Five reasons why bayesian curls are a must if you want to grow your biceps

If hypertrophy is your goal, then the bayesian curl is the exercise you need

Man doing bayesian curls
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Despite the bicep not being the largest muscle in your arm (triceps take that trophy), everyone loves training them. There’s almost a 100% chance you’ve probably got some sort of curl variation scheduled into your training on your quest to beef up your biceps, using either a pair of dumbbells or a barbell. But a curl variation you may not be familiar with, causing you to leave serious gains on the table, is the bayesian curl.

Unlike a traditional dumbbell curl, the bayesian curl is a bicep curl performed using a cable machine, but instead of facing the machine your back is turned away from it. It’s one of the best exercises to grow your biceps, but the chances that you’re actually doing it is likely slim. 

It mainly targets the biceps brachii, as well as the brachioradialis muscles (muscle in the forearm) and branchialis (muscle that flexes your elbow). Plus, it can help with grip strength too. If hypertrophy is your goal, it's a no-brainer, the bayesian curl is exactly what you need to pack on more size or break out of a plateau. Here's five reasons you need to add it to pull days.

1. Its an easy (but effective) exercise

The bayesian curl isn’t complicated to perform, so whether you’re a newbie to strength training or a long time gym rat, it’s suitable for all levels of fitness. Not only that, but cable machines are a lot more beginner-friendly too and have a much lower risk of injury, as opposed to using free weights. 

2. They’re great for hypertrophy

Using the cable machine for this curl variation places your muscles under constant tension through its lengthened position, whereas when you use a pair of dumbbells to perform a bicep curl this often gets neglected. As your muscles are under constant tension throughout the movement they're forced to work harder, which is key for muscle growth and getting stronger.  

3. Reduces the likelihood of imbalances

Bayesian curls are a unilateral exercise (where you work one limb at a time), so you're working each arm independently. The benefit of this is that you’ll help your biceps develop equally in size and strength. Whereas if you performed a bicep curl using a barbell (a bilateral movement that works both arms at the same time), imbalances are more likely to go unnoticed. 

4. Amazing mind-muscle connection

Due to the starting position of the bayesian curl your biceps are placed under tension right from the beginning of the exercise, as your arm is pulled behind your back. This isn’t the case for a lot of other curl variations. This provides a better opportunity for mind-muscle connection, which means better muscle contraction and more growth. 

5. They work your core too

Just like resistance bands, cable machines can feel a little unsteady when you first use them, especially with bayesian curls where you start with your arm behind you. This means you have to work extra hard to maintain your form and stay stable while curling and, to help you do that, your core will be activated the entire time to keep you steady.

Bryony Firth-Bernard
Staff Writer, Active

Bryony’s T3’s official ‘gym-bunny’ and Active Staff Writer, covering all things fitness. In her spare time, you will find her in her natural habitat - the gym - where her style of training is a hybrid of bodybuilding and powerlifting. Bryony loves writing about accessible workouts, nutrition and testing innovative fitness products that help you reach your fitness goals and take your training to the next level.