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Standing Preacher Curl [Exercise Guide]

Standing Preacher Curl

What Is Standing Preacher Curl

If you want to maximize your bicep development, you need to be familiar with this workout. Preacher curls are a classic bodybuilding move that has been around since the 1960s. They got their name because they look like a preacher bending over a pulpit. 

Preacher curls are a biceps exercise that is performed while standing. When done on an incline bench, the action is incredibly precise, so cheating or making a move wrong would be difficult. It is good news for beginners. The move’s technique is basically elbow flexion combined with wrist supination. This move has many variations, but some key characteristics set it apart. For instance, you need a bench and dumbbells to practice standing preacher curl.

What Muscles Does Standing Preacher Curl Work

The primary focus of the exercise is on the biceps. The short head gets the biggest tension during this workout. And as we know, precisely this part is responsible for the looks and size the most. The movement secondary involves:

  • forearms
  • brachialis
  • brachioradialis

All of your abdominals, obliques, and rhomboids all function or serve as stabilizers. The secondary stabilizers a standing preacher curl engages are the core, back, and leg muscles.

How to Perform Standing Preacher Curl

Step 1. Get into the starting position

Put a loaded bar in the preacher rack and prepare for a great upper-body workout. Stand behind the station and hold your arms on the sloping side of the pad.

Step 2. Go up

Grip the bar with the palms facing away from you. Bring the weights up to your shoulders by curling them. Continue raising until your bicep and forearm muscles establish powerful contact with one another. Contract your biceps as forcefully as you can.

Step 3. Return to the start

Slowly drop the bar down. Allow your elbows to lock out fully. 

Advantages Of A Standing Preacher Curl

Biceps Isolation

Preacher curls are superior to other bicep exercises because they focus only on the bicep brachii muscles. As you practice this workout, your legs and back can’t help you out if your biceps aren’t up to work.

Easy setup

Doing a preacher curl standing up eliminates the difficulty in gripping and releasing the bar. Since you won’t have to worry about how to get the weight into your hands or set it down. You’ll be able to devote more mental and physical energy to building targeted muscles.

More energy expended

Calories burned during standing activities are more than during sitting exercises because more muscles are used, and more balance is required during such workouts.

Symmetry and size growth

While the large head of the bicep is where much of the attention goes while working out, the short head is where exercises like the preacher curl may make the image more symmetrical. The increased mobility afforded by the preacher curl improves performance. It increases the potential for both strength and size gains.

Disadvantage Of A Standing Preacher Curl

Requires extra stability

It’s tempting to use your legs or back to help you lift the weight higher than your shoulders while you’re exercising. Having a solid core is essential for maintaining a straight spine and sticking to the proper form.

3 Standing Preacher Curl Alternatives

Athletes who consistently do the same routines eventually stop seeing muscle size and strength gains. The following preacher curl variations may be helpful for you if this is the case.

1. Seated Preacher Curl

This variation is effective because it targets the biceps, leading to more muscular development. This is because it emphasizes the negative phase of each rep to a far greater degree. The good news is it doesn’t demand a strong core or extra stability.

How to do Seated Preacher Curl:

  • Adopt a sitting position.
  • Make sure your armpits are placed on the top of the pad and your arms are flat. You want your entire arm to be on the pad.
  • Grab the weights or the barbell using a supinated grip. Curl the weight up. Avoid doing partial reps, and don’t let your elbows point outwards.
  • Bring the weight down in a low-controlled motion.

2. Straight Bar Curl 

The biceps’ dual use is seen in the straight bar bicep curl. Therefore, the biceps work to their full potential during the action.

How to do Straight Bar Curl:

  • Get a nice, tight, underhand grip on a bar and pick it up. Your knees should be slightly bent.
  • Bring the weight to the chin level, maintaining a neutral spine and keeping your wrists straight. Breathe out as you come up.
  • When you do a curl, you always want to keep your elbows in front of your hips. 
  • Let the weight go down, locking your elbows out.

3. Waiter Curl

Waiter curl is one of the best workouts for building biceps peak. This muscle plays a major role in shaping the shoulders and giving the body a muscular aspect. By working the brachialis muscle, waiter curls also improve functional elbow mobility.

How to do Waiter Curl:

  • Hold the weights, taking special care of your grip. Keep your hands pointing down toward the floor as you lift the dumbbells.
  • Get your hands as low as you can. You should point the top of the dumbbell towards the ceiling. The outer head of the biceps is stretched the most when the elbows are pulled back.
  • Concentrate on giving as much force as possible to the dumbbell press while flexing your biceps. 
  • Return to the starting position.


Incorporating standing preacher curls into your workout plan is a foolproof technique to build more muscle and strength in your biceps. The standing version saves you time at the gym and mental energy by eliminating the need to locate and memorize the proper sitting position. Performing the preacher curl while standing also facilitates picking up and lowering the bar. Try this movement out instead of the standard bicep curl, and observe which exercise loads your muscles better and faster.