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Waiter Curls [Exercise Guide]

waiter curls

What Is A Waiter Curl

Waiter curl is one of the most effective bicep exercises to incorporate into your program if you want to build a bigger biceps peak. The exercise has a simple technique that implies isolated up and down hands movement with a dumbbell. However, it’s also a specific movement that can influence your lagging arms areas. The range of motion with waiter curls is slightly larger than with barbell curls. Before going on to heavier weights, use a lighter dumbbell.

What Muscles Do Waiter Curls Work?

The targeted muscles are:

  • biceps brachii
  • brachioradialis
  • forearm flexors

The exercise is great for isolating the biceps because it excludes the forearm muscles almost completely from the exercise, which is often used to help curl in the last part of the rep. Rather than clutching the sides of the dumbbell, you rest the top of it on your hands to maximize strain on your biceps and minimize it on your forearms.

How to Perform Waiter Curls

Step 1. Get into the starting position

Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Pick up the dumbbell, paying attention to the grip. Hold the dumbbell with your palms facing the plate’s bottom. Keep the elbows bent and close to the body. Make sure your hands stand parallel to the ground throughout the whole exercise.

Step 2. Curl the weight up

Make sure the dumbbell’s top faces up towards the ceiling. Pull your elbows back to maximize the biceps’ outer head stretch. When you’re ready, pull the weight up by flexing your biceps.

Step 3. Go back

Slowly lower the dumbbell and come back to the starting position. 

The tension in the biceps’ peak is the best sign you are doing everything right.

Advantages of Waiter Curls

Great For Bicep Peaks

This exercise is essential since it eliminates the portion of the forearm’s involvement in the curl, placing more stress on the biceps alone when performed correctly. You may also completely contract your biceps, particularly the long head, which helps with the bicep’s height.


Adding this exercise to your routine may help you add variety to it, therefore making your muscles “guess” and resulting in better gains.

Biceps Isolation

Unlike chin-ups or pull-ups that primarily target back muscles, this exercise is a bicep isolation exercise, which means you can really focus on building your biceps. Moreover, since it excludes the forearms almost completely from the exercise, it makes your biceps work even harder than with regular bicep curls.

Excellent Finishing Exercise

Waiter curls’ ability to provide a powerful pump makes them an ideal finishing move. Doing high-rep waiter curls towards the conclusion of your training is a great way to produce a huge pump in your arms.

5 Waiter Curls Alternatives

Barbell Biceps Curl

Bicep brachii and the brachialis are both targeted by the barbell curl, which helps you bend your elbow. You may increase the size of your biceps by including barbell curls in your workout plan.

How to do barbell biceps curl:

  • Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and grab a barbell. 
  • Use a wide grip if you want to load the bicep’s inner head or short head. Would you like to target the outer or long head? Choose a closer grip. A neutral grip works best for the loading biceps equally. 
  • Bring your arms slightly forward. Ensure your hands are locked out. Then, bring the weight up, and curl it all the way to the top.
  • Slowly return to the starting position.

Weighted Chin-Up

This compound exercise loads lats, rhomboids, posterior delts, traps, and biceps. You can perform the movement using a weighted vest or belt.

How to do a weighted chin-up:

  • Make certain that your bar is hung at a suitable height. 
  • To begin the chin-up, you should be in a dead hang on the bar with a weighted vest on. Both underhand or neutral grips suit you.
  • Go up, bringing your chest as high as you can. As you pull yourself up to the bar, try to come into a full retraction. Ideally, your chin should be up and over the bar. Avoid swinging or using too much momentum.
  • Come back to the starting position, trying to maintain muscles’ tightness.

If you feel like it’s too hard for you to pull yourself up, you can use a jump in the top part of the movement. 

Dumbbell Hammer Curl

By practicing this exercise regularly, you can increase bicep size and strength, improve wrist stability and strengthen your grip.

How to do a dumbbell hammer curl:

  • Stand with your feet together or shoulder-length apart. Keep a slight bend in your knees and a neutral spine.
  • Grab a pair of dumbbells. Choose a neutral grip. Ensure your elbows are slightly in front of your hips.
  • Breath out and raise the dumbbells past 90 degrees.
  • Bring the weight down.

Seated Incline Bicep Curl

This exercise suits intermediate and advanced fitness levels. It hits the peak of the bicep just like the waiter curls.

How to do seated incline bicep curl:

  • Sit back and lean on the incline bench.
  • Grab dumbbells in both hands.
  • Bend your elbows, curl and bring your hands up as close to your armpits as possible. Keep your core tight throughout all the range of motion.
  • Come back down.

Dumbbell Banded Curl

This exercise loads biceps more than ordinary curls. The reason behind it is the forearms are forced to curve inside and remain that way when a band is looped around the dumbbells.

How to do dumbbell banded curl:

  • Place yourself in the center of a looped resistance band.
  • Wrap the band around the inside of the dumbbells while holding them with your palms up.
  • Lift the dumbbells to shoulder height and then lower them back down.


Do waiter curls do anything?

The waiter curl is an excellent biceps builder and finisher exercise. It also helps to strengthen the grip and elbow flexion.

What muscles do waiter curls work?

The exercise targets biceps brachii, brachioradialis, and forearm flexors. Due to the small grip required to hold the dumbbell, the waiter curl sends strain to the outside muscle fibers of your biceps. 

How do you do waiter curls?

Hold the dumbbell with your palms facing the plate’s bottom. Keep your elbows steady and curl the weight towards your chest. Make sure the top of the dumbbell is always pointing straight up.


Waiter curls are perfect for those who want to strengthen and grow biceps. This single-dumbbell workout is an excellent complement to any arms training regimen. It’s a rather unusual exercise to perform because of the specific grip. It might take some time to understand the technique, but the results are well worth the effort. Waiter curls are a one-of-a-kind workout because they deliver very intense peak contraction, resulting in big prominent biceps.