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Overhead Cable Curl Exercise Guide (Step-by-Step)

Updated: Aug 10, 2023

Muscles Worked: Biceps

Equipment Needed: Cable Machine

Difficulty: Intermediate

The overhead cable curl (also known as the crucifix curl) is a biceps exercise done between two cable stacks using a pair of handles.

Throughout the exercise, the arms and elbows are kept at shoulder height, and both hands curl in toward the ears.

This stance is meant to target the biceps peak while removing shoulder involvement and momentum.

As part of arm-focused training, this action is often performed for moderate to high repetitions, such as 8-12 reps per set or more.


How to Do the Overhead Cable

  • Set a suitable weight on either side of the pulley machine to begin. Make sure the amount of weight chosen on each side is the same.

  • Now adjust the height of the pulleys on either side to a height that is higher than your shoulders.

  • Grab each handle with an underhand hold (palms towards the ceiling) while standing in the centre of both sides. Your arms should be completely extended and parallel to the ground, and your feet should be at shoulder width apart. The handles should be equally aligned with your body. This is where you'll begin the rep.

  • Squeeze your biceps on each side gently while inhaling until your forearms and biceps contact.

  • Return your forearms to the beginning position while breathing. Except for the forearms, you must keep your complete body still throughout this exercise.

  • Repeat for the number of repetitions of your desire.

Note: If you don't have access to two opposite cable machines, you can do this exercise with one arm at a time too.


The overhead cable curl has the unique advantage of isolating the biceps muscle from the shoulder, making this easier to get a good pump.

Also, throughout the movement, even at peak contraction, the wire maintains continuous tension, creating a great dynamic for this exercise.

Combining these will results in a great bicep workouts, both from a pump and a muscle growth standpoint.


There are a couple of major variations of the overhead bicep curl.

  • Single arm overhead cable curl

  • Seated overhead cable curl

Single-Arm Overhead Cable Curl

The single-arm overhead curl is essentially the same exercise as the regular version, except you only use one arm.

To do this variation, follow the same process as the normal double-arm overhead cable curl, as outlined further up, but only use one arm.

one arm overhead cable curl

Seated Overhead Cable Curl

The seated overhead cable curl is similar to the regular version, except you are seated on a bench, this may enhance the feel of the bicep during this exercise for some people.

seated overhead cable curl


The information provided in this article is not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the guidance of a physician or other competent professional before following advice or taking any supplement. See our terms and conditions.

1 Comment

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