Dumbbell Reverse Curl: Muscle Worked, How To Do, Tips

If you want to build a bigger and stronger bicep and forearm, you should add reverse dumbbell curls to your arm workout routine.

Why are dumbbell reverse curls so vital? Reverse dumbbell curls are a classic biceps curl exercise that has been used for decades by bodybuilders and strength athletes. They are a highly effective way to target the forearm and bicep muscles.

They not only make your bicep look better, but they also help build forearm muscles.

In this beginner guide, we will explore the following:

What Is Dumbbell Reverse Bicep Curl?

Reverse bicep curls can be your secret weapon in your quest to build bigger arms. The dumbbell reverse curl is a variation of the standard dumbbell biceps curl. In which you hold the dumbbells with your palms facing down (overhead grip).

The reverse bicep curl is great for building both your bicep and brachialis (upper arms), and your brachioradialis (lower arm) muscle.

Dumbbell reverse curls can be done as part of a full-body workout or as a targeted arm workout. They can also be done at home or at the gym.

This exercise is commonly used to strengthen the forearms, improve grip strength, and contribute to a more balanced arm development.

There are many variations of reverse grip dumbbell curl that you can add to your workout routine, and all have their own unique benefits.

  • Alternating Reverse Grip Dumbbell Curl
  • Seated Reverse Grip Dumbbell Curl
  • Single-Arm Reverse Curl
  • Preacher Bench Reverse Dumbbell Curl
  • Incline Curl With Reverse Grip
  • Reverse Grip Spider Dumbbell Curl
Use Our Free Calculator To Know Your Calories Requirement To Gain Muscle Mass

Dumbbell Reverse Curl Muscle Worked

The dumbbell reverse curl primarily targets the muscles in the forearm, specifically the brachioradialis.

Additionally, there are other muscles that come into play as secondary stabilizers during the reveres grip dumbbell curl, Biceps Brachii, Brachialis,

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

The deltoids and trapezius muscles are also active, but only for stabilization purposes.

Dumbbell Reverse Curl Muscle Worked

How To Do Standing Dumbbell Reverse Curl

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent.
  2. Grab a dumbbell in each hand using a (palm facing down) overhand grip.
  3. Keep your upper arms stationary and your back straight.
  4. Exhale and Curl the Dumbbell towards your shoulders.
  5. Continue curling the dumbbells until they are at shoulder level.
  6. Pause at the top of the movement, then slowly lower the dumbbells back down to the starting position.
  7. Repeat for the desired 8-12 reps and 3-4 sets.
Dumbbell Reverse Curl
Know More: 12 Best Ways To Do Bicep Curl (Dumbbell, Barbell & Cable)

Dumbbell Reverse Curl Proper Form And Technique

Proper exercise form and technique is essential to ensure the safety and effectiveness of an exercise program.

  • Don’t lift the weight with too much momentum or swing your body.
  • Pause at the top of the movement and squeeze your biceps and brachialis muscles.
  • slow controlled descent will increase time under tension, leading to more effective sets, and less risk of injury.
  • Ensure your elbows stay close to your sides; they should not move forward or outward.
  • Don’t let your shoulders shrug up towards your ears.
  • Incorporate proper warm-ups, rest, and nutrition into your exercise program.
  • Rest for 24 to 48 hours before training the same muscle groups to allow sufficient recovery.
  • Perform this exercise in a slow, controlled manner for best results.
  • Don’t go heavy. Choose a lighter weight and focus on perfecting your form.

Set, Reps And Frequency For Dumbbell Reverse Curl

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
Know More: 15 Best Biceps Exercises With Dumbbells For Mass & Strength

Variations Of Reverse Grip Dumbbell Curls

There are several variations of reverse curls that can target different areas of your biceps and forearms.

  • If you are new to dumbbell reverse curl or you may want to apply a few modifications to make the exercise easier. One way to counter this problem is to use a lighter weightAnother option is to do a single arm reverse curl.
  • If you are looking for a more advanced variation to stimulate different muscle fibers in the bicep, then try preacher reverse grip and spider reverse curl.

1. Dumbbell Reverse Grip Concentration Curl

The Reverse Grip Dumbbell Concentration Curl is a great basic move. This is one of the best reverse bicep curl exercises variations that you can do during your arm workout.

When done correctly, it can effectively target your arms, and forearms.

The dumbbell reverse-grip concentration curl is an isolation exercise that targets the biceps brachii and brachioradialis muscles.

Reverse Grip Dumbbell concentration curl

2. Dumbbell Reverse Bicep Preacher Curl

The dumbbell reverse preacher curl is a different way to do the standard preacher curl. It works your brachialis muscle, which is deeper than your biceps brachii in your upper arm.

The reverse bicep preacher curl may be performed with a barbell, dumbbells, or EZ-curl bar. But dumbbell reverse grip preacher curl better provides stability and the full range of motion.

Dumbbell Reverse Preacher Curl

3. Reverse Grip Dumbbell Spider Curl

Dumbbell Reverse spider curl is a variation of the spider curl where the dumbbell is gripped palm’s down. The motion is the same, but the change in grip allows for specific arm muscles to be targeted.

The reverse grip places a significant emphasis on the brachioradialis muscle. Strengthening this muscle improves forearm strength and stability, which in turn improves grip strength and pulling movements.

Dumbbell Reverse Spider Curl.

4. Reverse Incline Dumbbell Curl

The reverse grip used in the incline curl places greater emphasis on the brachialis and brachioradialis muscles.

The reverse grip used in this variation challenges the grip strength and forearm muscles more, which helps you develop a stronger grip.

5. Standing One Arm Dumbbell Reverse Curl

The standing one-arm dumbbell reverse curl is a variation of the reverse curl exercise that focuses on one arm at a time.

The one-arm variation allows you to isolate each forearm independently. This can fix any muscle imbalances between your forearms and make sure that both sides develop evenly.

It is especially helpful if you have noticed that one forearm is weaker than the other. It also leads to better mind-muscle connection.

Standing One Arm Dumbbell Reverse Curl

6. Seated Reverse Dumbbell Curl

As the name suggests, this variation is performed sitting down on a bench or chair. This allows you to better isolate the arm muscles with minimal involvement of other body parts.

When seated, there’s less opportunity for body movement or momentum to assist in lifting the weight. This means you’re less likely to “cheat” by using your upper body to complete the movement.

This can be beneficial for individuals with lower back issues or those looking to minimize strain on the spine and knee joints.

Seated Reverse Dumbbell Curl

Dumbbell Reverse Curl Alternatives

If you want to keep your training varied, fun, and challenging, you might also want to include the following exercises.

Add Dumbbell Reverse Curl Into Your Workout Routine

The reverse dumbbell curls can be incorporated into your workout routine in a variety of ways. Here are some options:

  1. As a standalone exercise: Do on 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps.
  2. As part of a bicep workout: Do 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps along with other bicep exercises like them barbell bicep curl and hammer curl.
  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.

1. Bicep-Focused Workout Routine

Dumbbell Curl3-48-12
Hammer Curl310-12
Preacher Curl38-10
Dumbbell Reverse Curl48-12
Cable Curl38-12

2. Pull Workout Routine

Barbell Upright Row38-12
Lats Pulldowns310-12
Barbell Curl38-12
Dumbbell Reverse Curl38-12


Do reverse curls build forearms?

Yes, reverse curls are effective for building forearm strength. They primarily target the brachioradialis, a key muscle in the forearm. In addition to building forearm strength, reverse curls can also help to improve grip strength.

Why are reverse curls so hard?

Reverse curls are hard because they target the forearm flexors, which are relatively small muscles. Additionally, the reverse grip changes the leverage, making it harder to lift the weight.

Why do reverse curls hurt my elbows?

Reverse curls can hurt your elbows if you’re using too much weight, improper form, or have underlying joint issues. It’s essential to use a manageable weight, maintain proper wrist and elbow alignment, and ensure controlled, smooth movements to prevent elbow discomfort.


The reverse dumbbell curl is a highly effective exercise for sculpting stronger, well-defined arms. It effectively targets the biceps, brachialis, and brachioradialis muscles, enhances forearm strength, and improves overall arm appearance.

Remember to keep your form and technique while you exercise, increase the weight slowly as you get more comfortable, and avoid common mistakes that can slow you down.


  1. Oliveira LF, Matta TT, Alves DS, Garcia MAC, Vieira TMM. Effect of the shoulder position on the biceps brachii EMG in different dumbbell curls. Journal of Sports Science & Medicine. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24150552/
  2. Barakat C, Barroso R, Alvarez M, Rauch J, Miller N, Bou-Sliman A, De Souza EO. The Effects of Varying Glenohumeral Joint Angle on Acute Volume Load, Muscle Activation, Swelling, and Echo-Intensity on the Biceps Brachii in Resistance-Trained Individuals. Sports (Basel). 2019 Sep 4;7(9):204. doi: 10.3390/sports7090204. PMID: 31487841; PMCID: PMC6783981.
  3. Marcolin, G., Panizzolo, F. A., Petrone, N., Moro, T., Grigoletto, D., Piccolo, D., & Paoli, A. (2018). Differences in electromyographic activity of biceps brachii and brachioradialis while performing three variants of curl. PeerJ, 6, e5165. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.5165

5 Best Ways To Do Reverse Curl To Build Bigger Arm

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