Jay Cutler’s 3 Favorite Dumbbell Biceps Exercises

Well-developed biceps offer more than just an aesthetic boost; they enhance functionality and upper body strength. Building jacked arms doesn’t require high-tech training equipment. Four-time Mr. Olympia champion Jay Cutler, renowned for his 22.5-inch biceps, swears by three simple dumbbell exercises to maximize biceps hypertrophy.

These three exercises will give you the most beneficial workout and the biggest arms in the gym.

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Jay Cutler’s Favorite Biceps Dumbbell Exercises

Seated Alternating Dumbbell Curl

Single-Arm Dumbbell Preacher Curl

Dumbbell Concentration Curl

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1. Seated Alternating Dumbbell Curl

Cutler often alternates arms during dumbbell curls but occasionally completes all reps on one side before switching. According to a Journal of Sports Science & Medicine study, dumbbell biceps curls offer maximal muscle stimulation throughout the elbow’s range of motion, resulting in optimal biceps hypertrophy and strength gains. (1)

The 50-year-old Cutler admits to using subtle momentum by swinging his torso to complete 12 repetitions. However, he prioritizes peak contraction on each rep to maximize muscle tissue growth. (2)

2. Single-Arm Dumbbell Preacher Curl

Cutler explains that the preacher bench facilitates full elbow flexion and extension, enabling peak biceps contraction at the movement’s top.

In this exercise, you can really isolate the biceps and hit all the muscle fibers.

A 2023 study found that preacher curls at longer muscle lengths (bottom half of the range of motion (ROM)) may promote more significant muscle growth in the distal biceps region. (3)

3. Dumbbell Concentration Curl

Cutler performs dumbbell concentration curls seated, resting his elbow against the knee. He emphasizes achieving a full ROM, with the elbow fully extended at the bottom and above 90 degrees at the top, to maximize biceps brachii activation. 

[Full range of motion] is very important to get that deep stretch and peak contraction.

Cutler’s leaned-over position during concentration curls eliminates momentum, ensuring the stimulus is loaded wholly on the biceps. This aligns with research published in the Sports (Basel) journal, which suggests that training in the initial ROM in curling exercises promotes greater muscle adaptations than focusing on the top half. (4)

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Oliveira, L. F., Matta, T. T., Alves, D. S., Garcia, M. A., & Vieira, T. M. (2009). Effect of the shoulder position on the biceps brachii emg in different dumbbell curls. Journal of sports science & medicine, 8(1), 24–29.

Schoenfeld BJ, Grgic J, Van Every DW, Plotkin DL. Loading Recommendations for Muscle Strength, Hypertrophy, and Local Endurance: A Re-Examination of the Repetition Continuum. Sports (Basel). 2021;9(2):32. Published 2021 Feb 22. doi:10.3390/sports9020032

Zabaleta-Korta A, Fernández-Peña E, Torres-Unda J, Francés M, Zubillaga A, Santos-Concejero J. Regional Hypertrophy: The Effect of Exercises at Long and Short Muscle Lengths in Recreationally Trained Women. J Hum Kinet. 2023;87:259-270. Published 2023 Jul 15. doi:10.5114/jhk/163561

Pedrosa, G. F., Simões, M. G., Figueiredo, M. O. C., Lacerda, L. T., Schoenfeld, B. J., Lima, F. V., Chagas, M. H., & Diniz, R. C. R. (2023). Training in the Initial Range of Motion Promotes Greater Muscle Adaptations Than at Final in the Arm Curl. Sports (Basel, Switzerland), 11(2), 39. https://doi.org/10.3390/sports11020039

Featured image: @jaycutler on Instagram

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