Bayesian Curl: Muscle World, How To Do, Form & Benefits

The Bayesian curl is a must-try exercise if you want to take your bicep training to the new level. This challenging move not only targets your biceps, but also engages other muscle groups, making it a versatile and efficient addition to your workout regimen.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the:

  • What is Bayesian curl?
  • Muscle worked during it
  • How to do it
  • Tip and proper technique
  • Its benefits

What is Bayesian Curl

The Bayesian curl is a bicep exercise that specifically targets the muscles in your upper arms while simultaneously engaging other muscles, such as the forearms and shoulders.

In contrast to traditional bicep curls, which involve performing the movement in front of the body, the behind-the-back curl involves curling the weight behind your back.

This exercise was originally popularized by Menno Henselmans. We can tweak it to specifically put more tension on the long head and develop nicer peaks.

The behind-the-back cable curl provides several benefits, including increased muscle activation in the biceps, forearms, and shoulders. It also helps develop grip strength and can be an effective exercise for addressing muscle imbalances.

Bayesian Curl Muscle Worked

The Bayesian curl primarily targets the biceps brachii muscle in the upper arms. Additionally, it also engages the brachialis and brachioradialis muscles.

A handful of other muscles worked or play the role of stabilizer muscles, including your

Biceps brachii

It is a two-headed muscle located on the front of the upper arm. As you perform a Bayesian curl, the biceps brachii contracts and shortens.


Located underneath the biceps brachii, the brachialis muscle assists in elbow flexion and is also involved in the Bayesian curl exercise.


This muscle is situated along the forearm and aids in elbow flexion. Even though this muscle is not the primary target during the Bayesian curl, it is involved to a certain degree due to the nature of the movement.

How To Do Bayesian Curl

To perform the behind-the-back cable curl, follow these steps:

  1. Stand facing away from the cable machine with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Adjust the cable pulley to a low position and attach a single handle or a D-handle to the cable.
  3. Reach behind your back with the same-side arm and grasp the handle with an underhand grip.
  4. Keep your elbow close to your side and extend your arm fully downward.
  5. Position your upper arm parallel to the floor, perpendicular to your torso.
  6. Engage your core for stability.
  7. Exhale and curl the cable handle up towards your shoulder.
  8. Squeeze your biceps at the top of the movement and hold for a brief moment.
  9. Slowly lower the cable handle back to the starting position while inhaling.
  10. Repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions.
  11. Switch arms and repeat the exercise on the other side.
Behind The Back Cable Curl (Bayesian Curl)

Tips For Proper Form

  • Ensure a stable base of support.
  • Don’t let your elbows move forward or backward when you curl. Keep them locked in position by your sides.
  • Engage your core muscles. This helps stabilize your torso and maintain proper alignment.
  • Avoid using momentum to lift the weight. Instead, perform the curl in a slow and controlled manner.
  • Ensuring a secure grip without excessive tension or strain in your hands and wrists.
  • Using a full range of motion, reduce the weight until your arm is fully extended, and then curl it up until your biceps are fully contracted.
  • Keep your upper body upright and avoid leaning forward or backward.
  • Inhale during the lowering phase and exhale during the lifting phase of the curl.

Sets and Reps


  • Beginner: Do 3 sets per exercise.
  • Intermediate: Aim for 3-4 sets per exercise.
  • Advance: Aim for 3-5 sets per exercise.


  • For muscle growth and hypertrophy, aim for a rep range of 8-12 reps per set.
  • For strength-focused training, you can consider lower reps (4-6) with heavier weights.
  • While endurance-focused training may involve higher reps (15+) with lighter weights.


Take 60-90 seconds of rest between sets.

Bayesian Curl Benefits

  • The Bayesian curl is effective for increasing size and strength in the biceps.
  • It helps correct muscle imbalances between the arms for better symmetry.
  • Also, grasping the cable behind the back helps to improve grip strength.
  • The exercise enhances overall upper body strength and performance in pulling movements.
  • Increased muscle definition in the biceps.
  • Engages core muscles for better strength and stability.
  • It is a great exercise that can be done with different grip options.
  • Supports progressive overload for continued strength gains.

Bayesian Curl Alternative

1. Hammer Curl

The neutral grip used in the hammer curl emphasizes the brachialis, contributing to overall bicep development and forearm strength.

2. Concentration Curl

Concentration curls provide a high degree of isolation for the biceps. When you put your upper arm against your inner thigh, it helps the biceps muscles work more efficiently.

3. Zottman Curl

The Zottman curl targets both the biceps and the brachioradialis muscles. It involves using a supinated grip (palms facing up) during the curling phase and a pronated grip (palms facing down) during the lowering phase.

This exercise helps strengthen and develop both the biceps and the forearms.

4. Reverse Curl

The reverse curl primarily targets the brachioradialis muscle in the forearm, along with the biceps brachii. It helps build a bigger forearm and improves grip strength.

5. Spider Curl

Spider curls isolate the biceps brachii and allow for a greater range of motion compared to traditional curls.

The incline bench position and the fixed upper arm position against the bench target the biceps more effectively, leading to increased bicep activation and development.


Are Bayesian curls the same as incline curls?

No, Bayesian curls and incline curls are not the same exercise.

Bayesian cable curls involve using a cable machine with the handle positioned behind your body. You grasp the handle and curl it upward towards your shoulders while keeping your elbows stationary.

Incline curls, on the other hand, are performed on an incline bench. You sit or lie on the bench with your upper arms resting on the incline, and then you curl weights while maintaining that position.

Can I use other equipment besides a cable machine for Bayesian curls?

Yes, if a cable machine is not available, you can perform Bayesian curl exercise using resistance bands or dumbbells.


Bayesian curls provide a unique and effective way to target the biceps muscles. At first, this exercise may feel unfamiliar, but with practice, you will find the variation that suits you best.

The special length-tension relationship of the biceps makes Bayesian curls an effective exercise for maximizing the mechanical tension on the biceps, which in turn leads to potential muscle expansion and stimulation.


  1. Staudenmann D, Taube W. Brachialis muscle activity can be assessed with surface electromyography. Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology. 2015;25(2):199-204. doi:10.1016/j.jelekin.2014.11.003
  2. Schoenfeld, Brad J.1; Ogborn, Dan I.2; Vigotsky, Andrew D.3; Franchi, Martino V.4; Krieger, James W.5. Hypertrophic Effects of Concentric vs. Eccentric Muscle Actions: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 31(9):p 2599-2608, September 2017. | DOI: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001983

Best Biceps Workout To Get Bigger Arms

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