Jay Cutler’s Top 3 Dumbbell Exercises for Building Bigger Arms

jay cutler dumbbell biceps exercises

Jay Cutler shows you how to have the “biggest arms in the gym.” 

Jay Cutler, a four-time Mr. Olympia champion, stands out in bodybuilding. Notably, he was the first competitor to reclaim the title after a loss, returning to victory over Dexter Jackson in 2008. Cutler has maintained his massive physique and fervor for bodybuilding even in retirement. He has recently embraced the Fit-for-50 challenge and continues to inspire many by guest posing at competitions.

Beyond his athletic achievements, Cutler has also made a name for himself in the business world as the founder of Cutler Nutrition. His contributions to the sport were honored with the 2024 Arnold Classic Lifetime Achievement Award, and he was inducted into the Bodybuilding Hall of Fame, cementing his legacy.

Cutler’s influence extends to social media, where he has amassed a large following by sharing insights into proper nutrition and effective muscle-building exercises. In this article, we delve into Jay Cutler’s expert guidance on the top three bicep dumbbell exercises, offering readers a chance to learn from his extensive experience and apply his techniques for more substantial biceps.

Full Name: Jay Cutler
Weight  Height Date of Birth
265-275 lbs 5’9” 08/03/1975
Division Era Nationality
Men’s Open 2000s — 2010s American

Jay Cutler’s Top 3 Dumbbell Biceps Exercises


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Cutler recently shared his best dumbbell exercises for building biceps. Check them out below: 

Seated Alternate Dumbbell Curl


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The seated alternate dumbbell curl is the first on Jay Cutler’s biceps exercises list. This exercise targets the biceps and brachialis (elbow flexor). An arm isolation exercise places constant resistance on the arms, increasing the mind-muscle connection. This activates these target muscles, inducing muscle hypertrophy. Cutler has this to say about the seated alternating dumbbell curl: 

“Now, I like to alternate back and forth. Sometimes, I focus on one arm at a time, mainly going back and forth focusing on 12 repetitions each arm. You know, my form is not necessarily as strict but a little more looser with this, allowing full contractions of the biceps.”

Jay Cutler explains he likes to alternate during this exercise, performing 12 reps with each arm, and doesn’t like to emphasize form. He says being loose allows for full contraction of the biceps. For variation, this exercise can also be done with free weights like kettlebells, cable machines, and resistance bands for more resistance.

The seated alternate dumbbell curl’s alternating nature allows you to strengthen each arm unilaterally. This is good for addressing muscle imbalances and can increase strength exponentially in both arms (1).

How to Perform 

  1. Sit on the edge of a flat bench and grab a pair of dumbbells with a supinated grip. Let your arms hang fully extended by your sides. This is your starting position.
  2. Next, slowly curl your arms to the top of your shoulder, fully flexing your biceps, and pause for about two seconds.
  3. Slowly lower the dumbbell in a controlled manner back to the starting position, making it one rep.
  4. Perform for as many reps as you desire.

Preacher Curl

Next, Jay Cutler says he likes to do preacher curls, performing 12 reps for each arm. Preacher curls are a staple upper arm-building exercise because they primarily target the biceps. Cutler further explains that using a dumbbell and having an elbow lock gives the biceps a good contraction.

Jay Cutler says the preacher curl provides isolation movement in the biceps, effectively hitting the muscle fibers. You can also perform this exercise using kettlebells. Studies show that seated dumbbell preacher curls induce muscle hypertrophy in the biceps, leading to more muscle growth (2).

“You’ve seen a lot of variations of this, but with the dumbbell and having that elbow lock, you really get that contraction in there and like I said, I focus on doing 12 repetitions each arm. I think this exercise you can really get that isolation in the bicep and really hit the fibers that way.”

How to Perform

  1. Sit behind a preacher’s bench and grab a dumbbell with a supinated grip. 
  2. Your starting position is to place one arm curled on the preacher pad while your other hands support you during the exercise.
  3. Next, lower the dumbbell as low as possible, maintaining tension in your biceps but not hyperextending your elbows. Pause for about two seconds.
  4. Then, slowly curl your arms back to the starting position, making it one rep.
  5. Switch to the other arm and mirror the movement.
  6. Perform for as many reps as you desire.  

Concentration Curl

Finally, Cutler rounds up his arm routines with the concentration curl. He admits this is a unique arm-building exercise. Cutler performs 12 reps for each arm, putting his elbow against his knee for a full biceps contraction and stretch. This exercise’s up-and-down movement allows for a full range of motion and gives full flexion and extension of the biceps, thus building muscle mass.

The concentration curl adopts a unilateral isolation movement targeting the biceps, brachialis, and forearms. This unilateral nature lets you focus on each side of your arm, strengthening them individually. It’s great for fixing muscle imbalances and building a good mind-muscle connection for growth.

“This movement actually gives me a lot of up and down motion where I’m getting the full range of motion, which is very important, get that deep stretch, and of course, get that deep contraction. 12 repetitions each arm. That will give you the most beneficial bicep workout and have the biggest arms in the gym.”

How to Perform 

  1. Sit on a flat bench and grab a dumbbell in one hand using a supinated grip.
  2. Place your elbows against your knee and your other hand on the other knee to stabilize yourself. This is your starting position.
  3. Next, inhale and curl the dumbbell towards your shoulder until you get that full contraction. Pause for about two seconds.
  4. Slowly lower the dumbbell in a controlled manner back to the starting position, making it one rep.
  5. Switch to the other arm and mirror the movement.
  6. Perform for as many reps as you desire.

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  1. Andrushko, J. W., Lanovaz, J. L., Björkman, K. M., Kontulainen, S. A., & Farthing, J. P. (2018). Unilateral strength training leads to muscle-specific sparing effects during opposite homologous limb immobilization. Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985), 124(4), 866–876. https://doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.00971.2017
  2. Pedrosa, G. F., Simões, M. G., Figueiredo, M. O. C., Lacerda, L. T., Schoenfeld, B. J., Lima, F. V., Chagas, M. H., & Diniz, R. C. R. (2023). Training in the Initial Range of Motion Promotes Greater Muscle Adaptations Than at Final in the Arm Curl. Sports (Basel, Switzerland), 11(2), 39. https://doi.org/10.3390/sports11020039
Terry Ramos
As a personal trainer and writer, Terry loves changing lives through coaching and the written word. Terry has a B.S. in Kinesiology and is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer and ISSA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He enjoys playing music, reading, and watching films when he's not writing or training.