How The Single Arm Cable Curl Isolates Your Biceps

bicep size cover

Beef up your biceps with this great isolation exercise.

Our biceps are muscle we all love to see grow and an exercise like single arm cable curls is exactly what you need. An isolation exercise perfect for seeing muscle growth can take your gains to new heights and give you the best chance at seeing real success. With so many biceps exercises, the ability to see gains is something we all know and love, but knowing the right approach can make all the difference. Plus, taking advantage of a cable machine can take you a long way in the gym.

Strong arms are important for pulling movements associated with sport and training while also giving us functional gains. Able to support surrounding muscles, those lacking in bicep strength will suffer when it comes to producing overall gains. On top of that, large biceps will make others envy you in the gym as you rock that sleek tank to show off your aesthetic. Single arm cable curls are the perfect exercise to focus on gains and allow you to train at peak performance.

Let’s jump into the single arm cable curl exercise and see what this is all about. From what it is, to muscles worked, the many benefits, and how to perform this, we’ll also share some great alternatives and exercises to pair with so you can structure a complete and well-rounded workout.

What Is The Single Arm Cable Curl Exercise?

The single arm cable curl is a fantastic isolation exercise to build muscle and isolate out those biceps for serious growth. The benefit to this exercise is that you can work just the bicep to increase strength, size, fix imbalances, and work on mind-muscle connection. Using the cable pully forces you to increase time under tension and a comfortable handle can make this exercise easier. A beginner level exercise, this is great for all athletes of all experience levels to see serious gains.

Muscles Worked

The muscles worked in this exercise are your biceps as this is a great isolation exercise. Working to build your biceps allows for better support of those surrounding muscles while also enhancing strength and size where you want. To get more specific, what you work are your biceps brachii, brachialis, and brachioradialis. You really won’t find any secondary muscles with this exercise, however, your forearm muscles will get work done as a result of grip and the necessary movement of performing this specific exercise.

Benefits Of The Single Arm Cable Curl

The benefits of this exercise are hard to ignore and should be a staple in your arm day routine. If this isn’t, then definitely consider an alternative of it for this and anything close can give your biceps the growth you want most. With amazing benefits, the single arm cable curl is a muscle builder and results changer.

Benefits of the single arm cable curl include:

  • Increase strength and size: By working just your biceps with this isolation exercise, you give yourself a great chance to increase strength and size for sport specific and functional movements (1).
  • Round out your arm aesthetic: Giving your arms a more rounded look, this will add to an already buff aesthetic.
  • Fix muscle imbalances: Muscle imbalances are a pain but working each bicep separately can give you great benefits for evening out that size (2).
  • Enhance mind-muscle connection: Work to increase mind-muscle connection with proper form and the ability to focus on more time under tension (3).
  • Easy to perform: A beginner level exercise, this is easy to perform and will produce gains.
  • Plenty of variations: With great variations of it, you can work those muscles to see similar growth but also challenge and diversify your workouts.

How To Perform This Exercise

Here are the steps for performing the single arm cable curl:

  1. Set up the cable attachment onto the pulley machine and choose your desire weight.
  2. Standing with your feet about hip width apart, grab the handle with an underhand grip and get in a comfortable position.
  3. Engage your core, keep your back neutral, and make sure your elbow is tucked at your side as you slowly curl the weight.
  4. Give a good squeeze at the top and gently lower back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for your desired number of sets and reps.

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Single Arm Cable Curls Variations

Despite the effectiveness of the single arm cable curl, there are other exercises that can beef up your gains while also diversifying your workout. The nice part about variations are they can offer the same gains by working your muscles differently, but also challenge you in different ways to avoid any plateaus. So, while single arm cable curls are great, let’s look at some alternatives:

  • Rope Curls
  • Single Arm Dumbbell Curls
  • Hammer Curls
  • Machine Bicep Curls
  • Resistance Band Curls

Best Exercises To Pair With Single Arm Cable Curls

In efforts to structure a great workout, knowing what exercises pair well with single arm cable curls can take you a long way. For sticking with the cable machine, you can perform a nice upper body routine including triceps pushdowns and cable reverse flys to add in your triceps and shoulders to the mix. If you want to stick with an arm day punisher, mix in dumbbell curls and preacher curls to fire up those biceps for serious strength gains.

Wrap Up

Single arm cable curls are the perfect isolation exercise to help you produce effective gains. Our biceps are muscles we love to see grow and by adding in an easy to perform yet highly efficient exercise, those gains will come in no time. Plenty of benefits, proper form, and the right exercises to pair with it will give you a physique others will envy and one you will love. Give single arm cable curls a try, take advantage of the cable machine, and watch those gains take off today.

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*Images courtesy of Envato


  1. Mangine, G.; et al. (2015). “The effect of training volume and intensity on improvements in muscular strength and size in resistance-trained men”. (source)
  2. Kim, T.; et al. (2015). “Effects of specific muscle imbalance improvement training on the balance ability in elite fencers”. (source)
  3. Calatayud, J.; et al. (2016). “Importance of mind-muscle connection during progressive resistance training”. (source)
Austin Letorney
Austin Letorney is a writer, actor, and fitness enthusiast. As a former rower, he has shifted his focus to sharing his knowledge of the fitness world and strength sports with others.