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Spider Curl Guide: How to Do the Spider Curl for Bigger, Wider Biceps

With this challenging curling exercise, learn how to do the spider curl properly and build bigger biceps by targeting all your arm muscles, primarily the biceps brachii.

Rosie Ford
Spider Curl Guide: How to Do the Spider Curl for Bigger, Wider Biceps
Table Of Contents

The biceps are one of the most popular muscles in the gym. And for a good reason, they're showy, easy to work on and respond well to training. But if you want to take your bicep workouts to the next level, you need to start doing spider curls.

Spider curls are a type of curl that targets the inner head of the biceps, which is responsible for giving your arms that wide, impressive look. They're also great for building strength and overall size . So if you're looking for bigger, wider biceps, spider curls are the way to go.

Of course, before you start doing spider curls, you must know how to do them correctly. That's why we've put together this quick guide. In it, we'll walk you through everything you need to know about spider curls - from setting up your equipment to executing the perfect curl. 

So if you're ready to add this powerful exercise to your bicep routine, read on!

What is the Spider Curl Exercise?

The spider curl, an isolated workout, primarily focuses on your biceps. Use an incline bench adjusted to a 45-degree angle or a bench explicitly made for this biceps workout to perform spider curls. Spider curls require a slow, controlled motion from beginning to end, similar to concentration curls.

Once you've mastered the dumbbell spider curl, try using a barbell or an EZ bar with angled handles as your free weight. Spider curls are a useful biceps exercise you can incorporate into your bodybuilding regimen with some practice. Warm up with spider curls before performing bicep-activation exercises like bicep stretches and standing hammer curls.

Here’s how to do it with proper form:

  • A flat bench should be angled at 45 degrees.
  • Place your feet on the ground and lean your chest against the bench. Your knees should be slightly bent, and your legs should be long. The balls of your feet should support your weight.
  • With your palms facing away from your body, grasp the dumbbells.
  • Allow your arms to hang while keeping a slight bend in your elbows. Rotate your shoulders outward to engage your lats.
  • Your chin should remain tucked throughout the movement as if carrying an egg. Engage core. Start each repeat from this location.
  • Squeeze your biceps and bend your elbows until your lower arms come into contact with your upper arms while maintaining your posture. The dumbbells should be kept from touching your shoulders. Just get near them.
  • Squeeze your biceps, then pause when the movement is complete.
  • To get back to where you started, slowly straighten your elbows. At the bottom, stop completely before starting a new repetition.

Benefits of Doing Spider Curls

When it comes to working out, there are all sorts of different exercises that you can do to achieve your fitness goals. However, one exercise that is often overlooked is the spider curl. Spider curls are a great way to build muscle in your arms and can also be used to sculpt other areas of your body. Here are some of the benefits of doing spider curls:

Spider curls help build muscle in your arms. When you do a spider curl, you perform a bicep curl with an added twist. This extra twist helps engage more muscles in your arms, which leads to increased muscle growth.

Spider curls are an excellent exercise for people of all fitness levels. If you’re starting, you can use lighter weights and higher reps to get used to the movement. As you get stronger, you can increase the weight and decrease the reps to challenge yourself.

So, if you’re looking for a new exercise to add to your workout routine, give spider curls a try! You might just be surprised at how effective they are.

Common Spider Curl Mistakes

Anyone who's attempted a spider curl knows that they're not easy. They're pretty darn hard. But that makes them such an excellent exercise for targeting your biceps. Of course, with any challenging exercise, there's always the risk of making mistakes. Here are some common spider curl mistakes to avoid if you want to get the most out of this exercise:

Too Much Weight: 

There is a fine line to be drawn here. You want to use weights that are heavy enough to exhaust your biceps but not so heavy that you can't raise them toward your shoulder. Alternatively, you might have to swing your arms to gain momentum. 

Remember that since this is an isolation exercise, you can use a different amount of weight than you would for a more complicated action. Less is more in this instance because the biceps isn't dependent on other muscles to assist in lifting the weight.

Reduced Range of Motion: 

One of the ways this exercise works so well is by fully extending your arm and then raising it so your lower arm touches your upper arm. Fully extending and flexing your arms is essential because very few workouts get your body out of the way of your arms (which is what the incline bench assists with this movement).

Your biceps won't contract as hard and will develop less hypertrophy if you don't fully flex and extend them. Another justification for not using really heavy weights is this. Heavy weights are fantastic, but not if they restrict the range of motion in your arms.

Not Focusing on Biceps Contracting: 

Exercises that target a specific muscle contraction are called isolation exercises. Select a dumbbell weight that lets you concentrate on squeezing your biceps to raise your lower arm above your upper arm. Use your biceps' strength to lift the weight by focusing on squeezing it the entire time. Here, the mind-muscle link is everything. Be sure to squeeze your muscles.

Out of Form:

With this move, you may make various postural flaws that will all reduce the spider curl's effectiveness. A few pointers throughout the exercise, keep your upper arms ideally still, your feet firmly on the ground, your gaze directed downward to prevent neck strain, and whatever you do, avoid swinging your arms!

Variations of the Exercise

One of the great things about the spider curls exercise is that you can do many variations to target different muscle groups. For example, if you want to focus on your biceps, you can do a traditional curl with dumbbells. 

Or, if you're looking to work your triceps, you can do a close-grip curl. You can even mix it up and do a one-arm curl with a twist at the top to work those muscles. And that's just the beginning! 

Overhand Spider Curl

This one may be done with either dumbbells or a barbell, but keep in mind the golden rule: fewer weights for dumbbells, heavier weights for the barbell. Particularly when utilizing an overhand grip, this is true. The mover's advantage is that it concentrates on the brachialis and brachioradialis, two arm muscles that don't receive much attention in typical lifter programs. 

With an overhand grip, both muscles fully engage, making this a terrific activity to strengthen them. Despite not being as flashy as the biceps, these two muscles can enlarge the entire arm. Additionally, it guarantees that you don't have muscle imbalances, which is crucial for avoiding injuries.

This variation raises the biceps' long head to a higher degree due to hand positioning.

The typical spider curl form should be used, but palms facing down should be used instead of the previous hold. It's a great burn-out exercise at the end of an upper-body workout.

Single-Arm Dumbbell Spider Curl

People adore unilateral exercises because they help you become stronger and spot muscle imbalances. Completing eight repetitions on one side but only four on the other is a big red flag.

However, you can only address a problem you're aware of. Therefore, unilateral exercises are essential for evenly developed muscles. If you want to give the biceps long head more focus, use this exercise to target it more strategically.

Assume the traditional spider curl stance with one dumbbell in your right hand. Curl the dumbbell up more toward your body's midline or your opposite shoulder if you want to work your biceps long head. 

To concentrate on your little head, move the dumbbell toward your shoulder on the same side.

Dumbbell Neutral Grip Spider Curl

The neutral grip spider curl can be the right version if you enjoy hammer curls. We've discussed a couple of different spider curl versions that either isolates the brachialis and brachioradialis or concentrate on the biceps. 

However, the neutral grip option simultaneously engages all three muscles, giving you a bit more bang from this workout.

The biceps don't work as hard with this exercise as the underhand variation, but there are always trade-offs. Even so, it's a relatively reasonable trade-off considering that this movement targets all three muscles, and your grip position makes it possible for you to lift heavier objects. 

The only difference in shape is your grasp. Hold your dumbbells in that position, palms facing one another.


1. What are spider curls, and how do they work?

Spider curls are a type of exercise that targets the biceps muscles in your upper arms. By performing this exercise, you can build strength and definition in your arms and improve muscular endurance.

2. When should I incorporate spider curls into my workout routine?

Spider curls are best suited for inclusion in an upper body workout routine that targets various muscle groups, including the biceps, triceps, shoulders, and chest muscles.

You can typically include spider curls either at the beginning or end of these workouts, depending on whether you prefer to train larger muscle groups first or smaller muscle groups last (or vice versa).

3. What results can I expect from regularly doing spider curls

Regularly doing spider curls will help tone and sculpt your upper body by strengthening the biceps and core muscles, leading to a better definition in these areas over time. 

You may also notice improvements in overall stamina, strength, balance, coordination, and flexibility as you progress through different stages of this exercise program over time. 

Some people report increased confidence and self-esteem with these physical changes as they feel more comfortable showing off their newly toned and fit physique after regular workouts!

4. Are there any considerations or precautions when doing spider curls?

Taking precautions when doing spider curls is essential, especially if you have any existing injuries or medical conditions that this type of exercise could aggravate. 

You should always warm up properly and stretch before starting any workout routine that involves lifting heavy weights. Make sure to use proper form throughout each movement to avoid injury or strain.

The Bottom Line

The perfect biceps workout targets all the key muscles in your arms, and the spider curl is an excellent exercise. By isolating your biceps and using a neutral or overhand grip, the spider curl allows you to focus on building bigger, wider biceps.

Plus, the added challenge of keeping your elbows close to your body makes this exercise ideal for advanced lifters looking for a new way to mix up their routine. 

So, if you're ready to take your biceps workout to the next level, give the spider curl a try! You might be surprised at how quickly you start seeing results.

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Rosie Ford

Rosie began her career in communications as a writer and later as a communications coordinator for renowned university of South Carolina. She is also trained in the field of article writing specially related to fitness and yoga.

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