Hitting the Biceps with Guillotine High Cable Curls

Barbell and dumbbell curls may play pivotal part in creating the basis of your training program for building upper arm mass. By allowing you to lift a lot of weight these two effective exercises target most of the muscle fibers with each contraction.

Yet, if you want to be sure that you’re engaging both biceps heads, and that you’re building up your stamina and hardness in the upper part of your upper arm, you need to hit this area more directly.

In this respect, probably no exercise can match the guillotine high cable curls. Hitting both the long head and the short head with brute force, this exercise is perfect to finish off your biceps at the end of your workout.


The biceps is a two headed muscle. The long and the short head converge to form a single muscle which at the lower end is attached to the upper forearm at the radius bone. The long head ends just below the shoulder joint on the supraglenoid tubercle. The tendon of the short head runs along the medial side of the arm. It is connected to upper part of the scapula at the coracoid process.

Both heads join together to extend along the humerus bone forming a single muscle belly. Although the biceps is connected both to the shoulder and to the elbow it mainly activates the latter. The contractions of the biceps pivots the radius bone and provide both supination of the forearm, and flexion at the elbow needed for pulling movement.


Unlike the biceps exercises which require to keep your arms parallel to the torso, the guillotine curls put your arms in a perpendicular position in respect to your torso.  While with the standard exercises the resistance is reduced as the hands approach the chest, by flexing your shoulders, i.e. keeping your arms slightly in front of the torso, you add to the resistance when you pull the cable towards your body.


guillotine cable curl

1. Although this exercise can be also performed with a short straight bar, using an EZ bar makes it more comfortable for the wrists.  You attach the EZ bar at the end of the high pulley station. Position the bench under the high pulley so that one end is just under the EZ bar.

2. Make sure that the bench is flat. Assume the starting position by grabbing the bar with traditional curl grip. Keep your arms in a straight angle with the floor, flexing your shoulders slightly inward. Make sure that the cable is projecting straight to the pulley.

3. Slowly start pulling on the bar towards your chin by flexing your arms at the elbow. Make sure that you’re not opening your arms when you perform this movement.

4. When you are in the top position apply isometric contraction. Hold the contraction for two seconds, squeezing the biceps in recruiting all the muscle fibers.

5. Bring back your arms in the starting position with controlled movement.