Drag Curl – Hitting the Biceps Hard

I think biceps and back are two of my favourite body parts to train. From the first day I was introduced to Drag Curls, I fell in love with the extra push it provides.

You can perform these on their own, or really amp up the intensity by pairing it with Regular Curls. I’m using an EZ bar in the pictures below, but with focus on form this exercise can also be performed using a straight bar or dumbbells.

For those new to Drag Curls, you might think the difference in movement is subtle and difficult to see. For this reason I will break down the positioning of a Regular Curl first and then demonstrate the tweaks required for the Drag Curl.

Regular Curl

Stand tall with shoulders down and elbows close to sides. Grab the bar with a supinated (palms up) grip, and lift the bar toward your chest.

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Focus on keeping your wrists strong (no flex), shoulders relaxed, elbows close to sides, and ensure the movement is coming from the bottom half of the arm (elbows should not swing too far forward in front of the body).

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Drag Curl

A Drag Curl begins with the same hand positioning and stance as a Regular Curl. The difference, however, is in the lift.

Your elbows will press back and up behind your body line as you perform the lift.

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As your elbows are pressing back and up you are still squeezing the bicep and curling the weight in (note the smaller angle on the inside of my elbow in the picture below). The weight remains close to your body and is essentially dragging up along the line of your body. Focus on keeping the shoulders relaxed so they aren’t tempted to lift up toward the ears at the top of the movement.

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One benefit of the Drag Curl comes with the prevention of the front deltoids from assisting with the lift. This mean the shoulders are removed and the stress of the load is shifted more to the biceps. This is a great exercise for hitting the peak of the bicep.

When performing the Drag Curl, you’ll notice a more restricted range of motion. You might also need to use less weight than you would in a regular curl in order to maintain proper form. Each of these things is normal.

Again, note the difference at the top of the movement for each variation….(Regular Curl vs. Drag Curl)

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Start with three sets of 10-12.

Train hard, train safe and have fun!