You are currently viewing How To Master Reverse Curls – Your Definitive Guide

How To Master Reverse Curls – Your Definitive Guide

Do you want your biceps to be bigger? Do you want bigger forearms as well? Have you become tired of doing biceps and wrist curls separately? Try the reverse curl for an arm workout that will activate your biceps and forearm muscles.

Reverse curl is a move that doesn’t just help you develop bigger biceps but ultimately adds muscular size and strength because of the improvement to forearm and grip strength. It can be your secret weapon in your quest to build bigger arms and a better and more proportionate body.  

In this post, we will explain everything you need to know in order to build muscle mass, develop strength and enhance your training and gains.

What Are Reverse Curls and How Do They Work?

The reverse curl is a biceps curl variation that differs from the conventional curl in terms of grip type. Instead of the usual underhand (supinated) grip, you grasp the barbell with hands in an overhand (pronated) setup.

Reverse Curls: A Step-by-Step Guide

Although reverse curls are a simple workout to complete, that doesn’t mean you can’t make a mistake! To ensure that your sets of reverse curls are as effective and safe as possible, follow this step-by-step guide.

  • Grab an EZ-curl bar, barbell, or dumbbells with an overhand, hip-width grip. Hold the barbell/dumbbell with your thumbs on top of the bar (false grip). It increases the difficulty and effectiveness of the exercise. Your feet should be about shoulder-width apart. Your arms should be straight and your knees slightly bent for balance.  Pull your shoulders down and back while looking ahead and brace your core.
  • Squeeze your biceps and bend your elbows while maintaining your upper arms still. Bend your elbows to the point where your lower arms meet your upper arms. The EZ-curl bar/dumbbells should end up near to your shoulders but not touching them. At the top of the exercise, squeeze your biceps and pause.
  • Return to the starting position by slowly straightening your elbows while keeping your upper arms stationary. Before starting another repetition, come to a complete halt at the bottom.

Reverse Curl Benefits

The biceps brachii and brachialis are the key muscles targeted during the reverse curl. Because it is concealed beneath the biceps, the brachialis is not a readily visible muscle. It is the primary mover during elbow flexion and serves as a structural bridge between the upper arm bone and the forearm.

Including this exercise in your routine will help you lift more weight during normal biceps curls and repair muscle imbalances between the flexor and extensor muscles. Also, a pronated grip generates more muscular activation when compared to other grip options.

The reverse biceps curl is occasionally utilized for the rehab of biceps injuries, but only after three months. It is also one of the best workouts for forearms.

Mike mentzer bodybuilder showing off arms after reverse curls

Muscles Worked In Reverse Curls

This one-of-a-kind workout primarily works the biceps brachii, brachioradialis, and brachialis muscles in innovative ways.

Biceps Brachii

The biceps muscle group, also known as the biceps brachii, has two origin locations on the shoulder and a single insertion point on the forearm. It regulates and allows for forearm supination, elbow flexion, and shoulder flexion.


This is one of the major forearm and arm muscles.

It has the capacity to increase the size and look of the arms by elevating the bulk of the biceps by squeezing them from underneath.

To move and flex the elbow, this muscle group works in unison with the biceps. It also serves as a flexor for the forearm.


This muscle is located underneath the biceps brachii

It’s a crucial muscle that allows you to curl your weight at the onset of a movement. It also helps to build general arm muscle mass and functionality.

Reverse Bicep Curl Variations

The reverse biceps curl can be done in a variety of ways as per your fitness level and comfort.

Wall Assisted Reverse Curl

To perform the reverse curl, stand against a wall if you’re having problems keeping good form. This easy variation will help you get the most out of this workout and allow you to lift more effectively.

Reverse Curl With EZ Bar

Use an EZ curl bar to make the exercise more comfortable for your wrists. This version also helps to engage the biceps muscles more effectively

Reverse Barbell Curl

If you’re not sure about using dumbbells, try a barbell instead. The moves and steps are the same. When you do reverse biceps curls with a barbell, you’re working the same muscle groups and reaping the same benefits.

Cable Reverse Biceps Curl

This exercise can also be done on a cable station with a bar attachment. You’re ready to go once you’ve connected the bar to the lowest pulley. (Remember to keep your hands facing down and use a pronated grip).

Prone Incline Reverse Curl

For a more challenging angle during this workout, try a prone incline reverse curl. In this posture, lie face down on an incline bench and perform reverse curls. A barbell, EZ curl bar, or dumbbells can be used for this exercise.

Preacher Reverse Biceps Curl

The usage of a preacher chair provides support while challenging the biceps and brachialis muscles to reach their maximum contraction. Extend your lower arms and place the backs of your upper arms against the bench. Pull a barbell toward your shoulders with a pronated grip before lowering it back down.

Common Mistakes During Reverse Curls

The following are some frequent reverse bicep curl mistakes to avoid.

Too Much Weight

Heavy lifts are possible with a regular bicep curl, but not with reverse bicep curls. The idea is to strengthen the hidden muscle beneath the biceps rather than blasting the biceps.

When you lift too much weight, you risk injuring your muscles and wrists. This can be readily remedied by lowering the resistance to a suitable degree.

Using Momentum

To perform this exercise, keep your upper arms still while bending your elbows to lift the dumbbells up. Your hips and lower back should be stable as well.

The use of momentum is a clear sign that the weight is too heavy. It puts you at danger of harm to your shoulder and lower back. During this workout, keep adequate weight resistance and body mechanics in mind at all times.

Extending The Wrists

Although it may feel natural to extend the wrists during elbow flexion, this puts undue strain on the wrist joint and extensor muscles. For an effective and proper reverse biceps curl, keep your wrists straight throughout the whole range of motion.

Take Away

The reverse biceps curl is a variation of the conventional biceps curl in which you grip the weight with your hands facing down instead than up.
Remember that the quality of the contraction always takes precedence over the quantity of weight lifted. Reverse bicep curls can be used as a bonus workout to complement your bigger lifts.
Including this exercise in your regular workout can help you develop stronger, more toned arms.


Rahul is a sports and performance consultant. Over the course of his 15-year career in the fitness sector, he has held positions as a strength and conditioning instructor, gym owner, and consultant. He is deeply committed to assisting people in finding happiness and feeling good about themselves. Rahul has a master's degree in exercise science and is a certified NSCA CSCS and CISSN.

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