WHEN TO GO IN: The high cable curl is a very strict exercise and difficult to cheat on. You will be limited in the amount of weight you can use, so do heavier exercises such as barbell and dumbbell curls first, thus maximizing the overload placed on the biceps. When the biceps are fatigued, finish with the high cable curl.
As the “bi” implies, each biceps has two heads: the long head, which is the outer half of the muscle and makes up the majority of the peak; and the short head, which makes up the inner half and provides thickness. Thicker biceps are more impressive from the front when relaxed and provide that baseball shape on the inner side of the arm when flexed. A great exercise that targets this head is the high cable curl. Stand in the middle of a cable crossover station and hold two D-handles attached to the high pulleys with an underhand grip while holding your arms straight out to your sides. Your body should form a T. Moving just at the elbows, curl the handles toward your shoulders, as in a front double-biceps pose. Hold the finish position for a second as you flex your biceps hard and then slowly return the handles to the start position and repeat.
FORM AND FUNCTION: The long head of the biceps originates on the back of the scapula (shoulder blade); the short head originates on the front of the scapula. Both heads converge onto the same tendon, which attaches to the ulna and radius (forearm bones) to flex the elbow, as in barbell curls, as well as to supinate the forearm (turn out), as in supinating dumbbell curls. Any time you move your arms in front of your body or out to your sides when doing curls, you emphasize the short head more.