- Biceps: Arm flexor
(Musculus biceps brachii)
- Upper arm: Coracobrachialis muscle
High Cable Curls is a suitable substitute for similar exercises in or as a supplement to various training plans.
High Cable Curls: Basics and alternatives
Involved main muscle groups:
High Cable Curls
High Cable Curls might seem a bit odd at first. The body position for this bicep exercise looks unusual, and you don’t see people doing it very often. That’s probably because you need a two-part cable machine for this exercise, which isn’t very common in gyms and is often used for other exercises.
Still, High Cable Curls follow the usual curl movement pattern. You bend your arms at the elbows, move the weight, and isolate your biceps muscles.
You can perform cable curls on a two-part cable machine or a dedicated Cable Cross machine. In both cases, you can adjust the height of the cable pulleys and the grips.
Set the grip height higher than your shoulders. There’s no exact rule for how high, so try different variations and pick the one that feels best for your muscles.
In both cases, stand as close to the center as possible. Ideally, you can check your position in a mirror.
Attach the two handles to the upper cable pulleys.
Stand in the center of the cable machine, with your feet about shoulder-width apart.
Lean to one side, grasp the first handle in an underhand grip (palms facing inward) with your arm extended but slightly bent at the elbow, and pull it towards the center of your body. The weight will lift off the block. Repeat on the other side. You’re now in the starting position with both handles in your hands.
Pull the handles towards your head by bending your elbows. Keep your shoulders still throughout the movement. Hold the bent position for a moment, then slowly and controlled, lower the weight back to the starting position.
Don’t fully extend your elbows and lose tension at the end of the movement, as this puts a lot of stress on your elbows and shoulders, especially with heavy weights. Instead, maintain body tension at the end of the extension and keep your elbows slightly bent.
Move the weight by bending your elbows only. Your shoulders and upper body should ideally stay still during the exercise.