10 Best Bicep Cable Exercises For Building Bigger Arms

Building bigger and impressive biceps requires more than just doing the same bicep exercises over and over again. Biceps are small muscles, to grow them takes time, knowledge, and intellect.

It’s time to develop some huge bicep peaks. Learn different strategies, the best cable machine exercises, supporting muscle group exercises, and lifestyle changes that promote bigger & stronger biceps.

In this article, we are going to discuss the following topic:

  • Bicep Muscle Anatomy
  • What is Cable Machine Bicep Workout?
  • How To Train Bicep With Cable Machine
  • Cable Bicep Workout Benefits
  • Best Cable Bicep Exercises
  • FAQ

Bicep Muscle Anatomy

To build the bigger and impressive biceps first, we needed to understand the anatomy of the biceps muscle, which help to perform the cable biceps workout at the best level.

The Bicep Muscle consists of the following parts:

The Biceps brachii muscle (biceps) is a large, thick muscle of the upper arm.

The Biceps Brachii is attached to the forearm bone called the radius and originates at the scapula in two heads (the Bicep gets its name from the two heads).

Brachialis lies on the outer side of the arm.

The brachioradialis muscle group is firmly attached to the bicep and is also activated when tracking back and biceps.

bicep anatomy

What is Cable Machine Bicep Workout?

The cable machines, an exercise that trains the biceps in isolation, and places the muscles under constant tension throughout both the concentric and eccentric phases. This is one of the biggest cable bicep training benefits over other methods.

It is popular with strength training beginners thanks to the simplicity of the exercise, and the fact that the cable itself assists the user in lifting the weight. 

The cable machine will provide smooth constant tension on your muscles, which leads to more time under tension and in turn more potential for muscle growth.

Use Our Free Calculator To Know Your Calories Requirement To Gain Muscle Mass

How To Train Bicep With Cable Machine

Bicep exercises with dumbbells and barbells aren’t for everyone. You might have an injury that limits your range of motion, or simply find that free weights are cumbersome. You can still get bigger and stronger biceps by working out with the cable machine.

Using the cable machine, you’ll be able to hit all the head of biceps from different angles and through a range of motions.

To structure an effective bicep workout with a cable machine to increase mass and strength, the number of reps and sets will vary based on your fitness level, weekly workout frequency, and strength training goals.

For strength gains, do 4 to 6 sets of 1 to 6 reps each exercise with a weight that is at least 85% of your one-repetition maximum (1RM) The fewer reps you perform, the closer to 100% of your 1RM you should strive for.

If your goal is hypertrophy (muscle growth), perform three sets of each exercise, using loads that are 70 to 85% of your 1RM for 8 to 12 reps.

When training for endurance, it is usually recommended to use higher reps (15 to 20 repetitions) and moderate loads, with a weight that is at least 50 to 70% of your 1RM.

Know More Daily calories Requirement To Build Arms

10 Best Cable Bicep Exercises For Bigger Arm

There are best cable bicep exercises for the biceps. Use these moves to get your biceps pumped up and improve the overall function of your upper arms.

1. One Arm High Cable Curl

The High cable curl exercise is a great option that will help you to target the biceps and build width and thickness of bicep muscle.

There are two main versions of the high cable curl: one-arm and two-arm. Both variations are effective, but the one-arm version allows you to use more relative weight for potentially greater gains in biceps size and strength.

One Arm High Cable Curl

How To Do

  1. Begin by standing sideways next to a high pulley machine, arm extended out at about shoulder height, and gripping the handle with one of your hands.
  2. Slowly curl the cable towards your head, isolating the bicep until you feel tension, and hold for a count.
  3. Return to the starting position and repeat for as many reps and sets as desired.
  4. Repeat the exercise with your opposite arm.


  • Hold for a count of two and squeeze your biceps brachii.
  • Inhale as you extend your elbow, exhale while squeeze.

2. Cable Hammer Curl

The cable hammer curl is one of the best exercises that you can do to build your arm muscles.

When it comes to building massive biceps and forearms, the rope hammer curl is an effective isolation workout that targets the brachialis and brachioradialis.

The cable rope hammer curl is a variation of the hammer curl, that is utilized to build the anterior muscles of the arm.

Cable Hammer Curl

How To Do

  1. Attach a rope attachment to a low pulley and stand facing the machine.
  2. Grasp the rope with a neutral (palms-in) grip.
  3. Put your elbows in by your side and keep them there stationary during the entire movement.
  4. Pull your arms until your biceps touch your forearms. Hold for a second.
  5. Slowly start to bring the weight back to the original position.
  6. Repeat for the recommended number of repetitions.


  • Stand straight up, keeping the natural arch of the back and your torso stationary.
  • Remember to keep the elbows in and your upper arms stationary.
  • Do the exercise in a controlled way so that your momentum does not contribute to the movement.

3. Behind The Back Cable Curl (Bayesian Curl)

The Behind The Back Cable Curl aka Bayesian curl is the same concept as the incline dumbbell curl. Your arms will be curling with your elbows behind you, which emphasizes the long head. 

Doing cable curls behind the body shifts the emphasis of the exercise onto the outer biceps and minimizes the chance of you developing unsightly muscular imbalances. Must try this cable bicep workout.

Behind The Back Cable Curl

How To Do

  1. Connect a single cable handle to the bottom of a cable pulley.
  2. Grab the handle with an underhand grip and then face away from the machine.
  3. Take a step out from the cable station and let your arm travel behind your torso until you feel a good biceps stretch.
  4. Curl the handle toward your shoulder by squeezing your biceps as hard as you can.
  5. Lower the weight back down under control until your elbow is fully extended.
  6. Repeat for the ideal number of reps to complete the set.
  7. Now, switch arms to complete the exercise on your right side, and then alternate between arms for sets.


  • The arm is positioned and maintained behind the body throughout the whole range of motion.
  • The elbows are bent and the biceps flexed as the upper arm is kept in position and the forearm is moved in the forward and upward direction.
  • It is important to keep in mind that the elbow should be pointing backwards at the end of the movement as it was at the start.

4. Cable Rope Hammer Preacher Curl

If you’re looking for one more effective cable bicep exercise, try the cable hammer preacher curl.

It is a single-joint arm exercise that builds strength and size in the biceps using a cable stack, a preacher bench, and a rope grip.

The neutral or “hammer” grip amplifies activation of both the grip and the brachialis muscles, building arm thickness. The angle of the bench also effectively removes the shoulders from the movement, largely isolating the biceps.

Cable Rope Hammer Preacher Curl

How To Do

  1. Start by setting up a rope extension attachment to a low pulley cable machine and placing a preacher bench in front of the machine.
  2. Grab onto the rope with a neutral hammer grip, then sit down on the bench with your forearms rested over the padding.
  3. Slowly curl the bar up towards your chest, isolating your bicep, and squeeze.
  4. Hold for a count, then return back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for as many reps and sets as desired.


  • Only the forearms should move; not your upper arms.
  • Choose a weight that’ll allow you to perform the exercise using a full range of motion.
  • Do the exercise in a controlled way so that your momentum does not contribute to the movement.

5. Close Grip Cable Curl

Unlike barbell or dumbbell curls, where the resistance varies during the lift, the cable pulley provides a uniform resistance throughout the movement.

The close grip bicep cable curl is one of the best isolation exercises for the long head of the bicep. It’s a pulling action performed with a cable machine and is suitable for beginners.

Close Grip Cable Curl

How To Do

  1. Set up for the cable curl by attaching a straight bar to the low pulley cable.
  2. Grasp the bar with an underhand grip (palms facing up), and your hands about shoulder-width apart.
  3. Curl the bar up toward your shoulders by bending at the elbows.
  4. Lower the weight down to the arms extended position.


  • Stand upright with the spine straight.
  • Keep the rep timing slow and control the weight as you lower it.
  • Fixing the elbows against your sides prevents movement at the shoulder and is an excellent way to isolate the biceps.

6. Cable Reverse Curl

The cable reverse curl, also known as the reverse cable curl, is an exercise that targets the brachioradialis muscle in the forearms, along with the biceps and other forearm muscles.

The cable reverse curl helps to balance arm development by targeting the muscles of the forearms and brachialis that are less often targeted. This can lead to a more proportional and aesthetic arm.

Cable Reverse Curl

How To Do

  1. Stand up with your torso upright.
  2. Hold a bar attachment that is attached to a low pulley using a pronated (palms down) and shoulder width grip
  3. Keep your elbows in, bring the bar up to your chest by flexing the elbow.
  4. Contract the muscle and hold for a moment.
  5. Slowly lower the bar back down to the arms’ extended position.
  6. Repeat for desired reps.


  • Your body should remain fixed. Only your biceps should be used to move the weight.
  • Pause at the top of the movement and squeeze your biceps.
  • Ensure that your elbows are kept close to your sides with your knees slightly bent.

7. Cable Drag Curl

If you’re looking for a new and challenge exercise to grow your bicep, look no further than the cable drag curl. This variation of the classic bicep curl is less well-known, but it’s still a powerful exercise.

It takes your bicep development to the next level and gives your forearms a unique challenge.

The elbow positioning emphasizes the long head of the bicep the most. As you curl up, your elbows pull back behind you, which stretches the long head, activating it to a very high degree.

Cable Drag Curl

How To Do

  1. Set up for the cable drag curl by attaching a straight bar to the low pulley cable machine.
  2. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, your knees slightly bent, and your abs are drawn in.
  3. Grab the bar with a double underhand (supinated) grip, with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  4. Bring your elbows and shoulders back slightly as you curl the bar upwards. It should feel like you are “dragging” the dumbbell up to your body.
  5. Squeeze your biceps hard at the top and slowly return to the starting position.


  • Try to use a lighter to moderate weight
  • Perform this exercise in a slow, controlled manner for best results.
Know More: Drag Curls: Muscle Worked, Benefits And Variation

8. Cable One Arm Curl

When doing a bicep workout with a cable machine, there are plenty of single-arm exercises you can add to correct potential imbalances.

If there’s an imbalance between your left and right biceps, cable one-arm curls can help correct it. Since each arm works independently, you can identify and address strength disparities between the sides.

Cable One Arm Curl

How To Do

  1. Start off by attaching a stirrup bar to a low cable pulley.
  2. Stand on the side of the weight stack with your legs shoulder width apart and your knees slightly bent.
  3. Grasp the stirrup in one hand with an underhand grip (palms facing up).
  4. Keep your elbows still, curl the stirrup up towards your chest.
  5. Slowly lower the stirrup to the starting position.
  6. Repeat for as much reps as desired. Switch arms while performing this exercise.


  • Your non lifting arm should be grabbing your waist. This will allow you to keep your balance.
  • Perform this exercise in a slow, controlled manner for best results.

9. Cable Squatting Curl

The squatting cable curl is a great exercise that allows you to isolate the biceps.

Set up for the exercise by attaching a straight bar to the low pulley cable and selecting the weight you want to use on the stack.

The study has shown that the concentration curl had the greatest EMG activity, followed by the hammer curl and the preacher curl.

Cable Squatting Curl

How To Do

  1. Set up for the cable squatting curl by attaching a straight bar to the low pulley cable machine.
  2. Squat straight down, so your buttocks are touching your heels.
  3. Rest the back of your arms (just behind the elbows) on your knees.
  4. Your knees will act as padding to really isolate the biceps.
  5. Grab the bar with a double underhand (supinated) grip, slowly curl the bar up towards your body as far as possible.
  6. Squeeze the biceps, and then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position.


  • You don’t need to use as much weight as normal because you’re really isolating the bicep and the movement is much harder than a cable curl.
  • Focus on the stretch and contraction of the muscle.
Know More: Best Back and Bicep Workout for Muscle Growth

10. Lying Cable Curl

If you’re looking for a way to get more creative with your biceps curls, why not try lying (supine) cable curls?

The point of lying on your back for the lying cable curl is to eliminate all body momentum. Therefore, it’s prevents cheating and better isolate your elbow flexors.

It is performed lying on the back, either on a bench or the ground, with the feet facing toward a cable stack. This movement is usually performed for moderate to high reps for a burn and pump as part of an arm-focused workout.

Lying Cable Curl

How To Do

  1. Grab a straight bar or E-Z bar attachment that is attached to the low pulley with both hands, using an underhand (palms facing up) shoulder-width grip.
  2. Lie supine (on your back) on the bench in front of the weight stack with your feet flat against the frame of the pulley machine
  3. While keeping your upper arms stationary and the elbows close to your body, curl the bar up to your chest.
  4. Slowly return to the start position.


  • Do not allow your body to come off of the floor or bench.
  • Keep the rep timing slow and control the weight as you lower it.
  • Keep your elbows stationary and tucked at your sides.

Tips and Technique To Train Bicep With Cable

1. Training Volume (Sets And Reps)

Of course, the number of sets and reps will be determined based on your fitness journey, but here is a great starting point:

The number of reps you should do depends on your goals, whether they are to increase strength or build muscle mass and endurance.

  • For muscle growth, it is best to do for around 6–12 reps per set.
  • For strength, around 3–8 reps per set are recommended.
  • Muscle Endurance, do 15-20+ reps per set.
Beginner2-38-121-2 times per week
Intermediate3-48-122-3 times per week
Advanced4-58-152-3 times per week

2. How To Add Bicep Cable Exercises In Your Workout Routine

They can be incorporated into your workout routine in a variety of ways. Here are some options:

  1. As a standalone exercise: Do 3-4 exercises, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps.
  2. As part of a back workout: Do 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps along with other bicep exercises like the Deadlift and lats pulldown.
  3. As part of a full-body workout: Do 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps along with other compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, and bench presses.

4. Cable Only Bicep Workout Routine

Cable Curl48-10
Cable Hammer Curl48-10
Cable Drag Curl310-12
Cable Reverse Curl310-12

5. Bicep Workout Routine

Barbell Curl48-10
Concentration Curl310-12
Cable Hammer Curl38-10
Barbell Reverse Curl48-12

6. Pull Workout Routine

Lats Pulldowns310-12
Cable Curl38-12
Barbell Shrugs38-12

Cable Bicep Workout Benefits

The cable bicep workout offers an effective way to train the biceps, let’s have a look at some other benefits of bicep exercises with a cable machine.

  • Bicep cable exercises are more evenly distributed.
  • The bicep cable machine exercises offer almost unmatched versatility because you can change up the load, angle, grip positioning and body positioning easily.
  • The cable setup gives your muscles almost uninterrupted time under tension, and a massive pump — each of which can help optimize muscle growth.
  • Cable machines isolate specific muscles and help to control the movement of the joints, making injury less likely.
  • Depending on the pulley attachment, cable bicep workout build grip strength as you can maintain an overhand grip or a neutral grip.
  • The Cable bicep training is an ideal exercise for all beginners, athletes, bodybuilders, or anyone attempting to build arm strength.


Are cables good for biceps?

Yes, Cable exercises strengthen your biceps almost better as other biceps exercises. If you’re looking to increase the size or strength of your biceps muscles, consider adding cable exercises to your routine.

Are cable workouts better than dumbbells?

Cable exercises elicit a more powerful muscle pump than dumbbells because they provide your biceps with constant tension.

Can Bicep cable exercises build muscle?

Cable exercises are a great way to add variety to your workout and build strength and train your muscles from different angles.

Why are bicep cables Workouts better?

Cables are a lot more fluid and smooth than free weights. Using a series of pulleys means you’re less likely to get hurt, as you don’t directly push or pull against the force of gravity. This puts less stress on your joints for safer sets and reps.

Are cables better for hypertrophy?

Yes, anything from your body weight to dumbbells to cables will help you to build muscle. This means any media can yield fast results provided your muscles endure a high enough stimulus to promote hypertrophy.

Can you build biceps with cables?

Yes, it is possible to build biceps with cable exercises. Cable exercises such as cable curls and cable hammer curls can effectively target the biceps.


There are lots of cable bicep exercises that you can add to your bicep workout regime that help to build massive arms.

They provide a full range of motion, are versatile, and effective. If you’re new to cable machine exercises, start with a few basic exercises, like cable bicep curls and cable hammer curl.

As you get stronger, you can add more challenging exercises to your routine.

References & resources

  • Nunes, J.P.; Jacinto, J.L.; Ribeiro, A.S.; Mayhew, J.L.; Nakamura, M.; Capel, D.M.G.; Santos, L.R.; Santos, L.; Cyrino, E.S.; Aguiar, A.F. Placing greater torque at shorter or longer muscle lengths? Effects of cable vs. barbell preacher curl training on muscular strength and hypertrophy in young adults. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 5859
  • Coratella, Giuseppe, Gianpaolo Tornatore, Stefano Longo, Nicholas Toninelli, Riccardo Padovan, Fabio Esposito, and Emiliano Cè. 2023. “Biceps Brachii and Brachioradialis Excitation in Biceps Curl Exercise: Different Handgrips, Different Synergy” Sports 11, no. 3: 64. https://doi.org/10.3390/sports11030064
  • Staudenmann D, Taube W. 2015. Brachialis muscle activity can be assessed with surface electromyography. Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology 25(2):199-204
  • Muscle and Strength: Cable Only Bicep and Tricep Workout
  • American Council on Exercise: “6 Benefits of Using Weightlifting Machines

7 Best Cable Bicep Exercises To Bigger Arm

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