Incline Dumbbell Curls

Incline Dumbbell Curls (How To, Muscles Worked, Benefits)

I don’t know what it is about Incline Dumbbell Curls, but they are one of my favorite curl movements. The stretch at the bottom of the rep combined with the big contraction at the top makes them an awesome bodybuilding style lift at the end of a workout.

In this guide, I’m going to teach you how to do Incline Dumbbell Curls including muscles worked, coaching tips and a few alternatives in case you need them.

How To Do Incline Dumbbell Curls

Equipment Needed

  • Adjustable Bench
  • Dumbbells


  • Set up an adjustable bench to roughly 45 degrees.
  • Start in a seated position, knees bent with feet flat on the ground about hip-width apart.
  • Hold one dumbbell in each hand and lay back on the bench, lowering the arms down to the sides.
  • You can start with palms facing forward or facing in toward the body.
  • Now, curl both dumbbells up to shoulder level by flexing the biceps hard. Palms should finish up, facing the shoulder.
  • Squeeze the biceps at the top of the rep and then lower back down to the starting position.

Coaching Points

The biggest mistake I see with Incline Dumbbell Curls is swinging the dumbbells at the bottom of the rep. Lower the weights down under control and do not swing them at the bottom.

Benefits of Incline Dumbbell Curls

In general, Incline Dumbbell Curls share most of the same benefits as other bicep curl movements. They will help improve strength and develop size in the biceps (most specifically the biceps brachii).

Specifically, when it comes to Incline Dumbbell Curls, they are one of the best exercises for getting a full stretch of the biceps at the bottom of each rep because of the angle at which you sit.

How Many Reps?

Incline Dumbbell Curls are a supplemental strength exercise. Recommended rep range is 2 to 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps.

Muscles Worked

Biceps Muscle 3D Body

Incline Dumbbell Curls work the biceps of the upper arms and slightly work the front delt and forearms.

More specifically, Seated Dumbbell Curls involve the Biceps Brachii, Brachialis and Brachioradialis and to a lesser extent the anterior part of the Deltoideus.

Incline Dumbbell Curl Variations

Looking to shake up your workout a bit? Here are a couple of Seated Dumbbell Curl variations.

Seated Dumbbell Hammer Curls

Seated DB Hammer Curls are a simple, but effective Incline Dumbbell Curl variation. Instead of leaning back at an incline, sit up tall on a bench. Then, instead of turning the palms up, keep the palms turned in for the entire movement.

This is the perfect variation if you don’t have an adjustable bench. Seated Curls can be done on any bench (or even a box).

BONUS: You can also do regular curls from a seated position as well. Seated Dumbbell Curls are another similar and effective variation if you don’t have access to an adjustable bench.

Dumbbell Curls

Another variation for seated curls is to just not sit. With Dumbbell Curls, everything stays the same except they are performed standing up instead of in a seated position.

Incline Dumbbell Curls Alternatives

If you can’t do Incline Dumbbell Curls, for whatever reason, here are a couple of alternatives you may be able to use as a replacement.

Want more options? Here are my 11 favorite Incline Dumbbell Curl alternatives.

Barbell Curl

Barbell Curl

If you don’t have dumbbells, don’t worry, Barbell Curls are a perfect (some would even say better) alternative to their dumbbell cousin.

Stand tall, grip the bar shoulder-width apart, keep elbows tucked and curl the bar up to shoulder level. Slowly lower back to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of reps.

Band Curls

If Dumbbell Curls bother your wrist or elbow, you may be able to give Band Curls a try. Stand on one end of a resistance band and grab the other end with both hands.

With Band Curls, you can use more of a neutral grip by keeping your palms facing each other. Sometimes this type of grip (also similar to the grip used in hammer curls) can be less stressful on the wrist and/or elbow.

More Links and Info

Looking for more Biceps and Triceps exercises? Check out the Arm Farm section of the Exercise Library where you’ll find dozens of exercises, all with step-by-step instructions.

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