Concentration Curls Are Great for Building Killer Arms

concentration curls

Concentration curls build arm muscles

Concentration curls are a term we often hear at the gym but what does it really mean? Additionally, what benefits can be gained by doing this exercise? Finally, can concentration curls help build bigger arm muscles?

If you need answers to these questions, you’ve come to the right place!

For years, I struggled to build bigger, thicker biceps. Time and again I would go to the gym and see little to no results. Frustrated with the lack of progress, I decided to embark on a mission of knowledge.

More: Arm workouts for explosive growth

After doing tons of research and consulting with body builders,  I discovered that concentration curls were one of the best ways to increase arm muscle size.

Seriously, it’s true. Research from the American Council on Exercise suggests doing these types of specific movements yield more growth than other types of compound exercises.

concentration curls
Concentration curls can be done seated or standing

Once I started to include them in my weekly workout routine, I noticed the effects were fast and dramatic. No, I didn’t sprout 16 inch guns. But I did notice sizable change in my biceps and to a lesser degree, triceps.

And so that’s the inspiration for this article; to help you as the reader understand the basics of this exercise so that you can build larger, bigger biceps.

In this article, you will learn:

  • The definition of a concentration curl
  • Benefits of concentration curls
  • Muscles involved in concentration curls
  • Equipment needed to conduct the exercise
  • Step by step “how to” instructions
  • How fitness experts do curls through videos
concentration curls
Dumbbells offer great resistance

What is a concentration curl?

In plain-speak, a concentration curl is a compound exercise that isolates the biceps. It involves lower weights or reps than traditional bicep curls.

What are the benefits of concentration curls?

The biggest benefit of doing concentration curls is potential muscle growth. That’s because when you do them, you target specific muscle fibers and break them down. In turn, they rebuild themselves through protein synthesis into something larger.

This happens when you include progressive overloading as part of the exercise dynamic.

muscles of the arm concentration curls
Muscles used in concentration curls

What muscles are involved with concentration curls?

Most people think this exercise only benefits the top of the bicep. But that’s not quite accurate.

In truth, several muscle groups are used – and benefit – when doing concentration curls. For example, if you are doing the incline version of this exercise, the muscle groups involved will include:

  • Biceps brachii
  • Brachialis muscles
  • Tricep brachii
  • Flexor digitorum
  • Pectoral major and minor
  • Serratus anterior
  • Rectus abdominis

What equipment is needed for concentration curls?

This exercise only requires a dumbbell for the standing version. See video above. If you are doing some form of the seated version, you will need a regular flat bench or incline bench.

How do you do the seated bench concentration curl?

For this exercise, start out with a low weight. I recommend something super light (15 LBS) as a starting point so that you can learn the exercise and engage in the full range of motion.

Step by step

1. Sit on the end of a bench with thighs parallel to the floor and your body braced.

2. Curl the weight upward and make sure your elbow doesn’t move forward. The back of your upper arm should stay in contact with your inner thigh.

3. Pause once you have fully contracted your bicep muscles. The idea is to take your forearm to a 45-degree angle. Return slowly and mindful of control to the starting position. Repeat with your other arm.

How do you do incline concentration curls?

You’ll want to use low weights as a starting point for this exercise until you learn how the motions work. Additionally, your goal will be to experience the full range of motion.

Step by step

1. Sit on an incline bench that is set to a 45-degree angle. Gripping the dumbbells in each hand, make sure your arms hang down from your shoulders. It’s essential that your back is well supported.

2 .Curl the dumbbell in one hand using an upward arc toward your shoulder. Don’t swing. As you lift upwards, turn your inner wrist towards your upper arm area.

3. At the top, pause for a second and squeeze. Then, slowly lower the weight back to the starting position in a mindful, deliberate way. You should bring your arm back to the starting position (hanging). Repeat with the other arm.

Summing Things Up

Concentration curls are an excellent way to build your arm muscles. Moreover, they aren’t complicated and don’t require a bunch of special equipment.

Some guys do these at home (seated version) using a chair and a dumbbell. If you travel and use a hotel gym, this is an excellent option should the facility not have barbells.

Thanks for stopping by


American Council on Exercise (2014) New study reveals best biceps exercises. Retrieved from the web:

About John D. Moore 391 Articles
Dr. John Moore is a licensed counselor and Editor-in-Chief of Guy Counseling. A journalist and blogger, he writes about a variety of topics related to wellness. His interests include technology, outdoor activities, science, and men's health. Check out his show --> The Men's Self Help Podcast