September 09, 2021 9 min read
Whether you are a bodybuilding pro, a gym rat, or just your casual lifter, you’re likely clocking time working on your upper body. We all want built shoulders and arms, so let’s talk about getting bigger and faster with spider curls.
Sure, you could spend your gym session doing the same old traditional upper arm workouts - you know, your biceps curls, hammer curls, etc. These tried-and-true moves are classics for a reason. They work! But focusing on them alone will inevitably lead you to the dreaded plateau, where you are working hard without seeing new progress.
So, let’s incorporate more than just the old classics with more targeted upper arm work to strengthen the muscle group. More focus to grow those biceps and build muscle.
Spider curls are a powerful biceps workout to isolate the often-neglected lower part of your bicep muscle and make your arms pop. Let’s talk about how to get them done and what they can do for you!
Spider curls are a type of curl that isolates the short head of the bicep muscle by supporting your chest against a bench. Taking your bodyweight out of the equation removes any momentum assistance you might have enjoyed during your bicep curls.
Spider curls also prevent you from using other muscles, such as your back and shoulders, for your lift. If you complete your spider curls correctly, you will target just the lower part of your bicep, using only that muscle to curl the weight. This way, your biceps do 100% of the work and get 100% of the gain.
We already mentioned that spider curls target the lower part of your bicep, but what does that really mean? Well, let’s break it down.
Your biceps brachii is made up of two “heads,” referred to generally as the long head and the short head. Spider curls target the short head by keeping your arms in front of your body instead of at your sides. Spider curls also activate your brachialis, the muscle that helps you bend your elbow.
Targeting this muscle group is essential if you really want your biceps to pop.
Spider curls focus on the short head of the biceps brachii, creating greater definition in your upper arms and keeping them looking good under your t-shirts and other sleeveless options.
In addition to the biceps, spider curls also target your forearm flexors, as they are crucial to completing this movement. This makes spider curls beneficial to providing mass and definition not just in your upper arm but also in your lower arm. You might not expect it, but believe me, you will feel it in your forearms after the first rep!
Not only will your arms look great, but building muscle here will make a difference in your everyday life. Think about all the times you lift something by bending your elbow – Whether it's groceries, luggage, or anything in between, spider curls will give you that head-turning definition wherever you are.
You will need some equipment to get your spider curls done, but nothing fancy or unfamiliar.
That’s it! That’s all you need.
You probably have this equipment at any gym you use, whether at home or otherwise, so you can start practicing your spider curls in your next workout.
Before we get moving, don’t forget to prepare for your workout with a pre-workout supplement to make sure that you get the most out of your gym time. These can help increase your focus, energy, or reps during your workout. Not sure which supplement to add to your routine?
Grab a bundle and try them out.
So, now that you’ve got your equipment ready and your pre-workout drink prepared, it’s time to get started on our spider curls.
We have a few options here, depending on what type of bench you plan to use.
Both styles will work for spider curls, so pick the one you feel most comfortable with and get set up. Proper form is key - Maintain the starting position throughout the exercise to get the full benefits of the Spider Curl and muscle isolation.
Incline Bench: Lay on your stomach on the incline bench, set to a 45-degree angle. You can bend your knees with your feet facing up or place your feet on the floor, with your weight in the balls of your feet. Extend your arms pointing towards the floor, with palms facing out. Your chest should be pressed against the top of your bench, and the bench should be supporting your weight. Tuck your chin and direct your eyes slightly downward.
Preacher Curl Bench: Sit on your bench, with your feet firmly on the floor and your chin tucked. Push your chest into the bench, letting it support your body weight. The upper pad should be under your arms. Your triceps should be touching the lower pad.
There you have it – the spider curl!
So, now that you can do spider curls, let’s make sure you are doing them well and getting the most out of every rep.
We recommend using spider curls as a finisher after your whole-body workout routine or exercises that focus on your entire arm. Secondary exercises are great for burning out the muscles that you just worked on, so complete your spider curls after your bicep curls.
To further incorporate spider curls into a full arm workout, pair them with exercises that target the long head of the bicep, such as hammer curls. So, here’s a recommended progression for an upper arm workout: bicep curls, hammer curls, spider curls.
While we’re on the subject of designing complete workouts, remember the old cliché: friends don’t let friends skip leg day. It’s a cliché for a reason. Don’t forget to balance your upper body workouts with exercises to target your legs, glutes, and general cardio.
These 10 total-body exercises are an excellent starting point if you aren’t sure where to begin.
Remember, your fitness and workout plans do not start and end in the gym. Be sure to develop and stick to an effective meal plan to get lean and build muscle. If you’re unsure where to begin creating your meal plan, consider tracking your macros to develop a plan that works for you.
Once you have an effective meal plan, take it to the next level with supplements designed for before, during, and after your workout. For an all-in-one purchase that can help you do this, we recommend looking into the Ultimate Pump Stack to get your body ready for optimal results.
Spider Curls might seem redundant on the surface if you already incorporate bicep curls, hammer curls, or preacher curls into your workout, but don’t write them off yet. When you dig deeper, you’ll see why you should consider adding spider curls to your workout, even if you are already doing these other exercises. We will break down a few ways to easily add spider curls into your existing routine.
When it comes to traditional bicep curls, don’t ditch these just for spider curls. More traditional bicep curls focus on the entire bicep brachii without isolating the long or the short head of the bicep brachii. This is important to building muscle in your upper arms and works well with spider curls.
We would recommend finishing your bicep curls sets before starting your spider curls. The targeted focus on the short head will be a robust secondary exercise to your standard bicep curls. Hammer curls primarily target the long head of the brachii, making them an excellent partner for your spider curls.
We would encourage you to do both hammer curls and spider curls after finishing your bicep curls, as both will isolate different parts of the muscle group worked during your bicep curls. Preacher curls are the most similar to spider curls, as both target the same muscle.
However, spider curls tend to be more effective because they allow for a greater range of motion. We would recommend doing spider curls in place of preacher curls during your workout.
Now that you have learned how to do spider curls like a champ, it’s time to hit the gym and get those biceps pumping.
For a quick rundown of what spider curls are, please check out the bullet points below: