Photo Credits- Man photo created by freepik –

You might be familiar with reverse curls! Many people can be seen in the gym performing reverse curls with a barbell or on a cable machine. It is one of the popular exercises to train not only your biceps but also your forearms.

But many people don’t like this exercise because it hurts their wrist when performing reverse curls. Many of us don’t have enough wrist mobility to do this exercise. Also, if done with a barbell, has more chances of injury if you already have wrist pain.

So in this article, I will share with you some of the best reverse curl alternatives exercises that you can do comfortably without any pain. Some of these exercises can be done easily at home and require some basic home gym equipment.

Also, some of you are here who have no problem with reverse curls but they want to know some more alternative options to bring some changes in their workout program. So this article will also help you guys!

But before starting, it is important to know the muscles which are worked when you do reverse curls.

Muscles Worked During Reverse Curl

Reverse curl primarily hits the bicep brachii which is your main bicep muscle and the brachialis which is situated deep inside the bicep brachii. Both of these muscles are responsible for elbow flexion. So you are targeting almost all parts of your bicep, however, the long head of the bicep brachii and the brachialis works the most.

Along with the biceps, the forearm muscles like the brachioradialis and other extensor and flexor muscles of your forearms are also engaged during this exercise. That’s why reverse curl is an effective exercise to build grip strength.

So as you know which muscles are worked during reverse curls, now I will share with you the alternatives that work the same muscles as we discussed above. So let’s start!

1. Zottman Curl

YouTube player

If you are looking to replace reverse curl with any exercise, then this one is for you. Zottman curls are great in strengthening the brachialis and brachioradialis muscles by putting an eccentric overload on the muscles.

This exercise is good to add when you have already done regular bicep curls for a while and want to add some variety.

Zottman curl can be done easily at home with dumbbells. So if you can’t do reverse curls and you are stuck at home and can’t go to the gym, then do zottman curls.

Equipment Required- dumbbells

How to do

1. Grab two pairs of dumbbells and stand at a shoulder-width stance. Keep your arm straight to the side.

2. Start the exercise by curling the weights up by keeping your shoulders retracted and body straight.

3. Stop at the top when the biceps are completely contracted. From there, rotate your wrist such that the palms are facing forward.

4. Now slowly bring the dumbbells down and return to the starting position.

Recommended Reps- 10-12

If you haven’t done this exercise, then start with a moderate weight, and then choose heavy dumbbells according to your strength.

This exercise will be a little harder for those who have good wrist mobility. So if you feel any pain in your joints, then stop it and go light or do another exercise.

2. Neutral Grip Pull-Ups

YouTube player

This is one of the best strengthening exercises for your biceps and forearms. Pull-ups are compound movements and performing it at a neutral grip puts more tension on the brachialis muscles.

Neutral grip pullups will help you in improving the grip strength and will strengthen your forearms. As the reverse curl is done to target the brachialis and the forearm muscle, this is the perfect alternative option for you.

Equipment Required- Pull up bar

How to do

1. Grab a pull-up bar with a neutral grip and hang straight with your abs engaged. This will be your starting position.

2. Start by pulling your body up with the help of your arms by keeping your chest up and shoulders retracted.

3. Move up and bring your head up above the bar and stop there for a second.

4. Squeeze your biceps and lats at the top and slowly bring your body down to the starting position.

Recommended Reps- 6-10 ( depending upon your strength)

You can add the intensity of the exercise by putting in extra weights. Just roll a belt over the waist and attach it with a plate and then perform the movement. But make sure that you can do at least 6-8 reps of those to get proper results.

3. Dumbbell Hammer Curl

YouTube player

Dumbbell hammer curl targets the brachialis muscle which pushes the bicep brachii muscle forward, making your bicep look bigger. So you should not neglect or ignore this small muscle.

This is another great exercise you can do at home with just dumbbells. You should always do this with the proper form to get the most out of this exercise.

Equipment Required- Dumbbells

How to do

1. Hold two dumbbells on each hand and stand straight while keeping your arms down to the side.

2. Start the exercise by moving the dumbbell up while holding a neutral grip. The plate of the dumbbell should face in front.

3. Stop at the top when the dumbbell reaches shoulder level. You should feel the tension on the brachialis.

4. Slowly bring the dumbbell back to the starting position and then repeat the same from the other arm.

Recommended Reps- 10-12

You can do this either with both arms together or with one hand at a time. Make sure that you engage your biceps right from the beginning of the exercise so that that the tension is on the right muscle throughout the movement.

4. Cross Body Curl

YouTube player

This is another way of doing hammer curls. Here, you will be bringing the dumbbell across the midline of your body. This is another variation to hit the brachialis. You just need to hold a neutral grip and then lift the dumbbell by bringing it towards the midline of the body.

Equipment Required- Dumbbells

How to do

1. Hold a dumbbell in your hands and stand straight with both feet at about shoulder-width apart. Keep your chest up and back straight. This wil be your starting position.

2. Start the exercise by lifting the dumbbell from one arm, towards the midline of the body. Curl the weights up and bring the dumbbell to the mid-chest.

3. Stop at the top and squeeze your biceps hard. Then slowly bring the dumbbell back to the starting position.

4. Do the same from the other hand and then repeat.

Recommended Reps– 10-12

Make sure that you do this slowly with proper form rather than going too heavy and just swinging weights without using your biceps. You won’t be able to build muscle if you are not able to use those muscles during the exercise.

So always focus on the muscle you are targeting rather than looking at how many pounds you are lifting.

5. Pull Ups

YouTube player

You cannot ignore pull-ups from this list because it’s one of the best alternatives options you have when it comes to building bog and strong arms. You can do this exercise at home if you have a pull-up bar.

Many people will think that why pull up can be used as an alternative to reverse curls? You need to understand that pull up are not only good for your back but it is also good for your biceps and forearm strength.

Reverse curl is done to target the brachialis and brachioradialis muscles and pull up engage all of these muscles along with some other stabilizers and core muscles too, making it one of the best exercises of all time.

Equipment Required- Pull up bar

How to do

1. Hang on a pull-up bar with both hands shoulder-width apart.

2. Keep your hands straight and take your shoulders back. Then start moving up.

3. Pause whether the lower part of your neck is in line with the pull-up bar. Squeeze you’re last tight.

4. Come all the way down slowly and then do subsequent reps with the same form.

Always remember to tighten your core so that you don’t swing during the movement. You can raise your legs a little bit to tighten your entire body. This will prevent swinging.

Even 1 pull-up is better than doing no pull-ups. You don’t have to go fast with the movement. Slowly you will build enough grip strength and upper body strength to perform more pull-ups.

If you cannot do pullups properly, then I have another article where you can find some other alternative exercises that work for the same muscle groups. You can check that out by clicking here

6. Rope Hammer Curl

YouTube player

This is another way to do hammer curls. Cables allow you to isolate the muscle and give you a huge pump. So you can do this as a finisher at the end of the workout to get an amazing pump on that brachialis. So if reverse curl is not something you like, then do rope hammer curls.

Equipment required- cable rope or resistance band

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 a 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.

If you are at home and can’t do rope hammer curl, then you can do this exercise with a resistance band. You just need to hold a resistance band with a neutral grip (thumbs facing up) and can do the same movement with it.

7. Reverse Preacher Curl

YouTube player

If you are not comfortable in holding the straight bar while performing reverse curl. Then you can do a reverse curl with an EZ bar. Here, I am talking about the preacher reverse curl which makes the normal reverse curls more challenging.

If you don’t have a preacher set up, then do this exercise just by standing straight and performing reverse curl with the EZ bar. In

Equipment Required- EZ bar and preacher curl machine

How to do

1. Sit on a preacher machine seat. Hold The EZ bar from the position where the bar has a downward curve. The grip should be pronated.

2. Sit upright with your back straight and chest touching on the pad. This will be your starting position.

3. Start the exercise by curling the bar up while squeezing your biceps. Stop at the top when the bar reaches neck level.

4. Squeeze your biceps at the top and then slowly lower the bar down. Bring it to the starting position and then repeat.

You can do this exercise on a cable machine by placing the preacher machine in front of the cables and using the EZ bar as you perform the exercise.

8. Rack Landmine Reverse Curls

YouTube player

This is a unique way to perform a reverse curl. This is a unilateral movement where you can focus on each part of your biceps separately.

If reverse curls are difficult for you or you don’t have good wrist mobility to perform reverse curl properly, then you should try this alternative. Here, you can also rotate your hands at the top which makes it easy to do.

Equipment Required- barbell

How to do

1. Place a barbell on a squat rack and hold the barbell with an overhand grip.

2. Stand at the side of the rack with your hands facing down and this will be your starting position.

3. With one end of the barbell resting on the rack, lift the other side of the barbell and bring it towards shoulder height.

4. Contract your biceps and forearms fully at the top and then slowly bring the barbell back to the starting position.

To get continuous gains and to avoid a plateau, you must have some variations in your workout program. This is a different way to hit the brachialis and is a good way to shock the muscle from the new stimulus you provide with this kind of exercise.

How To Add Alternative Exercises In A Workout Program

As we discussed the alternatives, now you might have this question that how to add these to your workout program. The answer to that is that you must not add all of these alternatives to your workout. Rather select 1 or 2 of them and replace that with the reverse curl.

So for example, if you were doing reverse curls for so long and now you want to replace it with an alternative then add zottman curls or reverse preacher curls. Do that for 3-4 weeks and then replace that with other alternatives. This way your body will not hit a plateau and you will get continuous results.

Final Words

So these were some of the best alternative options for you. All of these exercises are very effective in building the size and strength of your bicep. Make sure that you do all these exercises with the proper form and technique to get the best results.

Also, remember that whenever you do any exercise, you should always breathe out when you squeeze the muscles. For Example during a bicep curl, when you move your arms up and curl, that’s when you breathe out. And when you lower the weight you should breathe in.

If you know of any other exercises other than those mentioned above, then do let me know in the comment section below. Also, I will highly appreciate it if you share this article with others as this will give us the confidence to make more content for you.

Also Read

Hey there! Some links on this page are affiliate links which means that, if you choose to make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I greatly appreciate your support!