Alternate Dumbbell Preacher Curl Video Exercise Guide


Bicep curls are a staple in any arm-training regimen. But to truly challenge the biceps and promote muscular growth, variations like the Alternate Dumbbell Preacher Curl are key. Offering a unique angle and range of motion, this exercise zeroes in on the biceps to ensure optimum muscle engagement.

Why Opt for the Alternate Dumbbell Preacher Curl?

The preacher bench setup naturally prevents the common issue of using momentum, which can detract from the efficacy of a curl. This ensures that the biceps are doing the bulk of the work. Using dumbbells and alternating arms allows for focused concentration on each bicep individually, helping to prevent or correct imbalances.

Step-by-Step Guide


Begin by adjusting the preacher bench so that the top of the pad is comfortably under your armpits. Grab a pair of dumbbells with a supinated (underhand) grip.

Starting Position:

Sit down on the preacher bench and place one arm on the pad while holding a dumbbell. Let your arm fully extend.


With a controlled motion, curl the dumbbell upwards towards your shoulder. Remember to keep your upper arm and elbow stationary.

Peak Contraction:

At the top of the movement, squeeze the bicep for a moment to maximize muscle engagement.


Slowly lower the dumbbell back to the starting position.


Once you complete your set for one arm, switch to the other and repeat.


1-Mind-Muscle Connection: Focus on the bicep doing the work. This mental concentration can lead to better muscle engagement and growth.

2-Stability: Ensure that your upper arm remains stationary and pressed against the preacher pad throughout the exercise.

3-Breathing: Breathe out as you curl the weight and breathe in as you return to the starting position.


1-Muscle Isolation: The use of the preacher bench ensures that the biceps are isolated, leading to more effective targeting of the muscle.

2-Imbalance Correction: By working each arm individually, any strength discrepancies between the two can be identified and addressed.

3-Variety: Adding this variation to your arm routine can prevent plateaus and stimulate new growth.


What muscles does the Alternate Dumbbell Preacher Curl target?

The primary muscle targeted by this exercise is the biceps brachii. Additionally, the brachialis and brachioradialis, muscles located in the forearm, receive secondary stimulation.

How does the preacher bench enhance the curl exercise

The preacher bench stabilizes the upper arm and prevents the use of momentum, ensuring that the biceps do the majority of the lifting work. This leads to better muscle isolation and engagement.

Can I use a barbell instead of dumbbells for this exercise?

Yes, a barbell can be used for preacher curls. However, alternating with dumbbells allows for individual focus on each arm, which can help identify and correct muscle imbalances.

How should I incorporate the Alternate Dumbbell Preacher Curl into my workout routine?

This exercise can be integrated into any arm-focused workout day. It’s best used after compound arm movements and before other isolation exercises to effectively target and fatigue the biceps.

I feel strain in my shoulders while doing this exercise. What could be the reason?

If you feel strain in your shoulders, it might be due to incorrect positioning on the preacher bench. Ensure that the top of the pad is comfortably under your armpits and that your shoulders are relaxed. If the issue persists, consider seeking guidance from a fitness professional.

How many sets and reps should I perform?

For muscle growth, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps with a challenging weight are typically recommended. If you’re aiming for endurance, you might opt for 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps with lighter weights.

Can beginners attempt the Alternate Dumbbell Preacher Curl?

Absolutely. Beginners can start with lighter weights to ensure they master the form before progressively increasing the weight. It’s an excellent exercise for building foundational bicep strength.

Is there a difference in muscle activation between the alternate dumbbell preacher curl and the traditional (both arms at once) preacher curl?

Yes, the alternate dumbbell preacher curl allows for a unilateral focus, which means each arm works independently. This can lead to increased muscle activation as the dominant arm doesn’t compensate for the weaker one. In contrast, using both arms simultaneously might allow a stronger arm to compensate for a weaker one, potentially leading to imbalances.

sometimes experience wrist pain while doing preacher curls. How can I avoid this?

Wrist pain can result from improper grip or wrist alignment. Make sure your wrists are in a neutral position and not bent backward. It might also help to grip the dumbbell more with the fingers rather than letting it rest too deeply in the palm. If the pain persists, consider using wrist wraps or seeking advice from a physical therapist.

Should I fully extend my arm at the bottom of the curl, or keep a slight bend in the elbow?

While you should lower the weight to get a good stretch in the biceps, it’s advisable not to fully lock out the elbow at the bottom. Keeping a slight bend prevents unnecessary strain on the elbow joint and maintains tension in the biceps throughout the movement.


The Alternate Dumbbell Preacher Curl is more than just another bicep exercise. Its unique setup and execution make it an invaluable tool for those serious about arm development. Whether you’re a novice looking to build foundational strength or a seasoned gym-goer seeking to refine and grow your biceps, this exercise is worth integrating into your routine. As with any exercise, consistency, proper form, and progressive overload are key to seeing results. So, pick up those dumbbells and get curling!

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