Spider Curls: Muscle Worked, Benefits, Alternate & Tip

The spider curl is one of the most effective exercises for those looking to efficiently trigger and stimulate the working bicep muscle during a workout, it mainly targets the short head of biceps.

The spider curl is essentially a chest-supported concentration curl, so we’re working to isolate the biceps as much as possible. To achieve that, you need to keep your upper arm perpendicular to the ground for the life of every set. That’ll set up the biceps to almost solely drive the entire curling motion.

Once you’ve mastered the dumbbell spider curl, consider using a different kind of free weight, like a barbell or an EZ bar with angled grips. With practice, spider curls can be a useful biceps workout to add to your bodybuilding routine

Know More About Biceps Brachii Heads

Your biceps brachii has two heads: short (inner) and long (outer).

The long head constitutes the majority of your biceps peak, while the short head sits to the inner side, which add thickness.

Using a regular grip during curl, will place approximately equal emphasis on both heads.

Curling with your elbows back behind you will emphasize the long head and build the peak of your biceps.

And curling with your elbows in front of your body will emphasize the short head and give your biceps more width.

bicep anatomy

Muscle Worked During Spider Curl

The spider curl primarily muscle worked are Biceps Brachii muscles, In addition to its target, the bicep. The spider curl has the involvement of several synergist muscles, these muscles include,

A handful of other muscles worked or play the role of stabilizer muscles, include your

What Are Spider Curls?

Spider curls are a bicep isolation exercise that you perform on an incline bench. The easiest way to do them is with dumbbells; however, you can also use any other equipment such as EZ-Bar, barbell and dumbbell that you can hold in your hands.

Set up with your chest on the incline bench, and keep your chest high. Tighten your back and abs as well. You don’t want your shoulders slumping too far forward when you’re curling, require an incline bench and a weight.

Once you’re ready to go, curl the bar straight upwards, and try to keep your upper arms perpendicular with the ground.

Curl until your elbows start to go in front of your shoulders. Once you’re up at the very top, squeeze your biceps hard and hold for a second or two, then slowly descend back to starting position.

Benefits of Spider Curl

Apart from the obvious advantage of thicker-looking biceps, Spider curls are a great way to increase general upper-body strength. This makes it a brilliant choice of exercise to train for other weightlifting exercises.

Following are some benefits of the spider curl exercise:

  1. Builds biceps peak and thickness.
  2. The exercise allows a larger range of motion from start to finish.
  3. Spider curls keep your muscles under constant tension.
  4. Places the primary stress on the short (inner) head of the biceps.
  5. Spider curl provides a broader range of motion, thus, increasing movement efficiency.
  6. The Spider Curls add freshness to your bicep workout and will help to fill up the biceps and increase muscular growth.

Spider Curl Form & Tips

It is difficult to cheat during the spider curl, since you are working against gravity on the bench press. However, this does not rule out the possibility that you are making some errors.

Proper exercise technique is essential to ensure the safety and effectiveness of an exercise program, but you may need to modify each exercise to attain optimal results based on your individual needs.

  • Your body should remain fixed. Only your biceps should be used to move the weight.
  • The ideal bench angle for spider curls is between 45 and 60 degrees.
  • Pause at the top of the movement and squeeze your biceps.
  • A slow controlled descent will increase time under tension, leading to more effective sets, and less risk of injury.
  • Ensure that your elbows are kept close to your sides with your knees slightly bent, and your hands gripped tightly to the bar.
  • Always select a weight that allows you to have full control of your body throughout the movement.
  • Incorporate proper warm-ups, rest, and nutrition into your exercise program.
  • Rest for 24 to 48 hours before training the same muscle groups to allow sufficient recovery.

Dumbbell Spider Curl

Dumbbell Spider curls are a remarkable exercise for building the biceps because they produce an intense muscle contraction on every single rep.

This is a nice exercise to switch things up, keeping your biceps guessing with new stress, especially the short head, which is going to take on the lion’s share of the work.

As for equipment, you can use a barbell, EZ bar or dumbbells.

Spider Curl

How To Do Dumbbell Spider Curl

  1. Adjust the bench to an incline, level to a 45-degree angle. Grab two moderately light dumbbells with an underhand grip.
  2. Sit on the bench in a reverse position with your chest pressed onto the backrest. Let your arms hang in front of your torso.
  3. Your legs should be long with a slight bend in your knees. Your weight should be on the balls of your feet.
  4. Chin should remain tucked throughout the movement. Engage your core. All repetitions should begin from this position.
  5. Curl the dumbbells toward your shoulders and squeeze your biceps forcefully.
  6. Hold the contraction for a moment, and then lower the weights under control until your elbows are fully extended.

Spider Curls Form And Tips

  • Before lowering yourself onto the bench completely; firmly place your feet (toes in particular) into the ground and ensure they are comfortable enough to not slip during the exercise.
  • Your body should remain fixed. Only your biceps should be used to move the weight.
  • Do not load the barbell. Lift a weight that you are comfortable with.
  • Do not go too fast. Perform this exercise in a slow, controlled manner for best results.
  • Pause at the top of the movement and squeeze your biceps.
  • The motion should occur at the elbow to isolate the biceps, not on the shoulders.
  • Start with fewer reps and increase the number of reps as you go.
  • Finish each rep by squeezing your biceps hard, building a strong mind-muscle connection with your biceps.
  • Get into warm-ups that include bicep exercises. This is a great way to get your muscles ready and avoid injuries.

Other Variations of Spider Curls

Barbell Spider Curl

Barbell spider curls train your biceps in a shortened (which is to say a maximally contracted) muscle position. This results in a powerful muscle pump that makes your arms appear more vascular, and which can also lead to significant hypertrophy.

Spider curls are typically done with a barbell. However, you can also use an EZ bar or dumbbells.

If you have one arm that’s weaker than the other, the dumbbell spider curl could be a better choice. This way, you can isolate the weaker arm to strengthen the bicep muscle to create symmetry.

Barbell spider curl

How To Do Barbell Spider Curl

  1. Adjust the bench to an incline, level to a 45-degree angle. Lean against the bench so that your chest is supported.
  2. Stand on the balls of your feet and keep them about shoulder width apart for stability.
  3. Chin should remain tucked throughout the movement. Engage your core.
  4. Let your arms hang in front of your torso. From here, have a barbell ready, or have it set-up in front of you.
  5. Slowly curl the barbell toward your shoulders and squeeze your biceps forcefully.
  6. Hold the contraction for a moment, and then slowly lower the bar under control until your elbows are fully extended.
  7. Repeat for desired number of reps.

EZ Bar Spider Curl

The EZ-bar spider curl is an exercise targeting the biceps and performed face down on either an incline bench or on the flat side of a preacher bench.

The EZ-bar makes for a more comfortable wrist position, while the angle helps to isolate the biceps and limit involvement of the shoulder muscles. This curl variation is usually performed for moderate to high reps, such as 8-12 reps per set or more, as part of upper-body or arm-focused training.

EZ Bar Spider Curl
Execution Technique
  1. Adjust the bench to an incline, level to a 45-degree angle. Lean against the bench so that your chest is supported.
  2. Make sure that your feet (especially the toes) are well positioned on the floor.
  3. Use your arms to grab the EZ bar with a supinated grip (palms facing up) at about shoulder width apart or slightly closer from each others.
  4. Let your arms hang in front of your torso. From here, have an EZ ready, or have it set-up in front of you.
  5. Slowly curl the EZ bar toward your shoulders and squeeze your biceps forcefully.
  6. Hold the contracted position for a second as you squeeze the biceps. Slowly begin to bring the barbell back to the starting position.

Best Alternate of Spider Curls

1. Preacher curl

The preacher curl is the best exercise to build a long head of biceps. Although, the shape of the biceps is hereditary and the biceps can have a long tendon or long muscle.

You can get fullness in this crucial area by giving your arms a complete look. If you have a long tendon, then preacher curl is the best exercise to build a longer biceps lower head and get a full biceps pump.

This exercise is done by sitting on a Preacher bench with a Barbell or E-Z curl Bar.

Preacher curl
Execution Technique
  1. Get seated on the Preacher Bench with your chest against the support and grab the bar placed on the preacher bench rack in front of you.
  2. Curl the bar as in standard barbell curl and get maximum contraction at the top.
  3. Lowering the bar slowly gives constant stress throughout the movement. Lowers the bar to get the maximum extension.
  4. Repeats the desired number of sets.

2. Standing Dumbbell Preacher Curl

The standing dumbbell preacher curl is an isolation exercise that targets the biceps, but the forearms, brachialis, and brachioradialis muscles receive stimulation as secondary movers.

It is usually performed by using a regular bench and a dumbbell.

Standing Dumbbell Preacher Curl
Execution Technique
  1. Adjust the bench to an incline level so that you can comfortably rest your arm down the back of the headrest.
  2. Grab a dumbbell in one arm and extend it over the bench so that your forearm and tricep are rested upon the bench.
  3. Hold onto the top of the bench with the opposite arm to stabilize your body and to balance the weight.
  4. Slowly curl the dumbbell up towards your shoulder, isolate the bicep and squeeze your muscle.

3. Standing Inner Biceps Curl

Working inner biceps with dumbbells has several advantages.

There are many possible variations for this movement. For instance, you can perform the exercise sitting down on a bench with or without back support.

You can (and should) turn your hands from the position when palms are facing each other to the position when palms are facing upwards.

This movement also develops the biceps along with the elbow contraction. Must add this workout in your short head bicep exercises arsenal.

Standing Inner Biceps Curl
Execution Technique
  1. Stand up with a dumbbell in each hand being held at arm’s length. The elbows should be close to the torso. Your legs should be at about shoulder’s width apart from each other.
  2. Rotate the palms of the hands so that they are facing inward in a neutral position.
  3. Curl the weights out while contracting the biceps. Your wrist should turn so that when the weights are fully elevated you have supinated grip.
  4. Continue the movement until your biceps are fully contracted and the dumbbells are at shoulder level. Hold for a second.
  5. Slowly begin to bring the dumbbells back to the starting position. Remember to rotate the wrists as you lower the weight in order to switch back to a neutral grip. Repeat for desired reps.

Takeaway

The spider curls are an excellent isolation exercise that targets the biceps’ short head. A simple grip modification brings the long head into play, turning this into a full-body bicep exercise.


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