Spider Curls: Preacher bar – DB – Straight bar variations

If your looking to add an extra move to your bicep and tricep day, you don't wanna skip these spider curls.

Spider Curls

Proper Curl Form

Here are the top 7 tips to performing your spider curl with maximum efficiency.

  • Stretch up your biceps before lifting
  • Give yourself plenty rest and recovery
  • Control your breathing and body movement
  • Use the right weight
  • Squeeze your bicep at the top
  • Save this lift for your last exercise
  • Alternate your grip as you do new sets

This is Spider Curls: Preacher bar – DB – Straight bar variations.

In this article I am going to give you the low down on all the things you need to know about spider curls. What are they, what pieces of equipment you can do them on and how to best optimize each lift… lets get it!

What are Spider Curls?

Spider curls are a type of biceps workout that targets your short head bicep, and is a key exercise for anyone trying to build bigger biceps.

The spider curl is a type of curl variation that can be performed with a straight bar, a preacher bar, or dumbbells. You will also need an incline bench positioned in a 60° angle in order to complete your spider bicep curls correctly and with proper form.

Spider bicep curls are great if you want to isolate your biceps brachii muscle because spider curls do not allow you to swing your shoulders or use momentum during the curling movement.

Spider curls are completed using an underhand supinated grip and are a great complimentary bicep exercise that you can pair with movements such as hammer curls, concentration curls, drag curls, and close grip preacher curls to enhance both your short and long head bicep on your way to building bigger arms.

Benefits of Doing Spider Curls

With so many different bicep curls to do, you may be asking why do I need to add these spider curls to your arm day’s? Let me tell you.

Short Head Bicep Isolation

Dumbbell Spider Curls as well as Barbell Preacher Spider Curls do an excellent job isolating and activating your short head bicep, which is the muscle in your upper arm that is responsible for giving your bicep its rounded peak. So if your goal is to grow your peak and get bulging biceps, then you need to target your short head bicep; and if you really want to target your short head bicep, then doing spider curls is an excellent exercise to accomplish your goal.

Prohibits Cheating

Spider Curls take your legs, back, and shoulders out of the equation, which means you are unable to use momentum or swing the weight while completing your spider curls. This is good for preventing injury, and it is also an effective method for targeting and isolating your bicep muscles.

Range of Motion

Spider Curls require that you face forward on the incline bench, so that your arms are hanging straight down and you have a full arm extension.

From the starting point of the exercise when your arms are completely extended, to the top of the movement when your bicep is completely contracted, you will experience a full range of motion, which will help activate your short and long head bicep, as well as the muscles in your forearms.

How to Do Spider Curls

Spider Curls, like any other exercise, need to be completed by using the proper curl form in order to achieve the best results. Using the proper form while doing spider curls allows us to more effectively target our biceps, while also minimizing our chances of pulling a muscle.

Be sure to complete the exercise by using a slow and controlled movement. Using a super heavy weight during this exercise is not important. It is important to use a suitable weight that allows you to fully stretch and contract your bicep as your move throughout the lift.

Spider Curls can be completed by using either dumbbells, a barbell, or a preacher bar. We will explain how to do spider curls for all 3 options. You will also need an incline bench, and if you are wondering “what degree should the bench be for spider curls?” then you should adjust the bench to approximately 60°.

Equipment Required:

  • Incline Bench adjusted to an approximately 60° angle
  • 2 dumbbells, or
  • A straight barbell , or
  • A Preacher barbell

DB Spider Curls (Dumbbell Spider Curls)

  1. Find an incline bench and adjust the bench so that the angle is about 60°.
  2. Pick up two dumbbells with an underhand supinated grip.
  3. Turn and face the incline bench. Lay your stomach flat on the bench, on the area that would usually be considered the backrest.
  4. Position your body so that the top of the bench is at the upper part of your chest, comfortably.
  5. Let your arms hang off both sides of the bench, in a dead hang position with your biceps completed stretched
  6. Curl the dumbbells up towards your chest in a slow and controlled movement until your biceps are completely contracted.
  7. Pause and squeeze your bicep at the top of the movement, and then begin to slowly lower the dumbbells back down towards the floor.
  8. Repeat until failure.

Note: This exercise can be performed with a hammer curl movement, as well as the traditional inner bicep curl movement. Adjust steps 6 and 7 depending on which movement you prefer.

Straight Bar Spider Curls

  1. Adjust your incline bench so that the angle is about 60°.
  2. Turn and face the incline bench. Lay your stomach flat on the bench, on the area that would usually be considered the backrest. Make sure your straight bar is already placed on the floor behind the incline bench, so that you can easily grab it once you lay face down.
  3. Position your body so that the top of the bench is at the upper part of your chest, comfortably.
  4. Pick up the straight bar from behind the bench. Grip the bar with an underhand supinated grip shoulder width apart. Hold the straight bar off the ground, with your arms hanging downwards off the sides of the bench.
  5. Begin to curl the straight bar up towards your chest in a slow and controlled movement until your biceps are completely contracted.
  6. Pause and squeeze your bicep at the top of the movement, and then begin to slowly lower the bar back down towards the floor.
  7. Do not let your arms fully extend into a dead hang once you reach the bottom of the movement. Keep your elbows slightly bent so that there is always tension on your biceps. Repeat until failure.

Note: Use a slightly more narrow grip if you are trying to target your long head bicep. If you are attempting to target your short head bicep, you may want to use a grip slightly wider than shoulder width.

Preacher Bar Spider Curls

  1. Adjust the angle of your incline bench to 60°.
  2. Turn and face the incline bench. Lay your stomach flat on the bench, on the area that would usually be considered the backrest. Make sure your preacher bar is already fully prepared and placed on the floor directly behind the incline bench, so that you can easily grab it once you lay face down.
  3. Position your body so that the top of the bench is at the upper part of your chest, comfortably.
  4. Pick up the preacher bar from behind the bench. Grip the bar with an underhand supinated grip shoulder width apart, or whichever part of the preacher bar handle is most comfortable for you since there are different angles and positions. Hold the preacher bar off the ground, with your arms hanging downwards off the sides of the bench.
  5. Begin to curl the weight up towards your chest in a slow and controlled movement until your biceps are completely contracted.
  6. Pause and squeeze your bicep at the top of the movement, and then begin to slowly lower the preacher bar back down towards the floor.
  7. Do not let your arms fully extend into a dead hang once you reach the bottom of the movement. Keep your elbows slightly bent so that there is always tension on your biceps.
  8. Repeat until failure.

Tips and Mistakes to Avoid When Doing Spider Curls

Like any other lift in the gym, there are the unwritten tips and tricks that the gym bro’s who have been lifting for years only know. I am your gym bro, and this additional info around your spider curls will set you apart from everyone else at Golds Gym or wherever you get your lifts in.

Bicep Stretch

Be sure to complete the proper warm up and bicep stretches you need to do before starting your biceps workout. Stretching not only reduces the chance of injury, but it also helps your muscles to grow and develop with a better shape and aesthetic.

Rest and Recovery

Do not over work your biceps, or any of your muscles. Allow at least 48 hours in between bicep workouts in order for your muscles to fully repair, recover, and grow. Overworking your biceps will do just as much negative as it does positive, and you won’t be able to reap the maximum benefits from your awesome bicep workouts.

Control your Body Movement and Breathing

While doing spider curls it is extremely important to control the movement of your torso and also to keep your stomach tight. Your torso helps you to balance, control, and lift the weight while using proper form.

Use the Right Weight

Spider curls do not require you to use heavy weights to effectively complete the exercise. I would recommend that you use something lighter so that you can achieve a nice, deep burn within your bicep. This exercise is about the tension on your bicep, the full range of motion, and the bicep squeeze at the top of the pump.

Squeeze at The Top

When doing spider curls and you reach the top of the movement, be sure to pause and really squeeze and contract your whole bicep muscle. This bicep contraction is the most essential ingredient for growing your arms into explosive bulging biceps.

Save it for Last

Place spider curls at the end or last section of your workout. Spider curls are meant to burn up your bicep and to be a finisher, which is another reason why you shouldn’t be using heavy weights to complete this exercise. Front load your arms workouts, build up a little fatigue, and then finally head over to the incline bench to finish off with some spider curls.

Adjust your Grip

When doing barbell spider curls or preacher bar spider curls feel free to adjust the width of your grip to see what gets you the best results. Start at shoulder width apart and then try more narrow or wide grips as you build your spider curl competency.

You can also consider using bars with different types of thickness, such as a fat grip bar, to activate different kinds of smaller muscles in your forearm and upper arms.

Don’t forget that you may also switch between DB Hammer Spider Curls and Inner Bicep DB Spider Curls when using dumbbells to complete this exercise.

Biceps Workout

Try this awesome biceps workout routine, with spider curls as a finisher!

  • Inner Bicep Curls – 3 sets x 8-10 reps
  • Concentration Curls – 3 sets x 12-15 reps
  • Lying Cable Curls – 4 sets x 8-10 reps
  • Wide Grip Barbell Curls – 3 sets x 6-10 rips
  • Dumbbell Drag Curls – 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Straight Bar Spider Curls – 3 sets x until failure
Tall Paul
Tall Paul
I am 6'7 (203cm) / 235lb (106 kg) model and ex-athlete. Since I was a teen I had trouble finding clothes. I was too tall for off the rack and was too lean for Big & Tall.

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