Build Without Bulking | Incline Bench Dumbbell Curls | Erin Stern

Posted on November 16, 2016 at 12:00 AM

We all want shapely biceps, but how many reps of standing biceps curls does it take to see results? Possibly thousands! Fortunately, there is a more effective way to curl, and it doesn’t require lifting more weight. Simply changing angles and changing tempo can produce great muscle building results! All you need is an incline bench, a pair of dumbbells, and some focus.

Set the bench to a 45-degree angle and grab the dumbbells using an underhand grip. Lean back on the bench. Your head should be resting on the back of the bench, and your glutes should be firmly and evenly planted on the seat.  Slowly raise the dumbbells to just before parallel, and lower them slowly – stopping before perpendicular. Check out the corresponding video below for a demonstration.

Some key points to remember:

  • Keep your head resting on the bench – the backwards-angle of this exercise is key in isolating the biceps. If you tilt your head forward, you’ll engage more of your shoulders.
  • Try to rest your upper arms against the side of the bench. This will further isolate the biceps and can help to eliminate momentum.
  • Choose an angle for your grip and keep it (hammer, supinated, etc). Rotating your forearms will tend to work more of your forearms!
  • Keep your wrists straight. This is another way to bring the focus back to the biceps.
  • Keep constant tension on the biceps. Sit your bench in front of a mirror to watch your range of motion and muscle engagement.
  • Stay mindful; especially during those last few tough reps. This is where the greatest physique changes are made!

A longer time under tension for the muscles can encourage muscle growth. Shoot for a set that lasts 45 seconds or so. Higher volume can also help build muscle. Shoot for 4-5 sets of 8-10 reps. The goal is to choose a weight that is difficult for the last 2-3 reps, but that can be done with proper form.  PEAK ATP really helps me sustain my energy through the workouts. I have been able to add size more quickly, as I’m able to train with more intensity at a greater volume than before! Thanks for reading! Until next time, train hard, y’all!

- Erin Stern, 2x Ms. Figure Olympia


Lifting but hoping for greater definition. THANKS!
WTHOMAS | 1/30/24 at 1:25 AM
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