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TRX bicep curl form and variations

Are your biceps tough enough for TRX curls?
Written By  Liam Brown
Last Updated on 10th August 2021
A man performing a TRX bicep curl

Since the primary biceps brachii function besides elbow flexion is forearm supination, the TRX bicep curl ticks all the boxes because it trains both of these functions simultaneously. And, because you're curling with your arms in front of you, the TRX biceps curl also trains shoulder flexion, which is another anatomical task that the biceps perform and which also intensifies the bicep peak contraction.

Hence, suspension trainer curls are one of the most effective bicep body weight exercises for building muscle and getting stronger, regardless of whether you're training your biceps at home or in the gym.

This guide demonstrates how to do TRX curls with the optimal muscle-building form and then shows you three other advanced TRX bicep exercises that you can do to challenge your arms.

TRX bicep curl exercise details

  • Also Known As: TRX bodyweight curl
  • Main Muscles: Biceps brachii
  • Secondary Muscles: Forearm flexors, brachialis, brachioradialis, abs
  • Exercise Type: Strength
  • Exercise Mechanics: Isolation
  • Difficulty Level: Beginner
  • Equipment Needed: Suspension trainer

How to do TRX bicep curls

A man performing a TRX biceps curl
  1. Attach your TRX to an anchor point above head height.
  2. Grab the handles with an underhand grip.
  3. Step away from the anchor point and lean your body back to create some resistance.
  4. Make sure that your back is flat and that your feet are close together.
  5. Curl your face toward the TRX handles while keeping your elbows and shoulders still.
  6. Keep curling until the undersides of your forearms make firm contact with your biceps.
  7. Hold the contraction for a full second.
  8. Lower your body under control until your elbows reach full extension.
  9. Perform 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps in total.

TRX biceps curl variations

These TRX biceps curls are more intense and challenging than the regular version. So if you find them too difficult initially, then you can simply modify the standard TRX bicep curl by moving your feet further away from the anchor point to increase the resistance.

Then, once this becomes too easy, you can progress to one of the advanced variations.

You can also do a TRX bicep superset by starting with a harder version (i.e., reverse curls) and then moving immediately into an easier exercise (bicep curls).

Single arm TRX curl

The single arm TRX biceps curl provides double the resistance of the regular version because you're now lifting your body weight with one arm rather than two. This naturally makes it a valuable exercise for improving the symmetry of your biceps because by training each arm separately, you can ensure that each bicep is receiving roughly equal work. [1]

Before you begin this no weight bicep workout, you'll need to thread one of the TRX handles through the other one. Alternatively, you can grip both handles to work on your grip strength, but this will make the exercise much harder and may reduce your ability to focus on training your biceps.

Start your set by grabbing the one TRX handle with an underhand grip. Then, take a few steps away from the anchor point and lean your torso back to create some resistance. Moving further away from the anchor point will make the exercise harder, whereas staying closer to it will lessen the resistance.

Once your body is in the correct position, curl your head toward the TRX handle and squeeze your biceps as hard as you can. Hold the contraction for 1-3 seconds, and then lower yourself back down to the starting position by letting your biceps take the full load of your bodyweight. Aim to perform 3 sets of 8-15 reps per arm, or just get as many as you can if you're new to one arm TRX curls.

Side TRX curl

Woman doing a single arm TRx bicep curl

Performing TRX bicep curls side-on creates a really intense peak contraction in your biceps and makes your arms looked pumped. This is because curling toward the side of your head trains your biceps in their fully shortened anatomical position; hence this exercise is excellent for building mass.

Stand side-on to your TRX and grab the handle with a supinated grip. Lean away from the anchor point so that your elbow is completely extended. Initiate the rep by curling the side of your head toward the TRX handle. Allow your shoulder to raise up slightly as you curl in order to intensify the peak contraction.

Pause for a full second (or more) once your bicep is maximally contracted. Lower your body under control until your elbow is once again fully extended. Repeat the motion with your other arm and do 3 sets of 8-15 reps per side.

Full TRX bodyweight curl

Woman doing TRX curls outside

If you find the one arm TRX bicep curl too demanding but the regular version too easy, then this modified TRX biceps curl is a good middle ground.

Essentially, you're going to be supporting a larger percentage of your body weight than in standard TRX curls, but you'll still be doing so with both arms.

Start out by holding the handles with an underhand grip. Take a few steps away from the anchor point, and then lower yourself into a squat position. Your knees should be at a 90-degree angle, your spine should be straight, and your eyes should be looking straight ahead.

Begin the rep as usual by curling your head toward the handles while keeping your core tight and elbows still. Your legs will naturally move as well, but they should only move as a consequence of your biceps lifting your body weight. To say it another way, don't actually use your legs to complete the reps. They're simply there to add extra resistance to your TRX bicep curls.

Read More: Bicep workout for women

Conclusion: How effective are TRX curls?

The TRX bicep curl is a highly effective bodyweight exercise that will increase the size and improve the shape of your arms when you perform it consistently. It's also an excellent muscle-building movement for those who train at home because you don't need any free weights or fancy gym equipment.

With so many TRX biceps curl variations at your disposal, even the strongest weight lifters will get a pleasant surprise at just how challenging TRX curls can be.

The TRX is also completely adaptable to your current level of fitness. For example, you can ease yourself into the TRX curl by standing closer to the anchor point, which will lighten the resistance. Or you can test your strength by striding away from the anchor point and leaning your body back further to really make your biceps burn.

References

  1. Fokken, B. (2017, October 25). 5 Ways Unilateral Training Can Transform Your Body. Bodybuilding.Com. https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/5-ways-unilateral-training-can-transform-your-body.html
  2. Harris, S., Bjork, E., Brewer, W., & Ortiz, A. (2015). Muscle Activation Patterns during TRX Suspension Training Exercises. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 47(5S), 937. https://doi.org/10.1249/01.mss.0000479278.25611.a6
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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