If big, strong biceps is your goal, you should really focus on exercises which are super challenging.
While bicep curls serve their purpose, the truth is that there are harder bicep exercises out there.
If you’re reading this article, then I bet my bottom dollar that you’re wondering whether spider curls is one of these exercises.
Well, fear not.
Because in this article, we look at whether spider curls are harder than bicep curls.
We also look at reasons why they might be harder, who they’re best suited for, as well as adaptations to make them even more challenging for your biceps.
Are Spider Curls Harder Than Bicep Curls?
Spider curls are harder than bicep curls for 3 main reasons:
- They isolate your biceps better
- Momentum is removed
- They focus on your short head
Let’s see why these factors make them a more difficult exercise.
Spider curls also isolate your biceps more than bicep curls.
The lying position prevents you from generating momentum through swinging or arching your back.
All of these factors combined make spider curls harder than bicep curls.
Why Spider Curls Are Harder Than Bicep Curls
More Isolation Of Your Biceps
Although spider curls are not a full isolation exercise, they isolate your biceps more than standard bicep curls do.
When any working muscle is isolated, it means that no other muscle can assist in the movement.
In other words, the bicep has to do pretty much all the work.
(Compare this to bicep curls where there’s a lot more forearm involvement.)
Momentum Is Removed
When performing spider curls, you’re lying face down on an incline bench.
In other words, you’re in a fixed position.
This means it’s much harder to generate momentum to assist in the movement.
(With bicep curls, you can sort of “cheat” by swinging your core as your curling to generate momentum, making the lift easier.)
Targets The Short Head Of Your Biceps
Spider curls put more focus on the short head of your biceps.
Standard bicep curls tend to bring in both heads to some extent.
If one head has to work on its own, the exercise will be more challenging than if both were working together.
Are Spider Curls Suitable For Beginners?
Spider curls can be suitable for beginners but care needs to be taken to ensure the correct technique is used throughout the movement (as shown below).
The movement required is flexion of the elbow.
As this is a basic physiological movement, most people should be able to perform it with little issue.
The problem will be whether a beginner is able to accurately select the right weight to lift, and whether they fully understand the technique used.
Also, some people believe that beginners are better off focusing on compound exercises. In which case, you may want to focus on exercises like pull-ups.
How To Make Spider Curls Harder
Spider curls can be made more challenging by lifting a heavier weight, performing more reps, or changing the order of the exercises in your workout so they’re performed later on in the session.
Adding weight to spider curls should be done gradually, so it may be more beneficial (and suitable) to increase the number of reps you do before looking to increase the weight.
Are Spider Curls Better Than Bicep Curls?
Deciding whether spider curls are better than bicep curls will come down to several considerations.
If you want a more challenging bicep exercise that isolates your biceps a little more (in particular the width-adding short head), then spider curls could be better than bicep curls.
If you would rather perform an arm exercise where more weight can be lifted with more muscles coming into play throughout the movement, then bicep curls might be better for you.
Ultimately, deciding whether spider curls are better than bicep curls will likely come down to your experience in the gym, your fitness goals, and your personal preferences between the two exercises.
How To Do Spider Curls Properly
I’ve been in the fitness and strength training industry for nearly a decade. In that time, I’ve gained 30 pounds of muscle, written hundreds of articles, and reviewed dozens of fitness supplements. As for my educational background, I’m a currently studying for my Active IQ Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training.