The Critical Body logo

How to do a TRX reverse curl correctly

Build your brachialis and brachioradialis with nothing but a suspension trainer.
Written By  Liam Brown
Last Updated on 10th August 2021
A man performing a TRX reverse curl

Because of the insertion of the biceps brachii on the fascia of the forearm via the bicipital aponeurosis and at the radial tuberosity, the biceps has a dual function; elbows flexion and forearm supination.

With these facts of anatomy in mind, you can modify the TRX bodyweight curl by using an overhand grip in order to shift tension away from your biceps and onto your brachialis and brachioradialis instead.

As good as the barbell reverse curl is for building size, not everyone has access to free weights. So if you want an exercise that's convenient as well as highly effective, then the TRX reverse curl is your best bet.

TRX reverse curl exercise details

  • Also Known As: Overhand TRX curl, pronated TRX curl
  • Main Muscles: Brachialis, brachioradialis, biceps brachii
  • Secondary Muscles: Forearm extensors, abs
  • Exercise Type: Strength
  • Exercise Mechanics: Isolation
  • Difficulty Level: Intermediate
  • Equipment Needed: Suspension trainer

How to do a TRX reverse curl

  1. Suspend your TRX above head height.
  2. Grab the handle with an overhand grip.
  3. Step away from the anchor point and lean your body back slightly to create some resistance.
  4. Curl your head toward the handles by moving your biceps toward the tops of your forearms.
  5. Flex your forearms and biceps forcefully as they come into contact with each other.
  6. Hold the contraction for a second or two.
  7. Lower your body slowly until your elbows are locked out.
  8. Perform 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps in total.

TRX reverse curl mistakes

Even though reverse curls are one of the most effective TRX exercises for the biceps that you can do, it's important not to make any of these mistakes if you want to get the best results possible.

Turning it into a row

Man holding a TRX

You need to lock your shoulders in place when you perform the TRX reverse bicep curl and similar no weight bicep exercises so that you don't turn the movement into a row.

You can and should contract your back muscles isometrically to keep your body stable, but you shouldn't drag your elbows behind your body and engage these muscles dynamically.

Instead, think about moving your upper arms toward your forearms while keeping the rest of your torso nice and rigid.

This also applies when you're using the TRX for your forearms. When you're training small muscles, you have to keep a very watchful eye on your form so that you don't take the tension off the target muscles.

Performing fast reps

After you become proficient with biceps calisthenics in general, and the TRX in particular, it's necessary to slow down your reps or add external resistance of some kind (usually via a weighted vest) in order to keep progressing.

So if you can already do 10 reps of TRX reverse curls at normal speed, try to lower your body over a 3-4 second duration to make your arms work even harder.

While lifting heavy weights on exercises like overhand EZ bar curls certainly has its place, your muscles mainly respond to and grow from tension. In other words, if you can make TRX reverse curls harder without adding weight, then you're retaining the convenience of the TRX while also opening new muscle gaining avenues for yourself.

It's fine to perform an explosive concentric, which is the hardest part of the exercise, but really try to slow down the negative portion of your reps to get that all-important time under tension for your arm muscles.

You can also do reverse curls with resistance bands if you train at home and/or don't have access to much equipment or a good place to hang a suspension trainer.

Forgetting about the mind-muscle connection

A man performing TRX reverse curls

It's crucial that you don't just go through the motions during reverse TRX curls. If you do, then there's a good chance that you'll actually take tension off the target muscles by involving stronger body parts like your back.

Try to flex your biceps and brachioradialis before you actually being each rep. This way, your muscles will already be activated before you start the exercise, which will ensure that they make a significant contribution toward the lifting motion.

Then, on the way down, rather than just dropping back to the starting position, try to think about your biceps and Co stretching out under the strain of the resistance. Picture the muscle fibers using their strength to resist the tension as you go from peak contraction to full elbow extension.

Additionally, consider performing a superset biceps routine with your TRX where you begin with reverse curls (harder) and then immediately perform bicep curls (easier) if you don't have the means to add external resistance.

Conclusion

The TRX reverse grip bicep curl is a brilliant exercise for building the brachialis, brachioradialis, biceps, and wrist extensor muscles. Unlike reverse kettlebell curls, the movement also trains your core, which you need to keep stabilized during any kind of TRX drill.

Therefore, if you want to improve your arms while giving your core stabilization muscles the attention they deserve, then TRX reverse curls are one of the best exercises for the job.

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.
chevron-upmenu-circlecross-circle linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram