Complete Guide: Preacher Curls vs Spider Curls

At Gaspari Nutrition, we are dedicated to providing you with the latest fitness facts to help you achieve your training goals.

In this guide, we'll compare two popular bicep exercises - the preacher curl and the spider curl.

You'll learn the details and benefits of each while discovering which option is best for your goals.

What are Preacher Curls?

Image showing the correct form and technique for performing preacher curls.

Preacher curls are a targeted isolation exercise that engages the biceps brachii muscle. To execute this workout, position yourself on a preacher curl bench with an angled platform where you rest your upper arm. This positioning confines the movement to the lower arm, ensuring maximum muscle activation. Holding an EZ bar or a dumbbell, you curl the weight towards your shoulders, accentuating the contraction at the top. Then, you'll lower the weight until your arms are completely extended and repeat the movement for the desired reps.

What are Spider Curls?

Picture of a man beginning a set of dumbbell spider curls.

Spider curls, on the other hand, focus on driving peak contraction. To perform spider curls, lie face down on an incline bench set at approximately a 45-degree angle. With your arms hanging straight down, palms facing forward, and upper arms stationary, utilize your bicep muscles to slowly curl the dumbbells upwards until you achieve full contraction. The inclined position shifts tension to the top, forcing the biceps to work hard as they peak.

Which Provides Better Results?

Both preacher curls and spider curls yield remarkable results in building bigger biceps. Preacher curls allow you to lift heavier weights and focus on extending the biceps through a full range of motion, while spider curls place maximum tension on the fully contracted bicep, letting you fully exhaust and fatigue the muscle fibers.

Adding Preacher and Spider Curls to Your Routine

Preacher curls and spider curls have synergistic benefits for your arm workout. We suggest performing preacher curls at the start of your session when your biceps are fresh, using a moderate-to-heavy weight for controlled repetitions. Reserve spider curls for the end of your workout as a finisher when your biceps are already fatigued.

This powerful combo can stimulate significant muscle growth.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Preacher curls and spider curls aim to isolate the biceps, but improper form can diminish their effectiveness and potentially lead to injury.

Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

  • Moving your upper arms instead of keeping them fixed. Move only your elbows/wrists and avoid swinging or using momentum.

  • Compromising form for heavy weight. Ensure you can control the weight throughout the full range of motion.

  • Failing to achieve full contraction at the top. Squeeze your biceps hard and hold for a second.

  • Lowering the weight too quickly. Take 2-3 seconds to lower the weight to maximize time under tension.

  • Not using an incline, or using one that is too steep, for spider curls. The optimal angle is around 45 degrees.

  • Letting your shoulders or back take over. Keep your core braced and isolate the bicep contraction.

  • Overtraining your arms. Stick to 2-3 focused arm workouts per week to allow for recovery.

Build Your Biceps with Gaspari Nutrition

An image of bicep-building supplements available at Gaspari Nutrition.

After performing spider curls or preacher curls, you'll need the right nutrition to help those muscles grow. At Gaspari Nutrition, we are passionate about providing athletes with these supplements so they can reach their goals.

Some of our top options include:

To discover our wide selection of bicep-building supplements, please click the link below:

Learn more

Frequently Asked Questions

What equipment do I need for preacher and spider curls?

For preacher curls, you will need a preacher curl bench and either an EZ curl bar or dumbbells. For spider curls, an adjustable weight bench set at a 45-degree incline and a pair of dumbbells or EZ curl bar will do the job. For both exercises, you can also use a fat grip to increase the challenge and greater muscle activation.

Can I perform both preacher and spider curls in the same workout?

Absolutely. Start with preacher curls when your biceps are fresh, allowing you to lift heavier weights through a full range of motion. Finish with spider curls to blast your biceps when fatigue has set in. For an intense workout, consider supersetting both exercises.

How can I avoid injury when doing these exercises?

To prevent injury, always warm up properly with light, high-repetition sets. Maintain proper form, control the negative motion by taking 2-3 seconds to lower the weight, and use a weight you can lift with good form. Also, ensure you isolate the biceps, avoid locking out your elbows, maintain neutral wrists, and reduce weight if you feel any pain or strain.

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