbow.
- Stand straight with feet shoulder width apart, keeping a slight bend in the knees.
- Keep upper arm of working arm tucked against torso and perpendicular to the floor.
Upward movement/concentric phase:
- Flex the elbow until the handle is 4 to 6 inches away from the front of shoulder(s).
- Keep standing straight and upper arm tucked against side of torso.
Downward movement/eccentric phase:
- In a controlled fashion, allow the elbow to extend back to the starting position.
- Keep standing straight, only the elbow joint is to be moving as it extends.
FAQ'S & FACTS ABOUT Cable Single Arm Curl
What Is A Biceps Cable Single Arm Curl?
A single arm 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 a D-handle attachment. The exercise is performed standing and isolates the contraction of one biceps at a time, per set. Performing curls with cable tension provides constant resistance throughout the entire range of motion. 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 single arm cable curl is to strengthen the biceps while promoting hypertrophy (increases in size) of the biceps.
Why Do Biceps Cable Single Arm Curls?
Single Arm Cable curls strengthen and increase the size of the biceps brachii, brachialis and brachioradialis. Single arm cable curls provide a variation in tension and stress placed on the biceps and can be incorporated in a biceps exercise regimen. This exercise allows the lifter to focus on one arm per set, isolating the biceps of the working arm.
Although it is primarily an exercise for aesthetics, single arm cable curls also serve as an auxiliary exercise that can increase strength involved in other multi-joint exercises.
Anatomy Of A Biceps Cable Single Arm 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 cable 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.
The subscapularis works in conjunction with the other three rotator cuff muscles to stabilize the shoulder joint during this exercise.
Variations Of A Biceps Cable Single Arm Curl
Single arm reverse cable curl, single arm cable curl 21’s.
How To Improve Your Biceps Cable Single Arm 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.
In order to improve flexion performance through “sticking points”, partial repetition ranges may be implemented. For example, performing Single Arm Cable Curl 21’s - partial repetitions from starting position to mid-flexion (flexion at 90 degrees), followed by repetitions from mid-flexion to full flexion, followed by full range of motion repetitions. Intensity and volume of this type of protocol should be implemented in accordance with your goals.
The single arm cable curl complements the strategic variation of biceps exercises to target different angles and grips that can result in optimal muscle activation. The unilateral nature of this exercise allows the lifter to focus on and isolate the contractions of each arm. This, in turn, complements biceps exercises that entail simultaneous flexion of both arms.
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 Single Arm Curls
It is very common to observe an individual swinging their torso in efforts of lifting the weight with more ease. This compromises proper technique and biceps contraction. The biceps curl is a single-joint movement. The single-joint involved is the elbow joint. If you find yourself depending on momentum from swinging your torso to lift the weight, you may want to decrease the weight to prevent injury.
Standing on an unstable surface or with an unstable stance can also compromise technique. Your feet are your foundation and should be in a position of stability. If you are looking to maximize the contraction of your biceps, ensure that your feet are shoulder width apart with a slight bend in the knees. Stand on a flat surface. Standing with one foot in front of the other during a cable curl can also compromise balance and decrease the potential for optimal muscle contraction.
Injuries Or Ailments & Their Effects Regarding Biceps Cable Single Arm Curls
If proper technique is not adhered to (e.g. swinging of the torso, dropping the weight quickly instead of controlling the descent on the eccentric portion of the lift), the likelihood of back and/or 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 biceps exercises when addressing impingement syndrome/rotator cuff injury unless advised by a physical therapist.