Preacher Curls vs Bicep Curls – How to Grow the BIGGEST Arms! [2023]

Last Updated on November 15, 2022 by Patrick

Preacher Curls vs Bicep Curls

Let’s be completely honest, okay – there was a time in our lives when we all thought that getting “ripped” meant simply working out our biceps.

‘The bigger, the better’, we all thought. (At least I did. It wasn’t just me right?)

Jokes aside, biceps are more than just a part of your body that you can flaunt.

Besides the obvious benefits of being able to lift heavier objects, they actually help you in maximizing your athletic performance – think about those fast baseball pitches, launching that football across the entire field, with the added benefit of improving your aerobic abilities as well!

Now, if you’re simply looking to train your biceps for aesthetic reasons that’s fine too! Sometimes being a little superficial can lead to deeper wisdom down the road.

But how exactly do you build strong well-toned biceps? There are two exercises that can help you here: preacher curls and bicep curls. We’ll explore their benefits and drawbacks today. Preacher curls vs bicep curls: GO!

Preacher Curls vs Bicep Curls – Bicep Curls

This is probably the OG of gym exercises (after the coveted bench press of course!). You’ve probably tried to do this with the weights your sibling brought home in high school, bought some yourself in college or even tried them out way back in gym class!

Still, just to make sure that you perform the exercise in a safe manner let’s do a quick review.

Start off with some weights that you think you can comfortably lift up multiple times and grip them in a sideways fashion (so that the rounded surfaces are parallel to your body).

Make sure that you don’t let the weights extend your wrist too much – we don’t want to cause injury to your weights before getting started!

With the weights loosely held, rotate them and you bring them up to your chest area. Then, control the pace of the downward motion to modulate the intensity of the rep. Repeat!

Preacher Curls vs Bicep Curls - Bicep Curls
Preacher Curls vs Bicep Curls – Bicep Curls

But wait – what exactly are we targeting here?

Glad you asked.

There are three muscles we want to build up here:

  • The biceps brachii
  • The biceps brachialis
  • The biceps brachioradialis.

The biceps brachii is what most people think are biceps – they’re the muscles (consisting of a shorter and longer head) that lies on the front of the upper arm between the shoulder and the elbow.

Next up, the brachialis is a muscle in the upper arm that flexes the elbow. In fact, it generates about 50% more power than the biceps brachii (since it lies deeper than the biceps brachii, think of it as the floor that generates all the power)!

Lastly, the brachioradialis is a muscle of the forearm that flexes the forearm at the elbow. It helps you stabilize your arm when you’re midway through activities. Say you’re lifting up weights and then decide to stay at a mid-level position for 5 seconds before coming back down – the brachioradialis is the muscle that helps you do that.

Plus, did you know that doing bicep curls inevitably helps you workout your wrist and forearms a bit as well? That’s pretty cool if you ask me!

Preacher Curls vs Bicep Curls – Preacher Curls

Preacher Curls are a variation of the bicep curls. Remember how I said above that bicep curls also workout other parts of your arms? Well not so much in the preacher curls – you’ll only be targeting your biceps.

To get started, you want to start off by finding a padded platform such that when you place your armpits on the protruding surface, you can easily flex your hands in a 120 degree fashion.

Preacher Curls vs Bicep Curls - Preacher Curls
Preacher Curls vs Bicep Curls – Preacher Curls

You’ll really want to start off with a lighter weight here because if there’s an emergency during a bicep curl you can use your legs and forearms to help you out. With preacher curls, if the weights start to go down, so does the arm – which can lead to serious injury.

With the arms extended, lift up your weights and make sure that you grip them in a comfortable fashion (remember, you’re not clenching them!) so that your palms face you.

Now, bring the weight up by solely relying on your bicep strength. Decide the intensity of your workout by modifying the amount of time it takes for you to complete the full range of motion (slower is more difficult here).

Now, while the preacher curl does provide more bang for you buck when it comes to decreasing the amount of time to see noticeable gains there is a major drawback to it – you need a preacher bench. You could use a makeshift table-like mechanism here but it’s still best if you can use a preacher bench long term.

Preacher Curls vs Bicep Curls – Which one is better?

Technically, if you’re looking to workout your biceps then the preacher curls are the better option since they are specifically targeting your bicep brachii. But since preacher curls require a preacher bench, beginners are more likely to benefit from doing bicep curls. It’s a classic exercise that does not require any special equipment at all!

There is another factor to consider as well though – safety.

With bicep curls if you think you’re burning out, in the worst case scenario you could simply drop the weights on the floor and take a break.

With preacher curls however, you’ll have to carefully recognize the point before you burnout so that you can safely exit the range of motion and not pull any muscles.

It’s vital to remember that you’re working out a part of your body that you use for all activities – all day long. So put a leash on that ambition and take baby steps! You’ll thank yourself when you can workout consistently and perform daily activities without pain.

Preacher Curls vs Bicep Curls – Final Words

Well folks, it looks like we’ve covered all there is to know about preacher curls vs bicep curls.

Equipped with this knowledge, it’s time for you to pump some iron. What are your reasons for building those biceps? And which exercise are you going to integrate in your workouts?

Further Reading

Did you enjoy our preacher curl vs bicep curls comparison?

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