12 Amazing Bicep Exercises With Cables

Published by Roshan S Pillai on

Bicep exercises with cables

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We all want that big and hardcore biceps that make our arms look bigger when we wear a full sleeve shirt. And for that, there are so many amazing free-weight exercises out there. But many people ignore the importance of cable machines while training their biceps.

Here, in this article, we will talk about some best cable exercises for the biceps which will give that amazing pump to the biceps and will make your arm look sharp, strong, and muscular. So without wasting any time, let’s start with the exercises.

1. Standing Straight-bar Curls

This is the most common cable exercise for the biceps. This will isolate the biceps and is a good finisher after some heavy compound movements like barbell curls.

How to do

1. Attach a pulley at the lower part of the cable machine and grab the straight bar with both hands at shoulder-width apart.

2. Now step back and keep your elbows to the sides. You should lean back slightly for balance. This will be your starting position.

3. Start moving the bar up and squeeze your biceps at the top. Make sure to breathe in on the way up.

4. Slowly bring the bar down towards the starting position while breathing out and then repeat the movements.

You should try moderately heavyweight in this exercise. Don’t swing too much and ruin your form. You can also do a drop set at the end of the workout.

2. Cable Preacher Curl

This is another best way to isolate your biceps and to get that great pump! Preacher curls help you in adding that extra peak to your biceps which makes it look bigger and stronger. Preacher curl also targets the long head more according to the study

How to do

1. Attach a bar placed at the lower part of the cable machine and then bring the preacher curl station in front of the cable machine.

2. Sit on the preacher curl station and hold the bar with both hands at shoulder-width apart.

3. From an extended arm position, start pulling the bar and bring it toward the shoulder level. Make sure to completely contract your biceps at the top.

4. Slowly bring the bar back to the starting position and then repeat the exercise with the prescribed number of reps.

You can use a zig-zag bar instead of a straight bar to add a variation to the workout. Zig-zag bar is a great alternative for those who have wrist problems or lacks mobility.

You can do 15-20 reps of 3 sets of these without taking too much rest in between each set (30-45 seconds).

3. Cross Body Cable Curl

Another effective way to use a cable machine! Here, you can focus on each side separately which is good for those who cannot feel their one side working while performing any bicep curl movements.

How to do

1. Attach a handle on a low cable pulley and grab the handle with the opposite hand. This will be your starting position.

2. Stand straight while holding the handle and then start moving the arms up without moving your elbows.

3. Curl up and bring your wrist towards your mid-chest and squeeze your biceps at the top. Breath out on the way up.

4. Slowly return to the starting position and then repeat the movement. Do the same exercise from the other side as well.

If you have a muscular imbalance or if your one arm is bigger or stronger than the other, then adding these unilateral movements will help you in reducing those imbalances which occur due to a lack of muscle activation.

These single-arm movements will also help you in creating abetter mind and muscle connection. So if you have a complaint that you cannot feel on your left biceps, then start doing these movements to create a better mind-muscle connection and to eliminate such problems.

4. Overhead Cable Curl

If you have seen a bodybuilding show, then you might be familiar with the front double bicep pose. This exercise mimics the same position and is an effective way to hit your bicep brachii.

How to do

1. Attach both the handles to a pulley which should be slightly above your head level.

2. Hold both the handles and stand at the center with both arms straight and elbows at an extended position. This wil be your starting position.

3. Start flexing your elbows by moving your forearms and contract your biceps fully at the end.

4. Slowly return move your arms back to the starting position without dropping your elbows and repeat the movement.

You can also perform this exercise with one arm at a time which requires more balance and more core activation. Don’t go heavy on this as it is an isolation exercise and not a compound movement. So you should focus on proper form and technique without swinging too much.

5. Incline Bench Cable Curls

This exercise will put your biceps in an extra stretch position which will make it more challenging than the regular curls. It is another great bicep exercise with cables.

How to do

1. Place a bench at the center part of the cable machine and set a bench at a 60° angle.

2. Attach handles at both sides of the pulley which is attached at the lower part of the cable machine.

3. Sit on a bench with your back resting on it while holding the handles. Your arm should be down in an extended position.

4. Start the exercise by pulling the cables towards your shoulder and squeeze your biceps at the top.

5. Slowly bring your arms back to the starting position and then continue the movement.

Keep in mind that your back should be on the bench and should not go forward while performing this exercise.

This is a unique exercise as it puts your arms in an uncommon position which makes it a harder and challenging exercise. If you have never tried this exercise then start with lighter weights and then slowly increase the weights according to your strength.

6. Behind the head Cable Curls

This is a great finisher exercise for your biceps! You can do this at the end of the workout to get that amazing pump.

How to do

1. Attach a zig-zag bar at the pulley placed at the upper part of the cable machine.

2. Place a bench in front of the cables and set it at about 60° angle.

3. Sit on the bench while holding the bar and lean back slightly. Your arms should be straight and should face up. This will be your starting position.

4. Start curling the bar up and bring the bar above your head at the end to get that peak contraction.

5. Slowly return to the starting position without dropping your elbow. Your elbow should be extended at the end.

This is an awesome exercise to get that amazing peak to your biceps. Make sure that your hands are parallel to the cables when you curl. You can also use the straight bar for this exercise.

7. Rope Hammer Curl

This is an alternative to the regular hammer curls done with the dumbbells. Here, you can use ropes to isolate your brachialis and brachioradialis muscles without using dumbbells.

How to do

1. Attach a pulley at the bottom end of the cable machine with the rope attached.

2. Hold both ends of the rope and step few steps back from the cable machine. Keep your elbows to the side and stand straight with your arms straight down.

3. Now start moving your hands up and squeeze your biceps at the top. You can move your elbows forward at the end to create that extra tension on your biceps.

4. Slowly bring the ropes down and then repeat the movement.

You should not forget to train your brachialis because it pushes the bicep brachii forward making your biceps look bigger. So if you want bigger biceps, then do not skip hammer curls.

8. Behind the back Cable Curl

This is a great peak builder exercise for your biceps. Keeping the hands behind the back makes your bicep work more as it is in an overstretched position. It will help you to develop that amazing peak which most people like.

How to do

1. Grab a handle attached at the lower end of the cable pulley and step forward such that your back is facing the pulley.

2. Keep your arms behind your back and look forward with your back straight. This will be your starting position.

3. Now start curling up with your hands behind the back and contract your biceps at the top.

4. Slowly move your hands back to the starting position and repeat the movement. Do the same with the other hand too.

If you want your biceps to get fully develop then you should train the muscle at different angles and positions and all these exercises allow you to add variations to your workout program.

9. Lying Cable Curl

This is another great variation to add to your bicep workout. You can do this exercise on a cable machine or a seated cable row platform. This exercise will completely burn your biceps and make you look bigger after the workout.

How to do

1. Attach a straight or a zig-zag bar on a cable machine and lau down on a flat bench. You can put a stepper just below the cable machine to place your foot on it.

2. Lay down on a bench while holding the bar and keep your arms straight with your elbows extended. This will be your starting position.

3. Keep your head and shoulders up from the bench and start curling the bar. Fully contract your biceps at the end.

4. Slowly move your arms back to the starting position and then repeat the exercise according to the prescribed number of repetitions.

You don’t need to go heavy on this exercise otherwise you might injure your back. Keeping support beneath your back just like the above video suggests, will be more comfortable and safe. So you can try that too.

10. Lying High-pulley Cable Curl

This is another great variation of a bicep curl. This time, your back is flat on the bench which means that you cannot use too much of momentum. Thus your biceps will work more during this exercise.

How to do

1. Place a bench in front of a high pulley cable machine and attach a straight bar to it.

2. Lay down on the bench and grab the bar with an underhand grip and keep your back flat on the bench. This will be your starting position.

3. Now start curling and bring the bar towards your forehead. Breath out as you move the down.

4. Slowly bring the bar back to the starting position while breathing in and then repeat the exercise

Here, you cannot cheat during the movement because your body is lying down and you don’t have the leverage to use much momentum. That’s why it is a great isolation exercise for your biceps.

11. Reverse Cable Curl

This is a great exercise to train the brachioradialis and brachialis muscle which is situated at the lateral side of the forearm and bicep muscle. This will make your arms look bigger and stronger.

How to do

1. Attach a pulley at the lower part of the cable machine and grab the straight bar with an overhand grip.

2. Now step back and keep your elbows to the sides. You should lean back slightly for balance. This will be your starting position.

3. By keeping your upper back tight and elbows tucked in, start moving the bar up and squeeze your biceps at the top. Make sure to breathe in on the way up.

4. Slowly bring the bar down towards the starting position while breathing out and then repeat the movements.

Training the brachialis muscle is very important because it makes your bicep look bigger from the side. So don’t forget to train them.

12. Cable Concentration Curl

You might be familiar with the dumbbell concentration curls. This is an alternative way of doing the concentration curls. Here, you don’t have to lean forward with your back, rather you can do this exercise in a standing position with you back straight.

How to do

1. Attach a handle to a pulley placed at a lower or higher position.

2. Now hold the handle with one hand and take a few steps back. Keep your hands straight and elbows extended. This will be your starting position.

3. Without moving your elbows, start pulling the handle while breathing out and bring your hand close to your body until the bicep is fully contracted.

4. Control the weights and bring your arms back to the starting position on the way down. Fully stretch your biceps at the end while breathing in and then repeat the same with the other side.

You can do this exercise in either a high pulley attachment or a low pulley attachment. Both are a great way to train your bicep so try both and choose the one which works best for you.

Conclusion

So these were some effective bicep cable exercises. There were so many different varieties of exercises we discussed to hit not only your bicep brachii but also the brachialis and the brachioradialis muscles.

Remember that to build your biceps, you need to incorporate barbell and dumbbell exercises into your workout program as well and should not completely rely on machine exercises.

Compound heavy barbell curls and other free weight exercises should be there in your workout program for an amazing bicep development.

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Roshan S Pillai

Roshan Pillai is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer with more than 6 years of experience in lifting weights and guiding people to get fit. He is the owner and editor of fitnessproworkout.com, and has worked as a fitness coach in gyms and is passionate about fitness and helping people to get in shape.

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