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Waiter Curls: Try This Amazingly Effective Exercise For Building Your Biceps Peak

If you're bored with your biceps training and you want to try a new exercise that may look a little odd but is surprisingly effective, then try the waiter curl on your next arm day.

While this won't completely take the place of basics like the heavier barbell curl, this one dumbbell, two-arm exercise can shock your biceps into new growth by working them from a completely different angle.

Waiter Curl Muscles Worked

The waiter curl isolates the biceps. Secondary emphasis is placed on the brachialis muscle underneath the biceps. This exercise is especially known for targeting the lateral head of the biceps - the segment of the biceps known for adding the most peak.

Equipment Needed

A single dumbbell is the only equipment required for waiter curls. For the incline variation, you'll need an incline bench.

Benefits / Advantages

Typically when your elbows are in front of the body during a bicep curl (such as during a lying overhead cable curl or a preacher curl), the medial (inner) head of the biceps is worked more. However, when you take a very close grip (and gripping a single dumbbell with both hands is a close a grip as you can get, and also when there is some shoulder flexion, the lateral (outer) head of the bicep is activated.

That means this exercise is unique in how it can effectively target both heads of the bicep. How peaked your biceps can become is limited by your genetics, but if you make sure to select exercises known to activate the long bicep head, like this one, it will help you build your peak to the best it can be.

Another advantage is that this is one of the only bicep exercises that removes the forearms from the equation. Sometimes fatiguing forearms are a limiting factor on bicep curls, especially when using dumbbells. If you remove that possibility, it means you can push yourself all the way to the point of complete bicep fatigue.

Execution / Proper Form

  • Grab a single dumbbell with both hands, cupping the top bell in your palms.

  • Start with the dumbbell in front of your thighs.

  • With your fingers extended out straight and your palms facing up, slowly curl the dumbbell up into the peak contracted position.

  • As you curl the dumbbell, keep your palms facing upthe whole time. Do not rotate your palms back toward your body.

  • Squeeze the bicep hard at the top for a peak contraction.

  • Lower the dumbbell under control back to the starting position.



My name is Steven Goldstein

With over 10 years of experience in the fitness industry, I have worked with clients of all ages and fitness levels. From professional athletes to individuals aiming to lose weight, I have helped countless people achieve their goals and improve their overall health through customized training and nutrition plans.

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