What Is a Preacher Curl?


The preacher curl isolates the biceps, located at the front of your upper arm. The primary muscle targeted with this exercise is the brachialis muscle, part of the lower biceps, which aids in elbow flexion or bending. As with a regular curl, you flex your elbow as you lift a weight. In addition, you steady your triceps against a preacher bench, which has a slightly tilted, padded armrest.

Performing the Preacher Curl

  • You grip the weight or cable machine handle with an underhand grip. Start with a slight bend in your elbow and your wrist in a neutral position. Bend your elbow, raise the weight and stop when your forearm is vertical. At the top of the movement, squeeze your biceps, pause for a count of two, relax and lower the weight to the starting position.


  • While not a common preacher curl apparatus, it's possible to perform the exercise while lying on top of an exercise ball. Dumbbells, barbells, an EZ curl bar or a cable machine with a weight stack can be used depending on the variation you are performing.

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