How To Do A One Arm High Cable Curl For Bigger Biceps

Generally, the biceps get a lot of attention in the gym; most people want bigger, firmer and more aesthetically pleasing upper arms. The problem is that many gym-goers end up performing endless variations of what is essentially the same exercise.

For example, going from barbell curls into dumbbell curls and then onto straight bar cable curls. Of course, there are some slight differences between each one but they all work the biceps in a very similar fashion.


If you want to truly get the most out of your bicep training, you need to switch things up a little more. You should be changing the angles and loading patterns to work your bicep muscles in a larger variety of different ways.

One exercise that can help you to completely change up the angles and stimulus presented to your biceps is the one arm high cable curl.

[amazon box="B008DNAKQK,B00OXUWOB6,B000ICHPIK,B013TL6VX6,B00K1TX7BY" template="table"]

Benefits Of The One Arm High Cable Curl

I will begin with what I see as the main benefit of this exercise: the angle of your upper arm.

What I mean by this is that the one arm high cable curl puts your upper arm parallel to the floor. In a traditional bicep curl, your upper is perpendicular to the floor but what difference does this make? The biggest difference this angle makes is in how it affects your anterior deltoid (front of your shoulder).

Your biceps actually cross your shoulder joint and play a small part in assisting your anterior deltoid with shoulder flexion, which means raising your arm out in front of you and up to shoulder height. The problem: it’s very easy to start performing this front shoulder raise type movement when you are curling your arm from below your shoulder.

I am sure you have seen people in the gym who curl a barbell half way before bringing their upper arms in front of their body to finish the exercise. When this happens, the biceps are getting very little work for that second part of the movement.

To eradicate this problem, you can remove shoulder flexion from the equation by starting the curl with your upper arm parallel to the ground. You won’t need to worry about your shoulder flexing since it will already be in a flexed position. Now, you can focus solely on the bicep to do the work.

Another advantage to the one arm high cable curl is the big peak contraction you can get from it. As a result of your arm position and loading of the cable machine, you are able to squeeze your bicep extremely hard at the end of each rep.

The cable machine is working as a constant resistance against your bicep so you must squeeze it hard throughout the entirety of the rep. A peak contraction like this will really help you to feel your biceps working and the pump will be incredible.

You can even take advantage of the constant tension by experimenting with isometric contractions. Holding the hard squeeze at the peak contraction point for 1-2 seconds will get your biceps working in a way that only cable machines can deliver.

How To Perform A One Arm High Cable Curl

Some people like to perform the two-handed variation of the exercise. However, I prefer a single arm version so that you can put your full concentration into your arm position and the contraction with each rep.


Here is the step-by-step guide for the one arm variation:

  1. Set a cable machine pulley to just above shoulder height and attach a regular D-handle.
  2. Stand directly side on to the handle and grab it with an underhand grip. You may wish to stand with a staggered stance for more stability.
  3. Take a few sideways steps away from the cable stack until your arm is fully extended and there is some tension on the cables.
  4. Keeping your upper arm fixed in place, bend your elbow and curl the handle in towards your shoulder. Be Make sure to keep your arm directly out to your side, do not let it travel in front of your body at all.
  5. Curl as far as you can and squeeze hard when your forearm touches your upper arm.
  6. Extend your arm, under control, back to the start position.

Learn more at below video: 

[amazon box="B015EPIQWY" template="widget"]

Final Thoughts On The One Arm High Cable Curl

As I already mentioned, switching up the angles and movements in your biceps training can certainly help your overall muscle development. The one arm high cable curl is an exercise that’s unique in its’ loading pattern and angles so is worth experimenting with.

I will say that you should also include complimentary exercises such as incline curls where your arm begins behind your body. The reason for this is that the high cable curl does not allow for a big stretch on the muscles so, if you want to hit all aspects, you will need to find exercises that do provide that stretch.

A great combination of biceps exercises for targeting multiple angles and stimuli is the one arm high cable curl and incline hammer curls. Try them as a superset during your next biceps workout and let me know what you think in the comments section.

Kelly Joyner

Hi, I'm Kelly, I'm very glad you took a few minutes of your time to check out my blog. RegularityFitness is a blog about the best fitness exercises, weight loss methods, diet, muscle building. That will help you get a good shape and healthy.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

Leave a Reply: