Barbell Curl Vs. Cable Curl

If you find yourself at a loss in deciding barbell curl vs. cable curl, you must focus on your aim and requirements duly. 

The key difference between these two curls is the tool to use while doing them. In a barbell curl, you need a barbell, some weights, and free space to fit for doing the exercise. On the other hand, cable curl requires a cable machine and some weights. And this makes the barbell cheaper to afford. 

While a barbell curl requires you to stand straight, a cable curl needs you to bend a bit on your feet and pull some weights through a cable. 

Based on the differences, choose your preferred one according to your necessity. It’s recommended to have both in your routine if you can afford it.

What Is a Barbell Curl?

The barbell curl is an exercise for weight training. This exercise is dedicated to enhancing the size, strength, or endurance of the biceps. 

In this exercise, you will need a barbell (a bar with a specific weight on both sides) or such a weight object. It’s a variation of the biceps curl.

This is a stand-up, pull-type exercise. You need to extend both hands holding the weight and lift the weight by bending your elbow to perform the exercise. 

Doing this will eventually help you develop your biceps Brachii in different aspects. It also helps your shoulders and forearms if done regularly. 

Benefits Of Performing Barbell Curl

The barbell curl is an exercise designed to work on your upper body. Let’s learn some benefits of this fantastic exercise:

  • Barbell curls help you lift heavier weights. Working on biceps brachii and brachialis improves your elbow flexion. You can get bigger biceps by doing it regularly.
  • If you wish to improve your wrist strength (grip strength), you can work through barbell curls. It activates the brachioradialis muscle of your forearm. You will get a boost while doing bench presses, deadlifts, and pull-ups.
  • As the weights are adjustable, you may simply start from lighter weights. It is a versatile bicep exercise to accommodate your fitness level. 

How To Do A Barbell Curl

Since the weights are adjustable, ensure choosing ones that fit you by doing 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps. 

Step 1: Stand tall and straight. Keep your chest up while keeping your shoulder blades down. 

Step 2: Now grab the bar by squeezing it while keeping your palms facing front. Maintain the gap between each grip a bit wider than your hip width.

Step 3: It’s time to curl up. Don’t let your shoulder come forward, and keep your elbow straight. Ensure not to drag the body to the bar. 

Step 4: Then slowly lower the bar and maintain the previous instructions of pulling up. 

While performing this exercise, hold for a while after pulling up the bar. That’s the pressure point. Don’t go fast; pull up and down. Slowly lower it down to get the best result. Remember, you should focus on both lifting and lowering. 

What Is a Cable Curl?

Bicep Curl is an isolation exercise dedicated to the bicep. It fits beginners. You need a cable machine to perform this exercise. These are one of the best exercises for the biceps. 

Forearms are a considerably important part of your body for this exercise. You are not supposed to let go of the tension in the cable. Keep holding onto it for the ultimate effectiveness. 

If you perform this exercise with precision and regularity, you will get improved upper arms. You will have to pull a cable attached with weights to your chest and release it slowly. Hold it a bit at your chest before releasing it to get the best outcome. 

Benefits Of Performing Cable Curl

Cable curl is efficient enough for you to build a giant arm. There are mentionable benefits of cable curl available. Some of them are:

  • Cable curl is considered the most effective bicep exercise than almost any other one.
  • Cable curl strengthens your bicep and improves your bicep function abilities. 
  • You can think of gaining the capability of lifting heavy objects. 
  • Cable curl offers you the instant release of pressure in an emergency.

How To Do A Cable Curl

Firstly ensure adjusting your cable machine safely. Now grasp the metal grip of the cable. Stand on your feet with your knees bent a bit. Keep your back straight and head steady. Brace the abdominal muscles, and you are ready to proceed.

Step 1: You need to curl the cable first to your chest. Move your forearm only. Rise your forearm up from your elbow.

Step 2: Hold at the peak for a sec or two.

Step 3: Slowly lower the cable. Don’t release the tension of the cable. Stop right before the weights go back to the stack.

Comparison Of Different Types Of Biceps Exercise 

There are different types of biceps exercises based on specific requirements. Every activity focuses on individual targets. Hence, these exercises are targeted at various stages of performers. Starting from beginners to advanced levels. 

Apart from those mentioned above, there are various bicep curls like concentration curl, dumbbell curl, hammer curl, incline dumbbell curl, EZ bar curl, standing barbell curl, etc. 

Ensure biceps growth, including muscle growth and strength boost, by trying the suitable one. Take advice from a personal trainer if possible. 

Barbell Curl Vs Dumbbell Curl

Despite both being targeted for bicep enhancement, the fundamental difference between these two is the tool you use while doing each of them. This one is the visible one. But in-depth, there are also differences between benefits and functions. 

  • Dumbbell curl offers you freedom regarding motion, whereas barbell curl doesn’t! It’s because of the bar itself. 
  • Excessive weight on dumbbell curls might cause muscle damage. Though there is a chance of wrist pain in barbell curls, comparatively, this one is safer. 
  • The progress through the barbell is more accessible than trying with a dumbbell.
  • If you are up to strengthening your biceps and making the muscles stabilize, a dumbbell is the preferable one. Go for the barbell for heavy lifting and progress with the weights!

Barbell Curl Vs. Cable Curl

As cable curl provides thorough resistance/tension during the workout throughout the entire repetition, they are highly recommended for building up bicep muscles. 

On the other hand, the barbell curl has been long engaged in building biceps and dominating the sector till the appearance of cable ones. 

  • You can lift more weights on the barbell curl while the other is more convenient.
  • Between these two, cable curls will go easier on your connective tissue and joints. But a barbell is easy to afford and even can be owned at home. 
  • You will find more varieties of bicep exercises on cable than you can perform with a barbell.

Preacher Curl Vs. Cable Curl

Preacher curl requires you to keep your arms on a flat platform and lean on that, while cable curl means pulling weights through a cable. 

Specifically, in preacher curl, you will have to curl a dumbbell or a barbell while supporting your arms with a preacher bench. On the other hand, you will have to pull a cable in a cable machine for cable curl. 

  • Preacher curl allows you to lift more weights than cable curl as cable curl provides you with constant tension. Thus preacher curls are preferable for massive biceps.
  • Though both of them require your forearms to move, neither contributes to any notable development of forearms muscle.
  • If you consider lifting fewer weights, preacher curls can seem more manageable. But while taking heavier lifts and similar amounts on both cable and preacher curl, cable curl appears more convenient for the help of the cable. 

Incline Dumbbell Curl Vs. Cable Curl

In incline dumbbell curls, you need to use a dumbbell, whereas you need a cable machine and lift weights through a cable.

  • The primary difference between these two exercises is that an incline dumbbell curl offers you the most resistance in the middle of the movement. In contrast, the other one does that when your biceps are straight, right before finishing a rep. 
  • Another difference is that you need to sit and lay back to do incline dumbbell curls and cable curls need you to stand. 
  • While performing incline dumbbell curls, you might also help your mower chest muscle. Cable curls offer you work on your upper chest muscle. 

Preacher Curl Vs. Barbell Curl

When doing preacher curls, you can use both dumbbells and barbells. But barbell curl means using only a barbell. 

  • If you are up for focusing on weights, you may go for barbell curl though there is a slight difference from preacher curl.
  • The preacher curl is comparatively easier to use as you get to lean on the preacher bench, but you can perform barbell curls almost anywhere with the weights and bar. 
  • Injury risk is more in barbell curl as there is no binding regarding taking weights. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What does a barbell curl work?

A barbell curl works on the brachii and brachialis muscles of your bicep.

Does cable curl work your abs?

If you keep bracing your abdominal muscles while working out with cable curls, yes, you are working your abs out, though not as the primary muscle.

Does curl build the chest?

Though the chest muscles aren’t that much active during bicep curls, you may try holding the most pressure for a while to slightly work on your chest as well.

Final Words

While you have started thinking of your health improvement, you should consider hitting the gym. And basically, gym activities are focused on either your upper body or lower body. Bicep curls are fantastic for enhancing your biceps. 

Among different types of exercise, you might get confused between a couple of them. Barbell curl vs. cable curl is one of them. The fundamental difference lies in the process of performing these exercises. Go for barbell curls if you are aiming for heavier weights.

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