Are Seated Curls Too Difficult?

seated curls
March 27, 2023 0 Comments

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In this article I will be answering the question “are seated curls too difficult?”. This is an interesting topic and one that deserves more exploration.

Some people don’t do seated curls and prefer to do standing curls as they can use a lot more weight. It is hard on the ego as well to handle the slightly lighter weights that the seated curl will force you to do.

Are seated curls just too difficult for most people? This article will deep dive into this topic and present some very useful insights to you!

Are Seated Curls Too Difficult?

It goes without saying that seated curls are more difficult than standing curls. You will have to utilise less weight on this exercise. 

This is due to the nature of the position. The standing curl allows you to bring your entire body into the movement and use other muscles besides your biceps to assist you.

Seated curls isolate the biceps to a greater degree and involve less cheating. You are forced to rely a lot more on your bicep strength to complete the reps. The most difficult variation of seated curls are concentration curls.

The easiest seated curl variation is seated curls without back support. Depending on how difficult you want to make the exercise you can choose the right variation for your needs.

Overall, seated curls are not too difficult. They are harder than standing curls but will still allow you to use semi respectable weights and are better for isolating the muscle. 
seated curls

Standing Curls Are Easier

It should be stated that standing curls are easier than seated curls – all things being equal. This is because you can use more “body english” with standing curls.

More muscles can be brought into play and you can use your entire body to cheat when the reps get tough. This means that you can use heavier weight when doing standing curls.

Obviously, doing standing curls with very heavy weight isn’t easy. It’s just that with the same weight on both seated curls and standing curls, the standing variation will be easier.

You can minimise body english on the standing curl by purposely choosing to keep the reps very strict. This way you can use the standing curl to get a better isolation effect on the biceps.

Seated Curls Are Better For Isolation

When it comes to isolating the biceps, the seated curl is better. This is because there is less help from other muscle groups. The biceps have to do a bigger percentage of the work.

It can be argued that strict standing curls are just as good for isolating the biceps. This may be true, however you would have to make a real conscious effort to ensure that you keep the form clean.

Personally, I feel that many people shy away from seated curls due to ego. They don’t want to have to use lighter weights and be judged as weak by others.

When it comes to isolation exercises it is all about placing the muscle under tension and establishing a good mind muscle connection.

Seated Curls With And Without Back Support

Seated curls with back support are harder than seated curls without back support. This is because the back support ensures that the movement becomes stricter.

Personally, I prefer doing seated curls without back support. The reason for this is that I can use heavier weights than I would be able to with the back support. To me it is a good middle ground in terms of weight used.

You can still use respectable weights and get very good tension on the biceps. With the back support, the weight used would be even lighter and it may not be enough of a stimulus for optimal growth.

This is an interesting consideration and one that is rarely discussed. I have noticed this in my own training and am a big proponent of the seated curl without back support.

Concentration Curls Are The Hardest Seated Variation

The hardest seated curl variation is the concentration curl. The concentration curl is an old school exercise that was commonly performed in the pumping iron days.

Funnily enough, it was one of the first exercises I ever did in the gym. The concentration curl is tougher as it is done in an incredibly strict manner. You have to perform the exercise one arm at at time and rest your elbow on your upper thigh.

I find this exercise produces some great bicep pumps and will certainly help to improve the peak of your biceps. You just have to be careful not to strain your biceps. Make sure you warm up thoroughly and don’t go super heavy.

John Meadows Bicep Workout

The late John Meadows had some interesting training insights that he shared. Below is John going through some biceps exercises in a typical biceps workout.

The first exercise he walks through is a seated dumbbell curl with back support. In this case he is using a preacher bench as the back support. He prescribes four sets of ten for this exercise.

He is training the brachialis specifically with this exercise utilising the hammer grip. It is an underrated muscle and a great way to start off a bicep workout. 

Final Thoughts

Are seated curls too difficult? They are more difficult than standing curls, but they are not too difficult. The hardest seated curl variation is the concentration curl. This is a tough exercise but one that is also very enjoyable at the same time.

It is true that you do have to keep your ego in check and use lighter weights on the seated curl. A good middle ground would be to do seated curls without back support. This way you can keep the weight respectable and still get in a great isolation workout for your biceps.

If you have any comments on this topic please leave them below. As always, stay safe and enjoy your training!

>> Are Concentration Curls And Preacher Curls The Same

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