Dumbbell Drag Curl: Benefit, Variations and Muscle Worked

Dumbbell drag curl, is a variation of bicep curl that focus on maximizing the progressive overload and mechanical tension placed on the biceps. It’s also maximized the muscular hypertrophy and neurological adaptation that occurs as a direct result of the training.

It is a biceps brachii isolation exercise, primarily performed by bodybuilders to improve the size and appearance of their biceps.

What Muscles are worked by the Dumbbell Drag Curl?

The drag curls primarily activate the two heads of the biceps brachii, a long head and a short head. It is particular focus on the “peak” or long head of the biceps.

bicep anatomy

The barbell drag curls secondarily worked your brachialis, a muscle in your biceps that lies beneath your biceps brachii. It also activates your brachioradialis, the most prominent muscle in your forearm.

The drag curls also work your abs & back, as a stabling muscles of your body during the curling motion.

What are the Dumbbell Benefits of the Drag Curl?

Drag curl has many benefits due to the nature of its training stimuli & angle of which the exercise is performed.

Highly Targeted Bicep Activation

The entire purpose of the drag curl is that of highly targeted activation of the biceps brachii muscles. This is due to the placement of the biceps brachii and the nature of which they contract by.

Strength And Size Gains:

The Dumbbell drag curl is an intense biceps exercise. At the top of each rep, your biceps are optimally targeted, which helps to strengthen the biceps muscle and increase biceps hypertrophy.

Athletic Benefits:

In athletic endeavors and sports, such as in the throw of a football or the upper cut of a boxer, all of which take part of the force behind such a movement directly from the biceps themselves. Depending on your goals,

Are Drag Curls Safe?

Apart from being considered among one of the best possible free weight bicep isolation exercises one can perform, the drag curl is also considered quite safe.

Light to moderate weight is best to perform these exercises. This is the fool-proof form that is quite difficult to do improperly.

The supinated grip used by the drag curl exercise aids in ensuring that the wrist is in its most secure position, reducing the chance of tendon damage or impingement in that part of the arm.

Who Should Perform Dumbbell Drag Curls?

The dumbbell drag curl is suitable for the majority of gym goers and beginner to advanced level exercisers that wish to improve upon the size, appearance, or strength of their biceps brachii muscles.

Bodybuilders or athletes seeking a specific form of training stimuli targeted towards their biceps for the purposes of direct stimulation with compound exercises that also activate other muscle groups involved in the pulling-type of movement pattern.

Dumbbell drag curl can be performed in the middle or end of a particularly taxing biceps workout session without affecting the performance of other exercises.

How are Drag Curls Incorporated into Workout Routines?

Being a light to moderate intensity isolation exercise, the drag curl is best incorporated into a workout routine after more intense compound exercises.

The dumbbell drag curl may also be used alongside other finishing auxiliary isolation exercises that do not directly involve the biceps.

Attempt to eliminating the chance of overtraining and allowing the muscles to recover entirely between sets or workout sessions.

If you are new to the Dumbbell drag curl, choose a light weight to begin and complete 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps.

If you are more comfortable with the form, grab some moderately heavier weights and stick to the 6-8 rep range for 3-4 sets. 

Dumbbell Drag Curl

The dumbbell drag curl is a unique bicep curl variation in which you don’t completely bring the weight in front of your body. Thus, you have a more difficult time swinging and using momentum to get the weight up.

As for the long head of the bicep, it is emphasized the most due to the elbow positioning. As you curl up, your elbows pull back behind you, which stretches the long head, activating it to a very high degree.

For this exercise, you can use a barbell, dumbbell, or EZ bar all to the same effect.

Dumbbell Drag Curl
Execution Technique
  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, your knees slightly bent and your abs are drawn in.
  2. Grab the dumbbell with a double underhand (supinated) grip with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  3. Bring your elbows and shoulders back slightly as you curl the Dumbbells upwards. It should feel like you are “dragging” the dumbbell up to your body.
  4. Squeeze your biceps hard at the top and slowly return to the starting position.

Tips

  • Try to use a lighter to moderate weight
  • Perform this exercise in a slow, controlled manner for best results.
  • Keep your elbow back to keep the stress on your biceps.
  • Maintain a slight bend in the elbow at the bottom of the movement to keep tension through the biceps.
  • Lifting lighter weight and focusing on your mind-muscle connection will actually increase your gains and reduce your chances of injury!
  • If you experience a forearm or wrist discomfort while using a dumbbell switch to an EZ curl bar or cable drag curl.

Best Variations of Drag Curl

Cable Drag Curl

The Cable drag curl workout is a unique bicep curl variation in which you don’t completely bring the weight in front of your body. Thus, you have a more difficult time swinging and using momentum to get the weight up.

As for the long head of the bicep, it is emphasized the most due to the elbow positioning. As you curl up, your elbows pull back behind you, which stretches the long head, activating it to a very high degree.

For this exercise, you can use a barbell, dumbbell, or EZ bar all to the same effect.

Cable Drag Curl
Execution Technique
  1. Set up for the cable drag curl by attaching a straight bar to the low pulley cable machine.
  2. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, your knees slightly bent, and your abs are drawn in.
  3. Grab the bar with a double underhand (supinated) grip, with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  4. Bring your elbows and shoulders back slightly as you curl the bar upwards. It should feel like you are “dragging” the dumbbell up to your body.
  5. Squeeze your biceps hard at the top and slowly return to the starting position.

Barbell Drag Curl

While less popular than the standard barbell bicep curl, the barbell drag curl is an extremely effective bicep exercise. 

If you want to improve your arm size, strength, and appearance, the barbell drag curl is for you. 

Barbell Drag Curl
Execution Technique
  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, your knees slightly bent, and your abs are drawn in.
  2. Grab the barbell with a double underhand (supinated) grip with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart
  3. Bring your elbows and shoulders back slightly as you curl the barbell upwards. It should feel like you are “dragging” the barbell up to your body.
  4. Squeeze your biceps hard at the top and slowly return to the starting position.

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