I like Preacher Curls…
I like bodyweight exercises…
And I LOVE combining these two things into a hybrid that serves up the best of both worlds.
So fire up the Frankenstein-meter…if you’re like me and you love unique exercises, this one is definitely going to find a place in your arm routine…
And, yes, to answer your question in advance of you reading about this exercise…I AM crazy…
How To Do It:
To perform this exercise, you’re going to need a few things…a Preacher bench (duh), a power rack (a Smith machine will also work) and a flat bench (you can substitute a chair or stool for the flat bench if you need to).
Check out the pictures and video of this exercise in action in this article and at the link at the bottom to ensure you’ve got the idea of it before trying it.
Set the Preacher bench in the rack – the top of the pad should be angling up to the side (where the safety rail is). Now set the safety rail on that side to a point just above the top of that Preacher bench pad.
If you’re using a Smith machine, set the Preacher bench under the bar and set the bar to that same point (just above the pad of the Preacher bench).
Basically, you want this setup to look like the safety rail is almost on top of the Preacher bench pad.
Now take your flat bench or chair and set it about 3 feet away from the Preacher bench. For me, I set it just outside the rack on the other side. You’ll have to play with this position once you see the exercise in action and give it a test drive.
So we’ve got the setup. Now this part is going to require you to completely reverse your thinking about how the Preacher Curl exercise works…
The regular Preacher Curl works by having you sit on the bench, place your upper arms on the bar and curl a barbell (or dumbbells) up and down. No surprises there.
THIS version is going to require you to first stand facing the angled face of the Preacher bench. Now kneel down and set your forearms on the face of the bench. Slide your arms up and grip the safety rail.
Finally, you’re going to put your feet up on the bench in order to get your bodyweight off the ground.
This switch-up turns the Preacher curl into what’s called an “open chain” exercise. Basically, instead of YOU being stationary and moving the resistance, you are going to “lock down” your forearms and move your BODY as the resistance.
It’s the same difference as a chin-up and a pulldown or a barbell squat and a leg press or a push-up and a bench press – they’re all the same basic movements. But the most effective exercises are the ones where you move your body through space.
That is what makes this exercise so powerful. Instead of doing Preacher Curls with a barbell, you’re going to lock down your forearms and do curls with your bodyweight (not your whole bodyweight , of course, that’s another reason your feet are on the bench behind you – to take up some of that resistance and allow you perform the exercise).
You’re working the muscle from the complete opposite direction of what it’s used to…and the results are amazing.
So really, all you have to do to perform the exercise is lock your forearms down and curl your body up!
As you do it, you’re going to notice a very big change in how the exercise feels compared to regular free weight curling exercises. It activates a lot more muscle fibers and demands more overall body strength.
This “locked-down” position changes the entire dynamic of the exercise. The Preacher bench provides a nice stretch at the bottom and a great contraction at the top.
Let me tell you right up front, even if you’ve done some of my exercises in your gym before…this one is going to get you some second looks (and a lot of questions!).
And when you’ve done your first set, and it feels (and looks!) like your biceps are swollen up to twice their normal size, you’re going to really start getting some questions from people!