The spider curl offers excellent variety on the many ways of working out the biceps. Poking about on Youtube, I often found reference to this being a good for working with lighter weights. Well, this has to be partly because it is harder to cheat at this exercise – the position of the body stabilises the back, after all. Also the weight or the dumbbell or barbell naturally tends to go all the way down, and, I can assure you, it feels an awful long way back up.
Knees on or off the bench?
Doesn’t really matter. Whichever feels more comfortable. (This is not the most comfortable exercise in the book!) If the feet are on the floor, then take them reasonably wide. The most important thing is to be able to concentrate upon squeezing those biceps and not worrying about wobbling about or the chest feeling crushed.
The height of the bench.
Hip height is good. But quite frankly, I would vary the height. The more variety the less the boredom and the better the results.
Speed of movement and number of reps.
Such in the nature of this exercise, that it could be done as a final single set, completely destroying the biceps. This happens at the end of an intense biceps workout, and you basically follow the horrors of AMRAP. As Many Reps As Possible. Then cry. If, however, it forms part of an arm workout routine, biceps suit lower reps – up to about 8 reps.
It is generally better to lower the weight at either the same speed as it went up or slower. All to frequently, the lowering part of an exercise is neglected. So at the top of the movement in this exercise, a considerable squeeze should be felt in the biceps. Hang onto that feeling as you lower the weight. And be ready to pose newly bulging biceps afterwards.
Ways of cheating.
Four ways: 1) Moving the elbows forwards as the weight goes up. This engages the shoulders, so reduces the effect on the biceps and leads to weedier arms. 2) Not going all the way down. 3) Curling the wrists. For a little extra, try cocking the wrists back. Ouch. 4) Arching the back. This can still happen if the brain is completely disengaged.
A controversial point. Should you raise the chin, keep the head in line with the body or have the chin slightly tucked? Experimentation would be interesting. Or you could try looking straight down, keeping the head in line with the body but following the weight with the eyes only.