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Single-Leg Cable Curls

By RealJock Staff

This exercise provided courtesy of Mike Clausen, founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006.

A cable curl is an excellent resistance exercise for targeted bicep work; a cable curl on one leg is a core exercise you won’t soon forget. You’ll need to work to maintain your balance—but don’t hold your breath.

Muscles Worked
Biceps, Core

Starting Position
Stand facing a cable machine and attach a single handle to the cable on the lowest setting. Take the handle in your right hand, with your arm extended downward, your palm facing away from you, your elbow soft (not locked), and your upper arm close to your body. Try to keep your elbow slightly in front of the midline of your hip throughout the exercise. Now bend your left knee to bring your left foot off the floor; use your hamstring to hold that foot up and back (see Photo 1).


  1. From the starting position, bend your elbow to curl your hand up toward your upper arm. Start the upward motion of the curl with a slight scooping motion to engage the muscle. Keep your elbow down as you do so, and do not let your upper arm swing; it should stay perfectly still throughout the exercise. Curl all the way up to full flexion (see Photos 2 and 3).
  2. Do not pause at the top of your motion. Immediately begin lowering your arm back to the starting position to complete the curl. Do not pause at the bottom of the curl; instead, move immediately into your next rep. Because you do not pause at the top or the bottom of the exercise, you will also force your core to work harder to stabilize you against the motion of your arm (see Photo 4).
  3. Repeat a full set of curls with your right arm, and then switch the cable to the left hand and switch holding the right foot raised for the second set.
About Mike Clausen: Clausen is the founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006. He has been actively involved in sports and weightlifting since high school, and continues to use that knowledge when training his clients. Clausen is both A.C.E. and N.A.S.M. certified and has been training clients professionally for six years. He enjoys making his clients stronger, both physically and mentally, giving them the tools to create an efficient body and to do things they thought were not possible.