Dumbbell curl


For gym-goers looking to target their biceps, the standing dumbbell curl offers an effective, unilateral (each side of the body working independently) way. During the initial stages of the curl the brachialis muscle, which runs beneath the biceps, is strongly recruited, with the biceps most stimulated as the arm comes up parallel to the ground and beyond.

This exercise profile discusses the dumbbell curl performed in an alternated fashion, with the athlete performing the curl with one arm and then mirroring it with the other after the repetition is complete. You can, however, perform the curl with both arms simultaneously if you so wish.

Sport uses

Sports which involve grabbing, pulling and grappling require strong and powerful arm flexor muscles. The dumbbell curl primarily targets these muscles, but is unlikely going to provide a fruitful staple exercise for overall upper body development. Athletes would find it more effective to perform multi-joint exercises to improve strength and power, with the possibility of supplementing with isolation exercises, such as the dumbbell curl.

Similar exercises



  1. Locate a set of dumbbells of suitable weight
  2. Stand erect grasping the dumbbells to your sides
  3. Keep a slight bend in the knee and fix your upper arms to the side of your body


  1. Starting with a neutral grip (palms facing towards your body), curl the dumbbell in your left hand upward whilst rotating at the wrist so that your palm is facing upward once you reach the top of the exercise
  2. Reverse the movement back to the starting position
  3. Repeat for the other arm
  4. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions

Useful links

www.youtube.com - A video demonstrating the resistance band curl. An alternative option for those who train with resistance tubes and bands


Muscles targeted during the Dumbbell curl

(Primary target / Secondary target)


Stablisers and secondary targets

View all arm exercises