Great biceps come in two styles: those with sharp peaks when flexed and those that, while peak-free, seem to spring out of the forearms. In the ’60s, Larry Scott was so celebrated for the latter type that a popular exercise was renamed after him. Preacher curls are so named because the bench they’re performed on resembles a slanted pulpit. When it became known that Scott did most of his curling on such a bench, preacher curls were popularly called Scott curls.

Scott’s Career Highlights

  • 1962 Mr. America
  • 1964 Mr. Universe
  • 1965 and 1966 Mr. Olympia

The shape of the original Mr. O’s bis was mostly determined by genetics, but because he spent so much time “preachering,” the myth grew that Scott curls could elongate the bis. While preacher curls—or Scott curls—won’t change your DNA, they will lock your arms in place to create tension for the full range of motion. Try Scott’s classic routine, shown at right.

Preacher Curl Tip Sheet

“Preachers” can also be done with a variety of grips, including hammer (palms facing) and reverse (palms down)—both of which target the brachialis more.

You can do preacher curls with a barbell, an eZ-curl bar, two dumbbells, one dumbbell, a cable with a D-handle, or a cable with a bar. most gyms also have a machine that approximates preacher curls.

To work your bis from a different angle, do spider curls—turn your body around so you’re performing the move with your triceps against the horizontal side of the preacher bench. Keep your triceps against the bench throughout the set and get a full range of motion on each rep.

Scott’s Biceps Routine

Exercise Sets Reps
Two-dumbbell Preacher Curl 6 6-8
-superset with-Barbell Preacher Curl 6 6-8
Barbell Reverse Curl 6 8-10