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Concentration Curls vs Spider Curls: Which Exercise Is Better?

Finding the right exercises for your arm workouts can be challenging as there are so many to choose from.

Two great arm exercises are concentration curls and spider curls, but is one better than the other?

Well, that’s exactly what you’re about to find out!

That’s right – in this article, we compare concentration curls and spider curls to see which one is better suited to your training program.

Factors such as difficulty, accessibility, and variability will be looked at and compared to see which one comes out as the winner.


Let’s get started.

What’s The Difference Between Concentration Curls And Spider Curls?

In terms of appearance, there are some obvious differences between concentration curls and spider curls.

Concentration curls are performed sitting down on a bench with a dumbbell being lifted by one arm between your legs.

Spider curls are performed by laying your chest on an incline bench and curling dumbbells from behind the bench.

Spider curls have a greater range of movement than concentration curls, so they place your working muscles under tension for a bit longer.

Which Is Better For Building Biceps?

If you’re looking to increase the size of your bicep peak, then concentration curls are a better choice than spider curls.

Concentration curls isolate the long head of your bicep which is responsible for building your bicep peak.

Spider curls work both heads of your bicep, as well as bringing some other arm muscles into the movement.

While spider curls definitely help build biceps, you might get faster results by doing concentration curls instead.

Which Is Better For Building Forearms?

As concentration curls pretty much isolate your biceps, they aren’t particularly good at building any other muscle groups.

Spider curls, although primarily a biceps exercise, do a good job of bringing some other muscles into the movement such as your shoulders, triceps, and forearms.

That’s why, of the two, spider curls will be better for building forearms when compared to concentration curls.

Difficulty Level

Concentration Curls

Concentration curls, as a movement, have a low difficulty level.

That’s not to say they are an easy exercise though as they certainly challenge the working muscles.

The main difficulty comes from the technique involved as it puts you in a position that can be uncomfortable for some people.

You need to be mindful of your lower back when getting yourself into the seated bent-over position needed for the exercise.

Spider Curls

Spider curls have a moderate level of difficulty.

This is mainly because the exercise puts your biceps into a weak position before lifting the weights.

The range of movement is also quite large in spider curls, meaning your muscles are working against gravity for more time.

The Verdict

Spider curls are slightly harder than concentration curls. 

As they put your biceps in a weaker position, have a greater range of motion, and can be somewhat awkward to perform correctly, they have a higher level of difficulty than concentration curls.

Ease of Access

Concentration Curls

You only need a single dumbbell and a bench to sit on to perform concentration curls.

If a bench isn’t available, then a chair or similar could be used as a viable alternative.

This gives concentration curls great accessibility as everything you need is usually readily available when you need it.

Spider Curls

To add spider curls into your arm workout, you’ll need some dumbbells and an incline bench.

Both of these are common in most gyms so you shouldn’t have too many issues with performing spider curls.

That said, incline benches are often being used by other gym members, so you may have to wait until one becomes available before you can do spider curls.

The Verdict

Concentration curls have greater ease of access than spider curls.

This is mainly because, other than a dumbbell, you only need a suitable place to sit to perform them effectively. 

Spider curls require dumbbells and an incline bench to get you into the correct position.

Access to a bench may cause a few issues if the gym you train at is busy and all the benches are taken.


Concentration Curls

There aren’t many variations available when it comes to concentration curls.

As they put your biceps into an isolated position, any changes tend to bring in additional muscles. 

That being said, you can do concentration curls in a stood-up bent-over position as opposed to the standard seated bent-over position.

This can put added stress on your lower back though so it may not be suitable for everyone.

Spider Curls

Spider curls are a somewhat adaptable and versatile exercise.

While they don’t offer a huge amount of variability, you do have some options for mixing things up.

Changing from dumbbells to a barbell or even an EZ bar can help work your arms in a slightly different way, as well as keeping your workouts interesting and enjoyable.

The Verdict

Spider curls have better levels of variability than concentration curls.

Concentration curls are all about isolating your biceps, so as soon as you start changing the position or trying to adapt the movement, they lose some of their effectiveness as a bicep-building exercise.

Spider curls are a more freely moving exercise that gives you a bit more room for variability.

Changing the gym equipment you use for the exercise is an easy way to add variation to your workout.

Concentration Curls vs Spider Curls: Which Is Better?

Both concentration curls and spider curls are effective additions to your arm workouts.

Ultimately, your fitness levels, goals and personal preferences will have the biggest impact on whether one is better for you than the other.

If you want an exercise that isolates your biceps, has a low difficulty level, and good accessibility, then concentration curls might be better for you.

If you are looking for an exercise that brings in a few more arm muscles, is a bit more challenging, and offers a few variations, then spider curls could be a better choice.


Concentration Curls Muscles Worked

Spider Curls Muscles Worked