Are you curious about the best grip for preacher curls?
Preacher curls are one of the best exercises you can perform for your biceps.
Unfortunately, preacher curls can be confusing. There are so many different grips that you can choose from!
So what's the best grip for preacher curls?
There are many great grips that you can use on preacher curls. If you are using an ez-curl bar, you can use a supinated or pronated grip, or a wide or narrow grip. With dumbbells, you can use a supinated, neutral, or pronated grip.
All of these different grip variations work different parts of the elbow flexors. For example, the supinated grip works more of the biceps brachii, while the pronated grip works more of the brachialis and brachioradialis.
Don't worry – in this guide, I will show you how to use all of these different grips to make faster progress in the gym. Now let's get started!
The Preacher Ez-Bar Curl
Preacher ez-bar curls are one of the best mass-building exercises that you can perform.
In my experience, the ez-curl bar works better than the regular 45-pound barbell for preacher curls. This is because the ez-curl bar puts less pressure on your wrists, and makes it easier to use a wider or more narrow grip.
The truth is, there are 4 main grips you can use with a preacher ez-curl bar:
The 4 Preacher Curl Ez-Bar Grips
- Option #1: The wide / supinated grip
- Option #2: The narrow / supinated grip
- Option #3: The wide / pronated grip
- Option #4: The narrow / pronated grip
Let's take a closer look at each of these grips.
Option #1: The wide / supinated grip
If your goal is to target the short head of the biceps, then this is BY FAR the best grip that you can use on preacher curls.
Research shows that all types of preacher curls are great for targeting the short head of the biceps. However, using a wide grip also increases emphasis on this muscle group.
This makes the wide / supinated grip preacher ez-bar curl one of the best short head biceps exercises of all time!
Option #2: The narrow / supinated grip
Using a narrow / supinated grip will place slightly more emphasis on the long head of the biceps, compared to the previous version. However, this is still a preacher curl, so the majority of the emphasis will still be on the short head of the biceps.
This is another great all-around preacher curl variation.
Most people will be able to use slightly more weight with the narrow / supinated grip, than the wide / supinated grip, so keep that in mind when selecting your loads!
Option #3: The wide / pronated grip
Whenever you curl with a pronated grip, you are primarily targeting the brachialis and brachioradialis.
Research shows that the biceps doesn't help you AT ALL when using a pronated grip!
If your goal is to train the brachialis muscle, then this grip is absolutely perfect.
In my experience, the preacher reverse curl is much easier to make progress on than the standing reverse curl. This is probably because your elbows are fixed against the preacher curl station, so you are unable to cheat the weight up using momentum.
Option #4: The narrow / pronated grip
The narrow / pronated grip preacher curl also works the brachialis muscle.
In my experience, this grip is a little bit less effective than the previous one. When you use a narrow / pronated grip, it actually becomes much more difficult to stabilize the weight in your hands.
The bar has a tendency to “rotate,” making it much easier to perform the exercise.
Of course, this is still a good exercise. However, for these reasons, I like the wide / pronated grip a little bit more than the narrow / pronated grip.
The Preacher Dumbbell Curl
Dumbbell preacher curls are another excellent variation that you can use to build bigger, stronger biceps.
Here are the 4 main grips that you can use on the dumbbell preacher curl:
Let's take a closer look at each of these options. Words words words
Option #1: Supinated Grip
The supinated grip is the most “obvious” grip that you can use on dumbbell preacher curls. This grip is ideal for targeting the biceps muscle. Most of the time, I prefer to perform this exercise 1 arm at a time.
For example, you could perform a set for your left arm, rest 10 seconds, and then perform a set for your right arm.
Performing these sets unilaterally will allow you to use slightly heavier weight and recruit slightly more muscle fibers in the target muscle. However, both variations are acceptable.
Option #2: Neutral Grip
The neutral grip is ideal for targeting the brachialis and brachioradialis, although the biceps muscle will still receive some stimulation.
This is one of the main advantages of using a dumbbell for preacher curls, rather an an ez-curl bar!
With the dumbbell, you can curl with a neutral grip. With the ez-curl bar, this is impossible.
Option #3: Supinating Grip
The supinating grip is another unique grip that you can use with the dumbbell preacher curl.
The idea here is to initiate the exercise with a neutral grip, and then finish the movement with a supinated grip.
This places increased emphases on the short head of the biceps, as one of the functions of the short head is to supinate the forearm.
Option #4: Offset grip
This is another unique grip that you can use with dumbbells.
The basic idea is to hold the dumbbell so your pinky is touching the inside of the dumbbell.
This places increased stretch and mechanical tension on the short head of the biceps – especially in the very bottom position of the exercise.
Preacher Ez-Bar Curl Sample Routines
Now let's look at a sample preacher curl routine, using some of the grips that we covered in this article.
If you are looking to blow up your biceps, then it's hard to beat Larry Scott's infamous biceps tri-set.
Larry Scott was the first-ever Mr. Olympia winner. He famously used the preacher curl station to build up his unbelievable arms. Larry used this exercise so much, that the preacher curl is sometimes called the Scott curl!
Larry liked to perform 3 preacher curl variations in a row as part of a tri-set.
In other words, he performed 3 biceps exercises in a row with only 10 seconds rest in between sets. Check it out:
The Larry Scott Bicep Workout
- Exercise A1: Dumbbell Preacher Curls, 3-5 sets of 6-8 reps**, 10 seconds rest
- Exercise A2: Barbell Preacher Curls, 3-5 sets of 6-8 reps**, 10 seconds rest
- Exercise A3: Reverse Ez-Curl Bar, 3-5 sets of 6-8 reps**, 3 minutes rest
**Perform 6-8 full range of motion reps then 4-6 partial reps out of the bottom position.
CLICK RIGHT HERE for the training video of this workout.
Talk about a brutal biceps workout!
Tri-sets like this one are so effective because they increase the time under tension on the target muscle.
If a normal set takes about 20 seconds to complete, then a tri-set like this one will take 60 seconds!
This increased time under tension places increased stress on the target muscle. In the long-run, this means faster size and strength gains!