What is a bicep drag curl? (A guide to drag curls)

What is a bicep drag curl

What is a bicep drag curl?

The drag curl is one of the most underrated bicep exercises. You may have heard of it on forums or magazines or even seen it performed in the gym. But, what is a bicep drag curls?

Drag curls are a resistance exercise that targets the bicep muscles in the upper arm. The drag curl attacks both the bicep heads as well as the Brachialis, which is the muscle that lies underneath the two bicep heads. 

The forearms are also highly engaged, making this a great, all-around arm exercise. As with nearly all standing curls, the abdominal and back muscles are activated as stabiliser muscles. 

What equipment do I use for drag curls?

The drag curl can be performed with a barbell, dumbbells, or cable with an EZ attachment. Whichever you choose, make sure that you're using a manageable weight. This is one of those exercises that is best performed with slow positive and negative movements so you will need full control over the weight that you are using. 

How to perform a barbell bicep drag curl.

Stand with your back straight, core engaged, holding the bar in the underhand position. Hands should be slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. If you find the grip on a straight bar uncomfortable, you can use an EZ bar.

Barbell drag curl

Curl the bar upwards, keeping it close to your body by bringing your elbows and shoulders back. Think of the motion as dragging the bar up your body. 

At the top of the movement, hold the position and squeeze your biceps for a couple of seconds before lowering the weight down your body. Repeat this movement for 12-15 reps per set.

Dumbbell bicep drag curl.

The drag curl can be performed with dumbbells, but more concentration is required. Hold the dumbbells slightly wider than shoulder-width as you would with the barbell. 

Dumbbell drag curl

Curl the dumbbells by dragging them up the side of your body in the same motion as the barbell drag curl. Keep your hands facing forwards and use dumbbells that allow you to make slow controlled movements. 

Other variations of the drag curl.

The bicep drag curl can also be performed with kettlebells and resistance bands by making the same, dragging motion up the body. 

Cable machines are another good option for bicep drag curls. On a single cable, you can attach a straight or EZ bar. Set the pulley to a low pin and drag the bar as you would with a barbell drag curl. If you have access to a twin cable machine, you can attach stirrups to each side and perform the exercise as you would with dumbbells. There is a slight advantage to using a twin cable as you can step forward and have the starting points slightly behind you. 

Drag Curls vs Regular Curls: Which Is Better For Bicep Growth?

One of the biggest differences between drag curls and regular curls is the range of motion. Drag curls involve a much greater range of motion than regular curls, which means they can target your muscles more effectively. 

Additionally, drag curls also place a greater amount of tension on your biceps than regular curls, meaning they can help you with hypertrophy if bodybuilding is your goal.

So, if you’re looking to build bigger, stronger muscles quickly, then drag curls are the way to go. 

However, if you’re just starting out or you’re looking for a less intense workout, then regular curls might be a better option for you.

While both drag curls and regular curls serve the same purpose of exercising biceps muscles, it’s evident that each curl has its own unique benefits. If your goal is to achieve bigger and stronger biceps, then you might want to consider doing drag curls. 

On the other hand, if you’re more concerned with developing muscular endurance, then regular curls would be a better option for you. 

In the end, it all comes down to what your personal goals are and which type of curl will help you best achieve those results.

Benefits of Drag Curls

Drag curls work the same muscle groups as regular curls, but they also place greater emphasis on the biceps and brachialis, which are the muscles located on the front of the upper arm. This can help you to build bigger, stronger arms.

In addition, drag curls help to promote stability and balance throughout your body. This is because you have to control the weight as it moves up and down; this helps to engage more stabilizer muscles, which can lead to overall body strength gains.

So, if you're looking for a way to boost your biceps and brachialis development, as well as add some stability-promoting moves to your routine, drag curls are an excellent choice. 

Consequences of Using Drag Curls

Doing drag curls can have some consequences for your muscles that you may not be aware of. One of these is that it can actually lead to muscles becoming more resistant to growth. 

This is because when you perform drag curls, the weight is being pulled in an upward motion against gravity, which causes the muscles to work harder. The downside to this is that your muscles will adapt and become stronger at resisting this type of force, which can make it harder to see gains in muscle size.

This can be overcome with progressive overload. By gradually increasing the weight/reps or reducing rest periods between sets, you can force the muscle to continually adapt. 

Additionally, drag curls put a lot of stress on the joints and connective tissue, which can lead to injuries if you don't warm up properly use the proper form. 

So, while drag curls can be a great exercise for building muscle size and strength, they should be used carefully to avoid any potential negative consequences.


There you have it, your complete guide to drag curls including variations, technique, benefits and things to look out for. We hope that we have answered the original question - what is a bicep drag curl?

Drag curls are a great exercise for hypertrophy within the arms and should be an integral part of all good bodybuilding splits.

Remember to check out our new FREE hypertrophy bodybuilding program, HyperGrowth by clicking on this link. It is a scientifically-backed strategy for promoting maximum, natural muscle growth through high-frequency, targeted training. 

What is a bicep drag curl alternative?

Barbell Curl

Dumbbell Curl

Reverse Grip Curl

Preacher Curl


Should I use Drag Curls instead of regular Dumbbell Curls?

The best option would be to incorportate both into your training. By hitting the biceps from different angles with different pinch points, you are going to promot maximum muscle growth.

Will Drag Curls cause injury?

As long as you are fully woarmed up, using strict form and not overtraining the muscle, you should be able to mitigate any chance of injury. F=Drag curls put a lot of strain on the forearms as well as the bicep so make sure you have performed warm up exercises and stretches before you start. 

Is it only the biceps that are worked by drag curls?

Whilst drag curls are primarily a bicep exercise, they are also good for targetting parts of the forearm that standard curls do not touch. 


Gymenix offers a selection of free training programs to suit all abilities and goals. Click on the links below for FREE access. 

Previous Post Next Post

Contact Form