The Supinated Dumbbell Curl 101 | How to Build Bigger Biceps!

By
Mike Kenler
October 23, 2020

Supinated Dumbbell Curl

Also known as the underhand bicep curl, the supinated dumbbell curl is an essential exercise in any workout program to build bigger biceps. This exercise is simple, versatile, and proven to strengthen your biceps.

If you want to improve your arm size, strength, and aesthetics, the supinated dumbbell curl is for you! 

Muscles Worked by Supinated Dumbbell Curl

Primary Muscle Groups:

The supinated dumbbell curl primarily works your biceps brachii. The bicep muscle is comprised of two “heads:” a long head and a short head. Both heads work together as a cohesive unit during lifting and pulling motions.


Secondary Muscle Groups:

The supinated dumbbell curl secondarily works your brachialis, a muscle in your biceps that lies beneath your biceps brachii. It also activates your brachioradialis, the most prominent muscle in your forearm.

The supinated dumbbell curl also works your abs and back muscles, as they activate to stabilize your body during the curling motion. Other smaller forearms muscles are also worked in the underhand dumbbell curl.

Supinated Dumbbell Curl Benefits

1. Strength and Size Gains

The supinated curl is a premier biceps exercise. Your biceps are optimally targeted during the motion, which helps to strengthen the biceps muscle and increase biceps hypertrophy.

Growing your biceps muscles isn’t just for show — it will improve your performance in other exercises at the gym such as the barbell row and the lat pulldown

2. Improved Athletic Performance

The supinated dumbbell curl can also provide a huge boost to your athletic performance. Any sport that involves throwing, swinging, rowing, and other similar motions depends upon strong biceps.

For that reason, doing underhand bicep curls can help you throw farther and row longer. Simply put, the supinated dumbbell curl can give you an extra edge over your competitors.

3. Improved Aesthetics

Let’s face it — nearly everyone wants to have better looking arms. Depending on your goals, you can use the supinated dumbbell curl to develop bigger, more toned, or more defined biceps.

This exercise is simple to learn and can help you improve the appearance of your arms in no time. 

How to Do the Supinated Dumbbell Curl 

Equipment:

For this exercise, you will need a pair of dumbbells.

Setup:

1. Grab a pair of dumbbells with your palms facing forward.

2. Assume a standing position with your feet roughly hip width apart. 

Action:

1. Keeping your back straight, contract your biceps to curl the dumbbells upwards. 

2. Squeeze your biceps hard at the top and pause for a moment.

3. Slowly lower the dumbbells all the way down to the starting position.

4. Repeat this motion for your desired number of reps. 

Recommendation:

If you are new to the supinated dumbbell curl, choose a light weight to begin and complete 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps. If you are more comfortable with the form, grab a pair of heavier dumbbells and stick to the 6-8 rep range for 3-4 sets. 

Supinated Dumbbell Curl Mistakes

1. Rounding the Back

Many weightlifters tend to round their back when doing supinated dumbbell curls. This rounded back position places a ton of extra stress on your spine and can easily lead to muscle strains and other injuries.

Instead, make sure you engage your back and keep it straight in order to challenge your biceps in the safest way possible. 

2. Using Momentum

One of the biggest mistakes people make during the supinated dumbbell curl is swinging their arms and using momentum to lift the dumbbells up. Truth be told, this happens because they are trying to lift too much weight.

Instead of allowing ego to get in the way, choose a lighter weight and focus on perfecting your form. Paradoxically, lifting lighter weight and focusing on your mind-muscle connection will actually increase your gains and reduce your chances of injury!

3. Rushing the Motion

Another common mistake made during the supinated dumbbell curl is rushing the motion. In other words, people curl upwards in a controlled fashion and then let the dumbbells fall quickly to the bottom. 

Not only can this be unsafe, but this mistake is stealing major gains that can be made during the eccentric portion of the exercise motion.

Instead of rushing through the motion, curl the dumbbells up and down in a slow, controlled fashion. This tempo will increase your time under tension and maximize the benefits of the supinated dumbbell curl.

Supinated Dumbbell Curl Variations

1. Supinated Barbell Curl 

If dumbbells aren’t your thing, you can swap them out for a barbell and some weights. Grab the barbell with your hands slightly wider than your shoulders and make sure your palms are facing away from you.

Then, complete these supinated barbell curls with the same form as the dumbbell variation. Repeat this motion for your desired number of reps.


2. Dumbbell Zottman Curl 

The zottman curl is a great variation of the standard dumbbell curl because it emphasizes your forearms. Begin by grabbing a pair of dumbbells with your palms facing forward. Assume a standing position with your feet roughly hip width apart. 

Keeping your back straight, contract your biceps to curl the dumbbells upwards. Squeeze your biceps hard at the top and twist your hands so that your palms face downwards.

Slowly lower the dumbbells to the starting position and twist your hands so that your palms are facing forward again. Repeat this motion for your desired number of reps.

3. 1-Arm Supinated Kettlebell Curl  

You can also train your biceps unilaterally with the supinated curl to eliminate any muscle imbalances between your right and left biceps.

Grab a kettlebell (or similar handheld weight), keep your core tight, and start curling with the same form as the regular curl with both arms.

Supinated Dumbbell Curl Alternatives

If you enjoyed the supinated dumbbell curl, check out these alternative bicep exercises to improve your bicep training:

1. Resistance Band Reverse Curl 

Assume a standing position on a resistance band with your feet close together. Grab the handles with an overhand grip and tuck your elbows into your sides.

Contract your biceps to curl upwards. Squeeze your biceps hard at the top and then slowly release back to starting position. Repeat for your desired number of reps!

2. Dumbbell Drag Curl

Assume a comfortable stance in a standing position. Grab a pair of dumbbells with a supinated (double underhand) grip with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart.

Bring your elbows and shoulders back slightly as you curl the dumbbells upwards. It should feel like you are "dragging" the weights up your body.

Squeeze your biceps hard at the top and slowly return to the starting position. Repeat for your desired number of reps.


3. Standing Concentrated Bicep Curl (with kettlebell)

Assume a standing position with your feet wider than shoulder width apart. Grab the kettlebell with your right hand and your palm facing away from you. 

Shift your weight to your right side and place your elbow on the inside of your thigh just above your knee for support.

Contract your bicep to curl the kettlebell upwards. Squeeze your bicep hard at the top of the rep and return to the starting position. Repeat for the desired number of reps and be sure to switch arms!


Looking for an Intense Bicep Workout?

Follow along to this 5-minute dumbbell bicep workout!

Thank you for being a part of the Anabolic Aliens community. Always feel free to reach out with any questions, comments, or concerns at kenler@anabolicaliens.com.

Join the Invasion!

This Anabolic Aliens membership will grant you access to workout classes, rehab programs, diet plans, and more exclusive content to help you achieve sustainable success!

Favorite Product:

Mike Kenler
Director of Writing | Certified in Plant Based Nutrition at T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies

JOIN THE INVASION

Get into the best shape of your life with 9 Alien Secrets to Long Term Fitness Success!

Just enter your name and email address and we will send you our FREE Ebook filled with close kept alien secrets!