Dumbbell Incline Curl

Start Position
End Position

Starting position:

  1. Lie, face-up, on a 30- to 45-degree incline bench.
  2. Grasp two dumbbells with a closed grip.
  3. Extend elbows, allowing the arms to hang straight downward from your shoulders at the sides of the bench.
  4. Rotate your wrists to that your grip is supinated (palms are facing upward) throughout the entire movement.

Upward movement/concentric phase:

  1. Flex the elbows until the dumbbell is 4 to 6 inches away from the front of shoulder(s).
  2. Maintain the shoulders and body in their beginning position as only the elbows are to be flexing.

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: Rotator cuff muscles and anterior deltoid
  • Type: Strength, hypertrophy
  • Mechanics: Elbow flexion
  • Equipment: Dumbbells and a bench
  • Lever: 3rd class lever
  • Level: Intermediate to advanced
  • FAQ'S & FACTS ABOUT Dumbbell Incline Curl

    What Is A Biceps Dumbbell Incline Curl?

    An incline dumbbell curl is a resistance exercise, which involves the primary elbow flexors, the brachialis and biceps brachii. The exercise is performed while lying face-up on an inclined bench. The incline dumbbell curl is a variation of the traditional standing biceps curl in which the back is rested on a bench, preventing movement of the body (i.e. momentum from swinging torso) while isolating the biceps. Performing incline dumbbell curls entails a greater stretch and tension on the biceps at the beginning position. While the arms remain in a fixed position throughout the lift, the lowered arm position (extended shoulders during elbow flexion) allows the lifter to target the long head of the biceps brachii. Placing tension on the long head of the biceps brachii complements overall hypertrophy of the biceps and helps develop the “peak” of the muscle.

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

    Why Do Biceps Dumbbell Incline Curls?

    Incline dumbbell curls strengthen and increase the size of the biceps brachii, brachialis and brachioradialis from a different angle. Incorporating incline dumbbell curls into a well-strategized exercise regimen can help increase force production of the biceps brachii.

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

    Anatomy Of A Biceps Dumbbell Incline 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 during elbow flexion, 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 rotator cuff muscles (subscapularis, supraspinatus, infraspinatus and teres minor) and anterior deltoid stabilize the shoulder joint during this exercise.

    Variations Of A Biceps Dumbbell Incline Curl

    Wide grip, narrow grip, hammer curl, lying on a flat bench (lying dumbbell curls).

    How To Improve Your Biceps Dumbbell Incline Curl

    Incline dumbbell curls are implemented in a training program to improve biceps exercise performance and strength gains. Strategically varying your bicep exercises to target different angles and grips can result in optimal muscle activation that increases strength and hypertrophy of the biceps.

    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.

    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 Dumbbell Incline 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.

    Flexing and extending the neck during the exercise may result in injury.

    Overextending the elbow (letting the arms go too far back) can hyperextend the shoulder joint and increase the risk of injury.

    Injuries Or Ailments & Their Effects Regarding Biceps Dumbbell Incline 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 and/or shoulder 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.