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Reverse Curl

the Reverse Curl, also called pronated curl, is a variant of the curl bar that is effective in targeting the lower biceps, i.e. the anterior brachial, and in strengthening the wrist muscles.

the Reverse curl, which differs from the bar curl by the position of the hands (taken in pronation and not in supination), contributes to developing muscle mass in the lower part of the biceps. The reverse curl is therefore practiced as a complement to the basic movements allowing to work of the whole muscle.

How To Make Reverse Curl

1- Starting position

  • Grab a straight bar with your hands shoulder-width apart and an overhand grip (palms facing the thighs).
  • Stand upright, chest straight, feet slightly apart for a stable posture.
  • Let the arms hang alongside your body, keeping your elbows slightly bent and close to your torso.
  • Keep the upper part of the arms still during the entire movement. Only the forearms should move.

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2- Execution of the Movement

Raise the bar
  • Contract your biceps to lift the barbell.
  • Continue until the barbell is about shoulder height and the biceps are fully contracted.
  • The palms of the hands should then be facing the floor / facing you.
  • Stay in the upper position for one second for optimal contraction.
Lower the bar
  • Slowly lower the bar to return it to the starting position.
  • Control your movement, and take care in the low position not to fully extend your arms but to keep a slight sag at the elbows.

Repeat the entire movement until the end of your series.

Safety instructions

Never fully extend your arms at the bottom of the movement to avoid endangering the biceps and the long supinator. Never break your wrists, your hands must remain aligned with your forearms throughout the movement.

Be careful, if you tend to compensate with your lower back, with your legs or if you can’t keep your upper arms still, your bar may be overloaded. The lifted weight should then be reduced.

Risks and mistakes to avoid

  • Keep your chest straight, shoulders back, and elbows close to your torso while performing the reverse curl.
  • Be sure to move only the forearms, the upper arms (from the elbows to the shoulders) should remain still.
  • If you compensate with your legs or lower back, lower the load.
  • Do not break your wrists, your hands should be aligned with your forearms during the entire overhand curl.
  • Use a load lower than that used for supine curl exercises or hammer grip (neutral grip) to perform the reverse curl.

Tips for reverse curl at the bar

Start with a lightweight in order to master the technique.

You can observe yourself in a mirror to check that your posture is adequate. It is also possible to start practicing this exercise by leaning against a wall, so as to avoid swinging and moving your elbows. Use the cheat only if it is necessary and only at the end of the series.

the Reverse curl is an isolated exercise designed to strengthen the forearms and biceps. It can be done at the end of bicep training (otherwise you would have a hard time lifting heavier weights due to the exhaustion of your forearms).

The use of the EZ bar is recommended if of course, it is available. The uncomfortable position of the hand when holding the barbell straight can lead to wrist injuries (this also applies to the “normal” position with the palms of the hands up).

The Reverse curl is a good example of an isolated/limited exercise. It’s not the best exercise to gain mass, however. The advantage of the desk curl is that the body position requires you to perform the exercise precisely, without cheating or moving your elbows.

The added value of the desk curl has not been proven for beginners. Experienced bodybuilders can work this exercise for the better tracing of their biceps.

Save this exercise for the end of your bicep workout, as it depletes your forearms.

Morphological impact

The inverted curl, just like the hammer curl, allows less stretching of the biceps tendon, which limits injuries in the outstretched position. In addition, it places great demands on the long supinator and the brachialis which, as we know, are important muscles to be enlarged to “camouflage” a short bicep. And therefore have a better rendering of the arm.

People with long biceps can of course also practice the reverse curl in the search for enlargement of the long supinator and the anterior brachial which will make an arm and forearm thicker. However, this exercise is not the one to be given priority for these people.

Targeted muscles

The inverted curls with the bar work, first, the anterior brachial and the long supinator, located at the forearm. But, this exercise also exercises the forearm more generally, as well as the biceps.

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  • Exhale while lifting the bar.
  • Inhale during the descent and in the low position.

For better balance and/or the use of heavy loads block your breathing during the lifting of the bar, exhale after the effort.


The first variant of this movement is the inverted curl with an EZ bar. The straight bar is less comfortable for the wrists and the risk of injury is greater. Prefer the EZ bar if you have weak wrists.

It is possible to perform reverse curls with the low pulley, with an EZ or straight bar. But, you can also practice it with dumbbells.

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