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Resistance band preacher curls: Will they build your biceps?

Challenge your biceps with these 3 resistance band preacher curl variations.
Written By  Liam Brown
Last Updated on 10th August 2021
A man performing resistance band preacher curls

Due to the biceps brachii insertion at the radial tuberosity, resistance band preacher curls work both parts of this two-headed muscle. But unlike regular resistance band bicep curls, the preacher variation emphasizes the short (inner) head by having you curl with your arms in front of your body.

This naturally results in a strong bicep contraction and a powerful muscle pump.

The following guide shows you how to preacher curl with bands and then discusses the main advantages of the exercise as well as all the variations that are possible.

Resistance band preacher curl exercise details

  • Main Muscles: Biceps brachii
  • Secondary Muscles: Brachioradialis, brachialis, forearm flexors
  • Exercise Type: Strength
  • Exercise Mechanics: Isolation
  • Difficulty Level: Beginner
  • Equipment Needed: Resistance bands

How to do resistance band preacher curls

  1. Connect your resistance bands to a door anchor.
  2. Slip the anchor under your door and then shut the door.
  3. Hold the bands with an underhand grip.
  4. Sit on the floor with your knees up and feet hip-width apart.
  5. Brace your elbows against your knees.
  6. Curl the bands toward your shoulders and squeeze your biceps forcefully.
  7. Release the contraction and allow your elbows to fully extend.
  8. Repeat for 3-4 sets of 12-20 reps.

Resistance band preacher curl advantages

Performing a preacher curl with bands rather than free weights has a number of advantages. Besides being extremely convenient, resistance band preacher curls provide your biceps with an intense workout that will be sure to trigger new gains.

Great biceps pump

A man doing preacher curls with bands

Resistance bands, like cables, provide constant muscle tension. This results in a powerful bicep pump because your muscle fibers don't get a chance to rest until the set is over.

Achieving a strong muscle pump not only enhances the appearance of your arms during training but also helps you to develop an excellent mind-muscle connection because you get used to repeatedly stretching and contracting your biceps.

The only downside is that while bands generate constant tension, they don't provide consistent tension. Instead, bands become heavier the further you stretch them. [1] As such, in order to get the best effects from preacher resistance band curls, it's recommended to move away from the anchor point so that you get challenging resistance levels throughout the entire set.

If you want to emphasize your brachioradialis muscle rather than your biceps, then you can try band hammer curls, which are a great exercise for forearm development.

You can do them almost anywhere

A man performing preacher curls with resistance bands
No gym, no problem

Free weights are excellent muscle-building tools. But they're not exactly portable.

Resistance bands, on the other hand, will fit effortlessly in your suitcase or even a small bag. So no matter where life's adventures take you, you can always stay in shape by getting an intense and effective resistance band bicep workout.

Just make sure to get a resistance band set that includes a door anchor. This way, you'll open up a plethora of new exercise possibilities that will add novelty to your workout routine and muscle to your frame.

You can also perform a spider curl with a resistance band if you want to work your biceps from a different angle and maximize their development.

Joint-friendly

A man performing a single arm resistance band preacher curl

Bands provide more joint-friendly resistance than free weights because less stability is required to lift them. Therefore, they're particularly beneficial for people with poor connective tissue health and those who're rehabbing after an injury. [2]

But at the same time, resistance band preacher curls are awesome for bodybuilders as well because they provide bicep-building muscle pumps and contractions. The tension is tough on the biceps, but it's much kinder to your joints, tendons, and ligaments. So in this sense, the exercise is even better than kettlebell preacher curls if you often experience wrist or elbow discomfort during training.

Resistance band preacher curl variations

There are at least three ways to do resistance band preacher curls. The best variation for you depends on your goals and equipment availability, which we'll discuss in detail below.

One arm band preacher curl

A man doing a one arm band preacher curl

The one arm resistance band preacher curl is very similar to the two-arm version. You can do it sat down with your arm braced against your knee, or you can perform it standing by using your spare arm as a makeshift preacher pad.

The advantage of the single-arm variation is that you can better isolate your biceps because you only need to focus on working one arm at a time. This makes it especially handy if you have muscle imbalances that you'd like to correct.

But the advantage is equally applicable if you're a bodybuilder because by maximally isolating your biceps, you can be sure they're enjoying the lion's share of the tension and getting the stimulus that they need to grow.

Related Exercise: Alternating preacher curl

Preacher pad band curl

A man performing a one arm resistance band preacher curl

There are multiple ways to perform the preacher pad resistance band curl, so I recommended trying them all to see which feels the most comfortable.

The first option is to let your legs stretch out in front of the preacher curl station and then hook a band around your feet. From there, you simply grab the other end of the band and rest your arm on the padding like you would for a standard preacher curl.

If this isn't feasible, then you can ask a training partner to stand on the band while you perform your set.

Alternatively, you can wedge the band (or bands) under the preacher pad itself. Just make sure that you wedge the band securely. Otherwise, it could come loose and hit you in the face!

If you prefer to do your curls standing up, then you can also try doing drag curls with bands. They're very similar to preacher curls in that they create an intense peak contraction, but they're slightly easier to set up when using bands.

Banded preacher curl

A man performing banded preacher curls

You can also integrate bands into the regular preacher curl to manipulate the resistance curve. Specifically, by attaching a band to the bar you'll make the exercise harder when your biceps reach full contraction because.

This is because the contraction is the part of the movement when the band will be at its most stretched, which is to say when the band will exert the most amount of tension.

This variation is great if you want to improve your preacher curl lockout strength and lift heavier weights.

Read More: Back and bicep workout with bands

Should you do preacher curls with bands or not?

Resistance band preacher curls mimic regular preacher curls without the need for a pad. As such, they're the ideal bicep exercise for those who train at home and who don't have access to or can't afford expensive gym equipment.

The banded preacher curl also provides your arms with constant tension throughout the entire repetition. This means that your biceps have to work continuously in order to complete the set, which in turn results in a higher calorie burn and a stronger muscle pump.

It's advisable to stick to high reps for preacher band curls because the range of motion is relatively small. Performing sets of 15-30 reps is an ideal training protocol because this approach will give your biceps plenty of time under tension so that they can grow bigger and stronger.

References

  1. Fentress, S. (2017, July 20). The Science of Rubber Bands. News - Indiana Public Media. https://indianapublicmedia.org/amomentofscience/rubberband.php
  2. Moorhouse, V. (2020, June 16). Are Resistance Bands Good for Joint Pain? POPSUGAR Fitness UK. https://www.popsugar.co.uk/fitness/are-resistance-bands-good-for-joint-pain-47541622
Liam Brown
Liam Brown has been coaching clients as a personal trainer for more than 12 years. Raised by his athlete mother and physiotherapist father, he understands the critical importance of learning the proper technique for both avoiding injury and building muscle.
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