Alternating Dumbbell Curls exercise to build biceps muscle

Why is Alternating Dumbbell Curl such an effective exercise?

Alternate Dumbbell Curls is an excellent exercise to isolate the biceps on each side and build them bigger and more peaked.

In regular dumbbell curling you have the option of of a two arm curl which is closer to a barbell curl and the one arm alternating curl.

The one arm curl shown here when done in an alternating fashion allows the arms to rest, helping you lift more.

Also the non-moving arm with dumbbell helps in stabilizing your body when you do arm curls especially with heavy weights.

Check the correct technique and blast your arms.

Remember Alternating Dumbbell Curls is a heavy duty exercise as you will be working on both arms one after the other continuously.

Purpose - To Isolate and build bicep muscle.


This exercise is done standing with a pair of dumbbells.


  1. Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand upright with the dumbbells hanging by your sides.

  2. Curl your arm and get them as close to your shoulder level while keeping the other arm at rest.

  3. Now while curling your right arm down, curl the left arm upwards alternating them in this fashion.
Alternating One arm hammer curls

The difference between hammer curls and regular curls is that, in hammer curls you grip the dumbbells with a neutral grip.

Your palms will be facing each other which works more on the brachialis muscles.

Brachialis is inserted below the elbow joint and hammer curls allows for fuller contraction of this muscle which gives you a fuller looking biceps muscle from shoulder to elbows.

Should you cheat when doing biceps curls?

Some exercises have the cheating component built in to them, like the clean and press/jerk. There is no problem in such total body moves as cheating is part of the exercise.

In isolated exercises like the biceps curls, either with barbells or dumbbells, you should try not to include muscles like the shoulder or back as it takes the effect off the biceps.

But you can lean forward when you do dumbbell curls as it results in more power generation without tiring your back or shoulder muscles.

It is called "cheering" and not "cheating" when done the right way.

Points to Remember when during alternating curls

  • Exhale while you exert. That means exhale at the top of curling movement.
  • Go full range of motion and curl harder especially at the top. To do this get your little finger higher than thumb.

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