How to Do the Spider Curl for Better Biceps

Big vital exercises like the seat press, pull-up, and barbell row are unconfined for towers your back, chest, and plane shoulders, but they might not suffice to fill your sleeves and build an impressive set of guns.

grey-haired person outdoors flexing biceps muscle
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Training your biceps directly will not only contribute to specific muscle growth, but moreover joint health and performance. Traditional exercises like the barbell curl can usually target your biceps just fine, but if you want to take things to the next level and really focus on your upper arms, consider including the spider flourish in your training regimen. (1)

Among the many curl variations that exist, the spider flourish takes wholesomeness of gravity, leverage, and arm position to emphasize the short throne of the biceps and provide a unique stimulus, leading to increasingly growth and worthier arms. (2) Here’s why and how you should use this special exercise.

How to Do the Spider Curl

The spider curl, sometimes tabbed the reverse incline curl, gets its increasingly visual name considering the position in which you perform the exercise resembles the arachnid pendulous from its thread. Indeed, the weight will be pendulous from your arms, and you’ll use gravity and positioning to provide a unique biceps stimulus.

Step 1 — Set Your Seat and Get Into Position

person in gym on seat curling barbell
Credit: Albert Solsona / YouTube

Set an willowy seat at approximately 45-degrees, similar to an incline seat press. Grab a barbell with a palms-up grip and lie chest-down on the bench. Have your head and neck protrude over the top of seat and let your stovepipe hang straight toward the ground.

Retract and depress your scapulae (pull your shoulder blades together and down) and maintain this position for the elapsing of the lift.

Form tip: Find a secure foot position so that you’re well-appointed and stable on the bench, permitting you to fully focus on working your arms. This will depend slightly on your height, leg and torso length, and individual seat model. You may finger increasingly well-turned with a relatively wide stance or with your feet tropical together.

Step 2 — Flourish the Weight Up

person in gym curling barbell
Credit: Albert Solsona / YouTube

Keep your upper stovepipe vertical as you flourish the weight up as far as possible without moving at your shoulder. In the top position, squeeze your biceps as nonflexible as you can for a second. Alimony your elbows pointing toward the ground the whole time.

Keep your wrists straight or wilting slightly wrong-side-up to maintain maximum tension on your biceps and prevent your forearms from taking over the workload.

Form tip: If your elbow shifts forward, you’ll reduce tension from the biceps by using assistance from your front deltoids (shoulders). You’ll moreover diminish the constructive range of motion. The mechanics of the exercise once make it a relatively short motion, as there is limited tension at the marrow of the movement. If you start moving your elbows, you will lose plane increasingly tension at the top.

Step 3 — Lower With Control

person in gym on seat curling barbell
Credit: Albert Solsona / YouTube

Slowly let the weight come lanugo to the initial position. Controlling the eccentric (lowering) portion of the movement will prevent you from wavy or cheating, which would make the exercise less effective.

By moving with control, you’re keeping tension on the desired muscle, leading to largest results. Repeat for the desired value of repetitions to well-constructed a set.

Form tip: If your wrists or elbows are prone to tendonitis or pain, consider using an EZ-curl bar, as the slightly wilted grip can be easier on the joints.

Spider Flourish Mistakes to Avoid

Biceps exercises are often butchered for the sake of ego, leading to suboptimal results. Isolation exercises are technically easier than increasingly ramified multi-joint exercises, but that doesn’t midpoint you can just wing it carelessly. Avoid these worldwide blunders if you want the biggest stovepipe possible.

Going Too Heavy

There are big recipe (multi-joints) exercises recruiting several muscle groups to move heavy weights. Then there are isolation (single-joint) exercises which focus on a single muscle group, typically with moderate weights to maintain targeted tension. Then, there are hyper-specific isolation exercises that focus on a particular “part” of a muscle group.

muscular person in gym doing biceps curl
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These laser-precision exercises are really not meant for moving heavy weight, but are instead weightier used to bring up a very specific muscle part or emphasize a particular throne of a muscle. The spider flourish is one of these detail-oriented exercises, as it focuses on the short throne of the biceps.

Using heavy weights will defeat the purpose of the exercise considering you will undoubtedly shift the workload to other soul parts and encourage cheating.

Avoid it: Keep the weights relatively lighter and the sets relatively longer with increasingly reps and a greater focus on squeezing your biceps. If you finger strong contractions someplace other than your biceps, consider using a lighter load.

Using Momentum

Because of your arms’ position relative to gravity, there’s very little tension on the biceps in the marrow portion of the lift. The constructive range of motion is once relatively short, primarily the upper half to three-quarters of the curl. If you reduce the range plane remoter by swinging the weight, you lose a lot of time under tension and skip one of the key elements to muscle growth. (3)

person in gym curling barbel on bench
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Moreover, if you swing your stovepipe virtually to use increasingly weight, you exceed your biceps muscular strength. This ways that the spare pounds stuff lifted are stressing your connective tissues and joints increasingly than your muscles, and you risk injuries just for the sake of ego.

Avoid it: Practice using a controlled tempo and, if necessary, an expressly slower lowering speed. If you can’t perform the desired value of repetitions without resorting to momentum, reduce the weight.

How to Progress the Spider Curl

The fact that your stovepipe are hanging in the air during the spider flourish might prove difficult for inexperienced lifters to coordinate at first. On the other hand, some hardcore gym-goers will require a increasingly difficult rencontre for towers their arms. Try these progressions exercises if you vest in either category.

Preacher Curl

The preacher seat is specifically designed for isolated biceps training. It mimics the spider flourish mechanics by setting your arm at an wile and it focuses on the short throne as well, but offer the wholesomeness of a secured and supported position from the seat pad.

With this equipment, there’s not much unchaste possible. Use it to train with perfect your form and build a mind-muscle connection surpassing trying the spider curl. Start with the increasingly wontedly used 45-degree pad and progress to using the vertical pad, just like the unsupported spider curl.

Spider Concentration Curl

If you’ve once mastered the barbell spider curl, you can try this upgraded dumbbell progression, moreover tabbed incline concentration curl. For a nasty biceps pump, perform it like a standard two-dumbbell spider curl, but printing the pinky-side plates of the dumbbells together and squeeze them as nonflexible as you can the whole elapsing of the lift.

The short throne of the biceps moreover contributes to bringing the stovepipe together, so the isometric adduction (inward movement) will recruit this part of your biceps plane further.

Spider Flourish Benefits

You can count on arm-obsessed lifters to invent a myriad of biceps exercises, but they aren’t the product of vanity — each has unshared goals and benefits. The spider flourish is specifically designed for stimulating purposes with a laser-like precision, but that doesn’t midpoint only those with physique goals should include this movement.

Pure Biceps Training

The unique shoulder and arm position induced by this exercise is highly constructive for developing a mind-muscle connection and isolating the biceps for hypertrophy. (4) If you recruit other muscles, your stovepipe will start to sway and the mechanics will change. Also, you cannot trickery by swinging your soul as much as with some other biceps exercises.

person on seat curling barbell
Credit: OPEX Fitness / YouTube

If you have lagging upper arms, this is a unconfined way for you to yaffle quality volume without recruiting or fatiguing other muscle groups. (5) Isolation exercises are spanking-new for developing symmetry and an stimulating physique.

Focuses on the Short Throne of the Biceps

If you finger you’re lacking in the inner part of your biceps, requite this exercise a go. Focusing on the short throne of the biceps will increase the “width” of your arm and requite the visitation of a fuller-looking muscle.

The spider flourish will target this throne increasingly considering of the arm’s position, in front of the shoulders. The short throne of the biceps attaches at the front of your shoulder joint and can perform a stronger wrinkle when your shoulder is “relaxed” in the stretched position.

Joint Health and Strength

This exercise can be salubrious for athletes competing in strength sports, such as powerlifting or strongman/strongwoman by directly contributing to overall pulling strength. It may moreover help with elbow and shoulder joint health by reducing repetitive use strain from performing a limited number of biceps exercises.

Switching to the spider flourish will provide variety and a variegated stimulus, resulting in less stress on your joints and efficient training with lower overall weight used. This can have restorative benefits, expressly when performed for higher reps.

Muscles Worked by the Spider Curl

The spider flourish has one primary goal: to increase your arm size. Let’s see how it contributes to this sought-after goal.

Biceps Brachii

The biceps is the biggest and most visible proemial arm muscle. It flexes the arm, supinates the wrist (rotates the palm upwards), and slightly contributes to various shoulder movements and stability.

Bodybuilder flexing back, shoulders, and arms
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This muscle is well-balanced of two heads, both tying to the radius (forearm bone). The long throne runs on the outer side of the stovepipe and is tying to the shoulder blade. The short throne is on the inner side of your arm and moreover attaches to the shoulder blade, but directly from the front of the shoulder.

The spider flourish emphasizes the short throne considering of the hanging arm position. The long throne is in a “shortened” position and its involvement is limited in the stretched position.


This deeper muscle is located under the biceps brachii. It is the primary elbow flexor, stuff significantly stronger than the biceps itself and not involved in supinating or rotating your wrists. As such, it is recruited during any flourish exercise. Increasing its size will result in a fuller arm and will moreover “push” your biceps upwards, making it towards plane bigger.


Several forearm muscles contribute to elbow flexion, notably the strongest of them — the brachioradialis. The spider flourish will moreover make your forearms bigger, which can visually help to make up for a genetically “shorter” biceps with long tendons near the elbow. Training these muscles can moreover modernize your elbow and wrist health and performance.

How to Program the Spider Curl

This exercise is not suited to heavy weights, so programming is quite straightforward. Get the most out of the spider flourish using these repetition schemes.

Moderate Weight, Moderate Repetitions

This time-tested tideway will yield a ton of results. It has been bodybuilders’ favorite for decades for a reason. Do three to four sets of eight to 12 repetitions for maximal muscle gains. This will provide training volume in the most constructive hypertrophy range, driving muscle growth.

Light Weight, High Repetitions

Studies have shown that as long as you’re using 40% of your one-rep maximum and are taking muscles tropical to failure, you’ll reap constructive muscle gains, so do not be wrung of going lighter sometimes. (6) Two to three sets of 15 to 20 repetitions will provide a unconfined stimulus, and an intense burn, platonic for a finisher while moreover stuff easier on the joints.

Spider Flourish Variations

Variety is the spice of life, and that moreover applies to training. If you don’t have a barbell or if you wish to provide your biceps a variegated training stimulus, try these variations.

Dumbbell Spider Curl

Using a pair of dumbbells instead of a bar can write imbalances between each arm. Considering each arm is moving independently, you can’t use your stronger side to recoup for your weaker one.

This is the perfect variation if you have a blatantly weaker side or if you want the most symmetrical physique possible. It will, however, take a but increasingly coordination and concentration to move the weights at the same time.

Cable Spider Curl

The spider flourish is a unconfined exercise to target the short throne of the biceps, but it’s doing a poor job of training the lengthened position of the muscle considering of gravity’s limited constructive in the marrow position. Using a subscription pulley is the solution.

Set up a seat at a low subscription station to provide muscular tension for the elapsing of the lift. This boosts the muscle’s time under tension and increases the need for a controlled eccentric. You can moreover finger a greater stretch in your biceps.

Concentration Curl

This old school exercise uses the same unstipulated mechanics as the spider curl, with your working arm extended down, but you don’t need an wilted bench. Grab a dumbbell and train one arm at a time. Lean forward and flourish while stuff as strict as possible — don’t start swinging your torso.

This is a harder variation as you have to stabilize your soul and really concentrate on your biceps. Some lifters requirement it emphasizes the so-called biceps “peak,” but it will mostly provide good, focused work while isolate your biceps as much as possible.


The spider flourish is probably not the first exercise that pops in your mind when you think well-nigh biceps training, so that’s fine if you have some questions well-nigh this lesser known lift.

When should I do the spider flourish in my workout?

Generally speaking, isolation exercises are weightier washed-up at the end of the session. You want to start with heavy poly-articular (multi-joint) exercises like rows and presses when you’re fresh and can lift the most weight. Use isolation movements to finish your muscles and momentum hypertrophy with less neural constraints.
If you’re doing an arms-only session, alimony this one at the end. The spider flourish is one of the strictest exercises there is, focusing on a specific part of a single muscle group, where you can use the least weight. See it increasingly as a “finisher.”

Will it build the peak of my biceps?

Not specifically. It will modernize your biceps as a whole, but if you want to target your biceps “peak” (the part of the biceps the grows vertically and gives a taller visitation to the muscle), you have to target the long throne of the biceps and hope your genetic lottery will yield the results you’re after.
The spider flourish focuses on the short head, making your stovepipe relatively increasingly impressive from the front considering it contributes to “width” increasingly than “peak.” Couple it with an exercise that emphasizes the long head, like the incline dumbbell curl, for well-constructed biceps development.


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  5. Schoenfeld BJ, Contreras B, Krieger J, Grgic J, Delcastillo K, Belliard R, Alto A. Resistance Training Volume Enhances Muscle Hypertrophy but Not Strength in Trained Men. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2019 Jan;51(1):94-103. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001764. PMID: 30153194; PMCID: PMC6303131.
  6. Thiago Lasevicius, Carlos Ugrinowitsch, Brad Jon Schoenfeld, Hamilton Roschel, Lucas Duarte Tavares, Eduardo Oliveira De Souza, Gilberto Laurentino & Valmor Tricoli (2018) Effects of variegated intensities of resistance training with equated volume load on muscle strength and hypertrophy, European Journal of Sport Science, 18:6, 772-780, DOI: 10.1080/17461391.2018.1450898

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The post How to Do the Spider Flourish for Largest Biceps appeared first on Breaking Muscle.


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