When it comes to strengthening your biceps brachii muscle, one movement that always makes the list is the spider curl exercise. This workout is an excellent bicep blaster that can help you develop fuller, more pumped upper arms, and body. However, this workout is not for everyone, especially if you’re working out at home. Spider curls are only possible if you have a spider curl bench.

In addition, this exercise can load a lot of pressure on your sternum if you’re lifting heavier weights since you need to press your chest against the backrest of the bench. It’s essential for you to do it this way so you can execute the movement in the correct form. However, some people find this uncomfortable.

Fortunately, there are many spider curl alternatives that you can do, which can still give you the same results without the uncomfortable feeling. Here are our ten substitute recommendations!

Spider Curl Alternatives (Our 10 Recommendations)

The spider curl alternatives that you’ll see in this list are all capable of improving the size and strength of your biceps. So, if you’re ready to blast your arms and pump your upper body muscles, try these 10 substitutes to spider curls!

1. Chair Preacher Curl

This spider curl alternative exercise will enable you to experience a spider-like curl at home without any specialized equipment. All you need to do is make an ad hoc preacher bench from a chair! With this, the curling action becomes stricter and more intense. 

Chair preacher curls focus on your biceps brachii. Also, when doing this exercise, don’t go all the way down, or you’ll put yourself at risk of a muscle tear. 

How to do it

  • Stand behind the chair with a padded backrest. Grab a dumbbell in your right hand and drape your left arm over the chair’s back. Bring it down about eighty percent to full extension.
  • Curl the weight upwards to your shoulder level.
  • Bring it back down and repeat.
  • Do as many reps as you can and repeat the same number on the other side.

2. Band Hammer Curls

This next spider curl alternative puts emphasis on your brachioradialis muscles, strengthening and building your forearms. When doing a band hammer curl, ensure that you maintain a neutral position and don’t use momentum. Also, you’ll need a resistance band.

How to do it

  • Stand upright with a Resistance Band looped under your left foot. Then grab the other end with your left hand in a neutral grip (your knuckles should be facing forward).
  • Now, curl the band up and over your chest for full bicep contraction. Then bring it down to the starting position.
  • Do three sets of ten to twelve reps.

3. Smith Machine Drag Curl

Although the smith machine drag curl is a strict form of the curling exercise, it does an incredible job of isolating your biceps brachii muscles. Also, when executing smith machine drag curls, focus on the intense contraction you will get at the top position. 

How to do it

  • Set up the bar on the machine at hip height and load the suitable weight for you.
  • Stand and position your hips against the bar. Grab the bar at a shoulder-width distance with an underhand grip.
  • Lift the bar up to your body until full bicep contraction.
  • Bring the bar down and repeat.
  • Perform three sets of twelve reps.

4. EZ Bar Spider Curl

This spider curl alternative enables you to assume an angled position to focus on the outer head of the biceps. Here, you’ll need an EZ curl bar and a flat bench. Also, when doing this exercise, concentrate on the strictness of the movement and the entire isolation contraction instead of the weight you are using.

How to do it

  • Elevate the base of a Adjustable Bench so your arms will not touch the ground as you hang down from it.
  • Lie down on the bench with the EZ curl barbell in your hands. Keep your head and shoulders off the end of the bench and let your arms hang down.
  • Start with a full arm extension curl the EZ curl bar until full contraction. 
  • Bring it down and repeat.
  • Do as many reps as necessary.

5. Floor Cable Curl

Floor cable curls are an excellent spider curl alternative because they prevent you from swinging or cheating, putting all the workload on the focused muscle group. To execute this workout, you’ll need a cable pulley machine. In addition, make sure to lower your weight considerably when doing this exercise to enable you to execute the form strictly.

How to do it

  • Attach the pulley on a cable machine to the lowest setting. Lie down on the ground while facing the machine and plant your feet against it.
  • Hold the handle with both your hands using an underhand grip at full arm’s length. 
  • Curl the bar up towards your torso until chin level.
  • Bring it down to the starting position and repeat.
  • Perform three sets of eight to twelve reps.

6. Plate Curl

Compared to other exercises apart from the spider curls, this workout will let you experience a more insane biceps contraction at the top of the motion. Plate curls target your outer and inner biceps and forearms, and you’ll need a weight plate of any size for as long as you can hold it properly. Get a smaller plate if you’re having trouble getting the correct range of motion.

Aside from that, when executing this exercise, don’t bend your back or include momentum to lift the weight up.

How to do it

  • Stand upright with your arms fully extended, holding a weight plate closer than shoulder-width apart using an overhand grip.
  • Breath out and curl your arms upwards to your shoulders as you secure your upper arm by your side.
  • Continue until you cannot do so while still keeping your upper arm clipped by your side.
  • Exhale and lower the plate down, going back to the starting position.
  • Perform three sets of twelve to fifteen reps.

7. Guillotine High Cable Curl

This bicep curl variation will isolate your bicep muscles, preventing the momentum which can steal the curl’s benefits. To execute it, you’ll need a high cable pulley machine. The guillotine high cable curl aims at getting an intense contraction of the biceps brachii in the end stance of the movement. 

How to do it

  • Set a bench in front of the cable pulley machine. Adjust the pulley to your shoulder height and place a short bar handle at the end of the cable.
  • Lie down on the bench with your head positioned closely to the pulley and hold the handle above your head using an overhand grip.
  • While in a full arm extension, curl down towards your head to fully contract your biceps.
  • Reverse and repeat the movement.
  • Do three sets of eight to twelve reps.

8.Fat Grip DB Curl

This next alternative to spider curl is an excellent exercise to include in your biceps workout as it challenges you to put more focus on your forearms and brachioradialis. All you need to perform this exercise are dumbbells and fat gripz. Also, ensure that you always keep your forearms tightly contracted throughout the motion to do it in proper form.

How to do it

  • Put a pair of Fat Gripz around the handles of your dumbbells. Hold the dumbbells and keep them at arm’s length with your palms facing forward.
  • Squeeze tight as you curl the weights upward to full contraction.
  • Bring it down to the starting position and repeat.
  • Execute three sets of ten to fifteen reps.

9. Band High Curl

This workout is an excellent alternative because you can conveniently perform it at home, and it delivers a great contraction in the short head of the bicep muscle. Here, all you’ll need is a resistance band, and you’re all set! Just remember, adjust your body position to keep the band tut in the starting stance.

How to do it

  • Hook a resistance band to the top of an internal door. Stand about three feet away from the door and hold the band with both your hands using a close underhand grip. 
  • Then, curl the band from full arm extension going to full arm contraction.
  • Reverse and repeat the movement.
  • Do as many reps as you can.

10. Couch Curls

If you’re looking for a workout that will exhaust your bicep muscles like a preacher or spider curl, then couch curls are for you! With this workout, you don’t need a preacher bench or an incline bench, and you can perform it at home with only your couch and dumbbell. In addition, this exercise hits the belly of your biceps brachii muscle.

While executing couch curls, make sure that you don’t fully extend your arms to prevent any instances of muscle tear.

How to do it

  • Stand behind your couch while holding a dumbbell in both hands. Drape your arm over the backrest of the couch to keep your arms hanging.
  • Begin at an 80 percent extended arm position, then curl your arm upwards to full contraction.
  • Bring your arm down to the starting position and repeat. 
  • Perform three sets of ten to fifteen reps.


The spider curls are an excellent workout to increase the muscle mass of the outer head of the biceps. However, finding the equipment to perform this exercise is not a walk in a park. It’s not readily available in some gyms, and most often than not, you won’t have it at home. So, to ensure that you can still continue building muscle in your biceps, do these ten alternatives to spider curls instead! 

You can use this database as a reference so you can build your biceps program and achieve the chiseled upper body that you’ve always wanted. Among the ten, the top two exercises that you should not miss out on are the chair preacher curl and the band hammer curls. Both exercises will target your upper arms and give you the same range of motion as spider curls.

Frequently Asked Questions

The concentration curl is an essential bicep exercise. Since your arm is in an anchored stance, your biceps receives more stress than it usually does during a regular bicep curl. Because of this, the concentration curl increases the biceps hypertrophy and strengthens the biceps muscle.

The Zottman curl is a combination of a reverse curl and a regular curl performed with dumbbells. Begin with the dumbbells at your arm’s length with your palms facing forward. Curl both your arms together, supinating your wrist halfway through the lift, so your palms face downward at the top of the position. Reverse the movement as you go down.

Although preacher curls and spider curls are similar, they have distinct differences. When performing spider curls, the arm pad is positioned perpendicular to the floor. With preacher curls, it’s inclined at a 45-degree angle. Because of this, the spider curls engage a different part of the upper arm, enabling intense contraction to bicep muscles.

You do cheat curls when you use momentum to allow you to get a heavier weight up that you cannot do with a strict barbell curl. To execute this, you just need to add a slight hip movement to advance to the striking point of the concentric part of the rep.

If you don’t have an incline weight bench or a regular incline bench, don’t worry. You can still do spider curls using the alternatives listed above! You can use a couch and perform a couch curl or use a chair for a chair preacher curl. If you happen to have a cable machine, you can do the floor cable curl or if you have a resistance band, do a band high curl.

The spider curl workout isolates the different muscle groups in your arms. Because of this, you can build bigger biceps and target both the long head and short head of the biceps brachii muscles. Also, this exercise engages your triceps and brachialis muscles, an essential elbow flexor muscle. 

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