How To Do Waiter Curls Properly

The waiter curls were popularised by Jeff Cavaliere, a physical therapist and strength coach as a very effective way of working the long head of the biceps muscles.

Did you know that your biceps muscles have a lot more growth potential than how they currently are? Well. If your answer is no, then you are not alone.

Exercise experts have pointed out that most people are not aware of the growth potential of their biceps muscles.

Well, these muscles can grow immensely, especially when there is a particular bicep head that is underdeveloped.

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This is why we have the waiter curls. These curls were popularised by Jeff Cavaliere, a physical therapist and strength coach as a very effective way of working the long head of the biceps muscles.

It is able to hit this head due to the close grip that one uses on the dumbbell.

Putting more focus on this part of the biceps will enable them to look more peaked, especially when viewed from behind and in a flexed position.

Read on to learn more about this variation of the bicep curls including how to perform it in the right form, its benefits, alternatives, and common mistakes to stay clear of.


Below is a simple guide that will take you through performing this exercise in the right form.

You will require dumbbells for your main weight.

How To Do Waiter Curls
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Start by cupping one end of a moderately heavy dumbbell with the both of your hands and position it in front of your thighs.

While keeping your elbows still, proceed to curl the weight towards your chest.

Be sure that the top end of the dumbbell remains straight at all times throughout this exercise.

At the top of the rep, contract your biceps forcefully. Slowly lower the weight down until you feel your arms almost locking out. This is one rep. repeat for the desired number of reps.


Stay clear of these common mistakes in order to get the most out of this amazing exercise.


Avoid rocking back and forth in order to curl the dumbbell up as this will employ momentum throughout the exercise.


Avoid doing the movements halfway. Ensure that you engage through the entire range of motion of the exercise. Failure to do this will reduce the amount of impact the exercise has on the target muscles.


Arching the back is another common mistake of the waiter curls, which can lead to too much stress on the spine.

Always aim to keep your body upright throughout the exercise, or, for efficiency’s sake, you are allowed to lean slightly forward at the top as this will facilitate the best muscle contraction.


You are advised to avoid lifting your elbows forward during this exercise as this will divert the attention of the exercise to your deltoids instead.


The waiter curls are an isolation exercise because they involve movements in one joint. However, this does not stop it from working more than one upper and lower arm muscles.

This exercise hits the following main muscles.


Commonly known as just the biceps, this is probably the most known muscle of the entire body. It is located on the front of your upper arm and serves to flex both your elbow and shoulder joint.

Additionally, the biceps are responsible for the supination of the forearm.

Its name, Biceps Brachii means that is composed of two separate origin sites and a single insertion.

Of these heads, that is, the long and short heads, the waiter curls focuses on the long head.


The brachialis lies just under the biceps brachialis and are mostly out of sight. However, it plays a critical role in the size and strength of your upper arm.

Additionally, it also helps to push your biceps up to make them appear bigger or larger.

In this exercise, the brachialis facilitates flexion of the elbow joint.


Located in the lower arm, this muscle is also responsible for the flexion of the elbow joint.

Additionally, it is also involved in the supination of the forearm. When well developed, these muscles will give you thicker and more muscular forearms.


The following are the benefits to enjoy if you perform this exercise consistently and with proper form.


As mentioned earlier, the waiter curls will focus on the long head of the biceps because of the narrow grip one uses while holding the dumbbell.

This will eventually result in a bigger and more prominent bicep peak which will enhance the overall aesthetics of your upper arms.

Before you start performing the waiter curls, look at your flexed biceps from behind and look at them again 6-12 weeks into this exercise.

If your long head is lagging, the most likely you will find your peak a little bit taller during this time.


Waiter curls will make your biceps burn because they will produce very potent peak contractions.

This is a unique characteristic of the exercise as most exercises will not offer contractions of such intensity.

While you are also free to perform this exercise as a mass builder, it is advisable that you perform them as a finishing exercise because of its ability to produce a powerful pump.


Unlike other exercises that require complex equipment to perform, this exercise is highly convenient as the only equipment required is a dumbbell.

Additionally, it requires a small space since it doesn’t require many or complex movements.



This alternative is suitable in circumstances where you want to work your biceps but can’t access either the barbells or the dumbbells.

This is because this exercise uses plates to work the long head of the biceps.


This alternative works the same muscles as the waiter curls and is also great for general forearm strength and size.


Waiter curls are a simple yet challenging exercise. With only a dumbbell and the desire to improve your biceps, you can perform the exercise anywhere at any time.