If you’re looking for a new and challenge exercise to grow your bicep, look no further than the 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 drag curl is primarily performed by bodybuilders to improve the size and appearance of their biceps and forearm.
In this blog, we will provide a guide on the following topics:
- What drag curl
- Muscle worked during drag curl
- Benefits of doing this exercise.
- How to perform drag curl correctly.
- Best variations of the drag curl
- How to add variety to your workout routine.
- Muscles Worked During Drag Curl?
- What is a Bicep Drag Curl Exercise?
- 1. Cable Drag Curl
- How To Do Cable Bicep Drag Curl
- 2. Dumbbell Drag Curl
- How To Do Dumbbell Drag Curl
- 3. Barbell Drag Curl
- How To Do Barbell Drug Curl
- 4. Smith Machine Drag Curl
- How To Do Smith machine drag curls
- 4. Reverse drag curl
- How To Do Reverse Drag Curl
- 5. Kettlebell drag curl
- How To Do Kettlebell Bicep drag curl
- 7. Seated drag curl
- How To Do Seated Drag Curl
- Proper Form And Technique From Doing Drag Curl
- 1. Keep Your Elbows Close To Your Sides
- 2. Maintain Proper Posture
- 3. Use Controlled Movements
- 4. Focus On The Eccentric Movement
- 5. Start The Light Weight
- 6. Warm Up
- The benefits of doing the drag curl?
- 1. Highly Targeted Bicep Activation
- 2. Strength And Size Gains:
- 3. Increased Grip Strength
- 4. Improved Arm Definition
- 5. Variety
- Training Volume (Sets And Reps)
- Drag curls vs bicep curls
- How many reps and sets of drag curls should I do?
- Can drag curls be performed with dumbbells?
- Are drag curls better than traditional bicep curls?
- Can beginners perform drag curl ?
- Do drag curls work the long head
- 10 Best Barbell Bicep Exercises To Build Mass
Muscles Worked During Drag Curl?
The drag curls secondarily worked your brachialis, a muscle in your biceps that lies beneath your biceps brachii.
It also activates your brachioradialis, the most prominent muscle in your forearm.
What is a Bicep Drag Curl Exercise?
This exercise is called a “drag” curl because the weight is dragged up the front of the body rather than lifted straight up in front.
The drag curl is a great addition to any arm workout routine and can help improve biceps development and forearm strength.
It can be performed with either dumbbells, barbells, and cable.
It involves pulling the barbell or dumbbell up along the front of the body, while keeping the elbows back and close to the body.
All options have their own benefits, but make sure to keep your elbows close to your body as you curl the weight up and down without rocking or jerking.
1. Cable Drag Curl
The cable drag curl workout is a unique bicep curl variation in which you don’t completely bring the weight in front of your body. Thus, you have a more difficult time swinging and using momentum to get the weight up.
As for the long head of the bicep, it is emphasized the most due to the elbow positioning.
As you curl up, your elbows pull back behind you, which stretches the long head, activating it to a very high degree.
How To Do Cable Bicep Drag Curl
- Attach a straight bar to the low pulley cable machine.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, your knees slightly bent.
- Grab the bar with an underhand (supinated) grip, with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
- 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.
- Squeeze your biceps hard at the top and slowly return to the starting position.
2. Dumbbell Drag Curl
The dumbbell drag curl is a unique bicep curl variation in which you don’t completely bring the weight in front of your body. Thus, you have a more difficult time swinging and using momentum to get the weight up.
As for the long head of the bicep, it is emphasized the most due to the elbow positioning.
How To Do Dumbbell Drag Curl
- Place your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent.
- Grab the dumbbell with a double underhand (supinated) grip with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Bring your elbows and shoulders back slightly as you curl the dumbbells upwards. It should feel like you are “dragging” the dumbbell up to your body.
- Start by pressing your biceps hard at the top and slowly returning to the starting position.
3. Barbell Drag Curl
While less popular than the standard barbell bicep curl, the barbell bicep drag curl is an extremely effective bicep exercise.
If you want to improve your arm size, strength, and appearance, the barbell drag curl is for you.
How To Do Barbell Drug Curl
- Grab the barbell with a supinated grip and keep your hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
- Hold the barbell close to your body, with your arms extended and the bar touching your thighs.
- Keeping your elbows close to your sides, slowly drag the bar up.
- Keep raising the bar as high as you can without letting your elbows move forward.
- You should squeeze your biceps hard at the top.
- Slowly return to the starting position.
4. Smith Machine Drag Curl
Smith machine drag curls offer several benefits over traditional bicep drag curls.
The guided movement of the smith machine helps you focus on contracting your biceps and forearms without worrying about balancing the weight.
Smith machines can help reduce back stress and allow you to lift heavier weights than free weights.
How To Do Smith machine drag curls
- Set the Smith machine bar to a height that is just above your waist.
- Stand in front of the bar and grasp it with an underhand grip, keeping your hands shoulder-width apart.
- Step back a few inches to allow the bar to clear the machine.
- Raise the bar straight across your body, bringing your hands toward your shoulders while pulling your elbows behind your chest.
- Pause at the top of the movement and squeeze your biceps.
- Slowly lower the bar back down to the starting position.
4. Reverse drag curl
Reverse drag curls use an overhand grip instead of the underhand grip used in traditional drag curl.
It places more emphasis on the brachialis and brachioradialis muscles in the forearms, in addition to the biceps.
In addition, reverse drag curls can be useful for those who experience discomfort in their wrists during traditional bicep curls.
How To Do Reverse Drag Curl
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold the weight with an overhand grip, keeping your palms facing down.
- Keep your elbows back and close to your body.
- Curl the weight up towards your chest while pulling your elbows behind you.
- Squeeze your biceps at the top of the movement, and then lower the weight back down to the starting position.
- Repeat for 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps.
5. Kettlebell drag curl
Kettlebell drag curl offer several benefits over traditional drag curls, including greater forearm engagement due to the kettlebell’s unique shape.
The Kettlebell training can also improve your grip and stability, making it a useful addition to your arm workout.
How To Do Kettlebell Bicep drag curl
- Hold a kettlebell in one hand with an underhand grip.
- Curl the kettlebell up towards your chest by pulling the elbow behind you.
- Squeeze your biceps at the top of the movement.
- Then lower the kettlebell back down to the starting position.
- Repeat for the desired number of reps and then switch arms.
7. Seated drag curl
The seated drag curl can be beneficial for those who have difficulty maintaining proper form while standing or for individuals with lower back issues
By sitting down, you can isolate the biceps without engaging other muscles.
How To Do Seated Drag Curl
- Sit on a bench with your feet flat on the floor and your back straight.
- Hold a dumbbell with an underhand grip and keep your elbows back and close to your body.
- Curl the dumbbell up towards your chest, squeezing your biceps at the top of the movement.
- Lower the dumbbell back down to the starting position.
Proper Form And Technique From Doing Drag Curl
1. Keep Your Elbows Close To Your Sides
Keeping your elbows close to your sides helps to target your biceps and forearms.
It also helps to reduce the risk of injury to your shoulders.
2. Maintain Proper Posture
Keep your back straight, your chest lifted, and your core engaged throughout the entire movement.
Avoid rounding your back or hunching forward.
3. Use Controlled Movements
The drag curl should be performed with slow and controlled movements, without swinging the weight.
4. Focus On The Eccentric Movement
Pay attention to the negative portion of the movement, slowly lowering the bar back down to the starting position.
This helps to strengthen the target muscles and prevent injury.
5. Start The Light Weight
It is important to start with a lighter weight and gradually increase the weight as you become more comfortable with the movement.
Using a weight that is too heavy can lead to improper form and increase the risk of injury.
6. Warm Up
Always warm up before performing the drag curl, include a few light sets to warm up.
The benefits of doing the drag curl?
Drag curls have many benefits due to the nature of their training stimuli and the angle at which they are performed.
1. Highly Targeted Bicep Activation
The purpose of the drag curl is to activate the biceps brachii muscles with a highly targeted activation technique.
This is because the biceps brachii are in a different place and contract differently.
2. Strength And Size Gains:
The barbell drag curl is an intense biceps exercise.
At the top of each rep, your biceps are optimally targeted, which helps to strengthen the biceps muscle and increase biceps hypertrophy.
3. Increased Grip Strength
The dragging motion of the barbell during drag curl helps to improve grip strength.
4. Improved Arm Definition
It makes the biceps look toned and sculpted.
Adding a drag curl to your workout routine can make it more challenging.
It also helps to prevent boredom by offering a new way to focus.
Training Volume (Sets And Reps)
- For muscle endurance: Aim for 3–4 sets of 12–15 reps, with a moderate amount of resistance.
- For muscle strength: Aim for 3–5 sets of 6–10 reps, with a heavier amount of resistance.
- For muscle hypertrophy (increased muscle size): Aim for 3–4 sets of 8–12 reps, with a moderate to heavy amount of resistance.
It is always best to start with a lower number of reps and sets, and then gradually increase as your strength improves.
Furthermore, it is important to allow for adequate rest between sets, typically 60–90 seconds.
Drag curls vs bicep curls
Drag curls are a variation of bicep curls that involve keeping the elbows back and close to the body. It puts greater emphasis on the biceps and reduces involvement of the shoulders and back muscles.
Traditional bicep curls involve lifting the weight straight up in front of the body.
Drag curls can be a useful addition to an arm workout routine for those looking to target the biceps in a different way.
How many reps and sets of drag curls should I do?
Do 3–4 sets of 8–12 reps of drag curls.
Although the optimal number of reps and sets can vary depending on your goals,
Can drag curls be performed with dumbbells?
Yes, drag curls can be performed with dumbbells, as well as barbells and the smith machine.
Using dumbbells can provide greater range of motion.
Are drag curls better than traditional bicep curls?
Drag curls and traditional bicep curls are both effective exercises for targeting the biceps.
Drag curls are a great addition to your bicep workout routine, as they place greater emphasis on the biceps and forearm.
Can beginners perform drag curl ?
Yes, beginners can perform drag curl, but they should start with lighter weights and focus on proper form.
Do drag curls work the long head
Drag curls work the long head of the biceps brachii muscles.
The drag curl exercise requires you to keep the elbows back, which places greater emphasis on the long head.
Drag curls are a challenging and effective exercise for anyone looking to build strong, defined biceps, whether using a barbell, dumbbell, smith machine, or kettlebell.
It provides several benefits, such as increased bicep activation and improved forearm strength.
10 Best Barbell Bicep Exercises To Build Mass
Manish brings over 10 years of hands-on experience in weight lifting and fat loss to fitness coaching. He specializes in gym-based training and has a lot of knowledge about exercise, lifting technique, biomechanics, and more.
Through “Fit Life Regime,” he generously shares the insights he’s gained over a decade in the field. His goal is to equip others with the knowledge to start their own fitness journey.