Preacher Curls

Isolation exercise, Machine

This article is verified by 1 study/publication.




Required equipment

Main muscles

  • Biceps: Arm flexor
    (Musculus biceps brachii)
  • Upper arm: Coracobrachialis muscle
    (Musculus coracobrachialis)

Training plans

Here you can find example plans for preacher curls training:

Preacher Curls: Basics and alternatives

: Involved main muscle groups Preacher Curls

Involved main muscle groups:
Preacher Curls

Preacher curls are a simple and effective way to isolate your biceps. It’s similar to other bicep curls, but your upper arm is supported by a cushion to minimize any unintentional movements. This provides even better bicep isolation.

A 2009 study found that preacher curls activate the long head of your biceps more effectively than regular bicep curls or incline bicep curls. However, they don’t activate the full range of movement like other exercises do [1]. So, it’s still a good idea to include preacher curls in your workout, or even both exercises, depending on your training plan.

If you don’t have access to a preacher curl machine, you can perform the exercise using an incline bench.

Correct execution

Adjust the seat height so your elbows can comfortably rest on the armrest. Make sure your elbows are level with the machine’s pivot joint. Avoid having your elbows too high (if the seat is too high) or too low (if you’re sitting too low).

Some preacher curl machines offer different grip options, like parallel or under grip. There’s no right or wrong grip.

Video tutorial

Preacher Curl Machine

Step-by-step instructions

Sit on the seat cushion and adjust the height as described above.

Rest your upper arms on the armrest.

Extend your arms and hold the handles.

Lift the weight slightly by pulling the handles towards you. This is your starting position.

Bend your elbows and bring the handles towards your face. Pause for a moment, then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position.

Common mistakes

Don’t fully extend your elbows at the end of the movement. Keep a slight bend to maintain tension on your biceps.

Ensure your elbows are level with the machine’s pivot joint to avoid putting too much stress on your joints.


  1. Effect of the shoulder position on the biceps brachii emg in different dumbbell curls. Liliam F. Oliveira et al. J Sports Sci Med. 2009 Mar; 8(1): 24–29. PMID: 24150552., accessed on 15.04.2020