Drag Curl Exercise – 5 Min Guide For Bigger & Thicker Biceps

drag curls

Drag curl, like any bicep curl, majorly focuses biceps brachii muscles. Most people believe a curl to be a curl regardless of how you do it. It is true to some degree but not for most, as there are certain variations of a curl that has their benefits. Drag curl exercise is an example of such variation that will minimize your efforts and ensure you’re providing enough force growth into your body. While a drag curl may be less popular than a regular old bicep curl, it is a great way to improve your arm size, appearance, and strength.

Primarily the muscles that are worked by the drag curls are first your bicep brachii, this bicep includes two heads a long and a short head. Both of them work together as a unit during a drag curl lifting and pulling motion. The second is your brachialis, this muscle lies beneath the branch in your biceps. This one can activate the brachioradialis, the most vital muscle of your forearm. Drag curls are also useful in working your abs and back muscles.

Drag Curl

Technique For Drag Curl Exercise:-

Requirement : A Barbell rod or EZ bar along with some weights.

1. Stand holding a barbell or EZ bar with your palms up, preferably with a supinated grip, your hands should be your shoulder’s width apart and your bars shall be resting across the top of your thighs

2. Make sure to keep your chest up and head straight with your eyes focused in front of you.

3. Pull back your elbows and forcefully contract your biceps and start dragging the bar up to your torso towards your shoulder.

4. Compete for the pull at upper abs level or chest level if you can, with two- count squeeze of your biceps.

5. Then slowly lower the bar in the same way, and return to the first position.

6. Repeat these steps to your desired no. of reps.

ALSO READ: How To Do A Dumbbell Front Raise (5 Minute Guide)

Common Mistakes While Doing Drag Curl Exercise

1. Do not bring your elbows forward as you do drag curl Exercise. This is the most commonly performed mistake by many people. Your elbows should be moving up and back rather than forward during the curl motion. If you bring your elbows forward it will give unnecessary tension in your elbows and shoulders which will not help you either and will cause you to get drained out faster. So make sure to keep the elbows back to keep the tension on your biceps.

2. It is seen far too often that weight lifters try swinging their arms and try to use momentum to lift the barbell. However, this only happens when people try to lift too much heavyweight. Lift only lightweight first and focus on perfecting your posture. Focusing on your mind-muscle will increase the gain while reducing the risk of injury.

3. Do not try to rush your motion either. Most people are guilty of this as well. They are focusing on bringing the barbell curl up in a controlled manner, but then they let the drag curl go down very quickly. This is an unsafe method to perform this exercise, and it will steal gains that are made during the upward motion of the drag curl. Instead, try curling the rod up and down in a smooth constant and slow motion. This will increase your time under the tension and maximize the benefits you are gaining from it.

Benefits of Drag Curl Exercise:-

1. Strength and Size Grains

As your biceps are optimally targeted at the top of each of your reps. It helps to strengthen the biceps muscle to increase your biceps hypertrophy. Growing your bicep muscle doesn’t only come with a flex (pun intended), it also improves your ability to perform other exercises at the gym(such as barbell row or the lat pull down) The barbell drag can get extensive and intense bicep exercise nonetheless.

2. Reduced Risk of Injury

You may suffer from shoulder pain or instability while doing the regular bicep curls, mainly due to the front deltoid activates to supply stability during a curling motion. However, you may not find such a case with the dead curls as they eliminate the need for any kind of quintessential deltoid activation. So there is a lower risk of injuring your shoulders without having to compromise bigger biceps.

3. Improves Aesthetics

For all those gym enthusiasts, the first dream of there has to be better-looking arms that they can flex. Depending on your goal in this arena, you can use Drag curls can provide bigger, toned and defined muscle. A drag curl exercise comes with the bonus of being simple and without causing too much exertion while providing an improved appearance, and it’s suitable for all body types.

Variants Of Drag Curl Exercise

Arm Kettlebell Drag Curl Exercise:

You can train your biceps individually with this variation. You can use a 1-arm kettlebell drag curl to correct the imbalance between your two arms. Grab the kettle bell with your palm facing up and forward. Make sure to keep your core tight to perform drag curl exercise with the same barbell variation.

Drag curl hold:

This is a simple holding variation of the drag curl, just simply curl upwards and hold the drag curl in this position for two to five seconds. Squeeze your muscles hard and let them go, then come back to the initial position. Repeat the process while keeping the maintaining the same posture. This variation increases the period of tension during the curling exercise.

Cable drag curls:

If you don’t have access to barbells or dumbbells in your gym while someone is occupying them. Remember, cables are also a great alternative and you can load this variation pretty heavy as well. You can lean back a little as well, and you get a bonus option if various handles and attachments.

Reverse grip drag curl:

These variations might be the simplest. You just have to modify your technique a little bit. Just hold the barbell bars with palm down, instead of up and then continue doing the curling motion.

Smith Machine Drag Curl Exercise:-

Another great alternative, Smith Machine is a weight machine, used for weight training. It consists of a barbell that is fixed within steel rails allowing only vertical or near-vertical movements. The fixed path guarantees perfect form.

Reverse or Hammer-Grip Drag Curls 

For this variation start with something with a lighter weight. For this reverse curl variation to be able to maintain a strong and neutral wrist, as well to prevent any discomfort or pain in your wrists. Using a reverse or hammer grip will activate your brachialis/brachioradialis muscle while maximizing their development as well. You can also try out this variation in a machine if you find one, that will allow you to do drag curls. Try it out.

Hammer curl

Dumbbell Drag Curl:

Dumbbells drag curls are an extremely popular Marion of drag curls and a convenient instrument for muscular development. One of its major assets is you can stay seated or even incline in a bench which will emphasize the long head, it will provide a greater stretch in the biceps. They give access to a more free range of movement, and it’s easier to identify if you have any left-to-right imbalances and correct it with extra reps on the other side.

Hammer curl
ALSO READ: 10 Effective Cable Machine Workouts ( Full Body Workout)

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the point of drag Curl?

Drag curls are one of the variations which you can utilise to overload your biceps in a few different ways. Firstly, it takes a lot of shoulders out from the exercise by removing the deltoid involvement while making sure the gain is on the biceps primarily. Secondly, it allows you to pull more weight for some time and then continue your regular sets. Drag curls might be the best exercise to increase the bicep size and give them a more toned appearance.

How should I do drag curl?

Hold a straight barbell or EZ curl bar. Your elbows must be extended and keep dragging the rod up in front of your body until the elbows are fully bent at a level. Pull back your arms as you lift. As the bar must remain in contact with your body all the time. Due to the strict moment required in a drag curl, you may not be able to hold the same weight initially as you do in a regular curl. But make this drag curl your primary exercise in your gym for a month or two. While using only three to four sets of eight to twelve reps.

Are drag curls better than bicep curls?

Both of them come in various sizes and weights, however, as drag curl focuses more on the bicep arena and lets the deltoid muscles rest, unlike bicep curls. There is a plus point here. Also, at certain times, drag curls have the option for heavier weights hence the progress is quicker. Even though a bicep curl is often much more popular among gym enthusiasts than a drag curl. That’s another plus point since you won’t see people hogging the instrument often and If you want to focus on increasing your bicep size faster and safely go for drag curl


A key aspect of fitness training is adaption and that’s why including diversity in working up your muscles (like biceps) can work wonders if you allow yourself to explore the beneficial techniques for growth and strength. If your aim is nice looking and strong arms, it is essential to follow different arm exercises. Drag curl Exercise is a relatively unpopular, but very effective set of exercises. If performed with perfect form and control, this exercise helps in bigger muscle gains quite effortlessly.

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