Cheat curl vs strict curls

cheat curls vs strict Curl : whats best for size and strength?

Last updated on October 6th, 2020 at 12:18 pm


Big and stronger arm is something every guy desire but only a few of them really develop bigger arms, reason? Because of insufficient guidance. 

Curls, curls and curls are the basic recipe to big arms, but if bodybuilding was that easy then every guy at the gym would have developer cannonball biceps. 

If you are someone who is struggling to grow arms then pay attention to every detail of this article, it will surely help you set the right path to achieve better results. 

Bodybuilding community can be divided into two groups: 

  • Group 1: Who believes in lifting heavyweight and uses cheats reps to generate explosive power.
  • Group 2: Who believes in lifting moderate weights with controlled movements. 

 As a beginner or intermediate lifter, it’s okay to get confused between choosing the right approach to develop a 20 inches arms. 

Truth is, there is no one solution fits all in bodybuilding, every physique is different, some lifters benefit from muscle isolation and see greater results with the explosive movements. 

What are Strict Curls? 

Strict curl
strict curl

Strict curls are being involved in powerlifting competitions to test the curling strength of an athlete. 

As the name suggests, strict curl is when you don’t use your body to assist you to get the rep done by following rules and proper form. Strict curl should be performed against the wall to eliminate the cheating, here are the rules to cheat curl: 

  • Lifter’s head, upper back, and butts should remain in contact with the wall for the whole time. 
  • The heels have to be less than 12-inches away from the wall.
  • Head, upper arms, and wrists can move as much as you want. 

Strict curls should be the foundation of your bicep training protocol, and you should pay emphasis on mastering strict curls to establish the mind-muscle connection that will play an important role in the long-term. 

What are cheat curls? 

arnold cheat curl

A curl is called a “cheat curl” when the lifter compromises with the proper workout form to lift heavier weight. Cheat curls have also been known as “Arnolds cheat curl” because of Arnold’s love for them to develop the mass and thickness. 

Usually, when a lifter chooses a weight that is too heavy to be completed with proper form but not heavy enough if little assistance is provided.  

Every exercise has a sticking point where our muscle is weakest, the starting position of the bicep curl is usually the weakest. So the idea behind cheat curl is to get through the sticking point of workout to get the maximum work done. 

The negative or eccentric phase of the bicep curl is usually the strongest which doesn’t really get trained because of the body’s limited ability to lift heavier weight in the concentric (flexion) phase. Including cheat curls within a training regime allows the lifter to train the eccentric phase as efficiently as concentric. 

Cheat curls can play a major role in strength building and size gains if incorporated within the workout routine in a proper way. 

Cheat curl vs strict curl 

Understanding the benefits and drawbacks of both bicep curls can help us understand the difference to a great extent. 

Cheat curl vs Strict curl for Strength: 

What kind of strength are you looking for? If you are looking for insane arm strength then strict curls will do the workout but if you are counting on overall strength then a cheat curl will be the best. 

From my point of view, cheat curls have some real-world application, have you seen a boxer throwing slow and controlled punches? Have you seen a high jumper jumping in a slow and controller motion? I bet you haven’t because slow and controller motion is not always applicable in real-world applications. 

When it comes to overall strength-building cheat curls will surely surpass the strict curls. Cheat curls involves multiple joints to lift heavier weight which leads to better strength development. 

Cheat curl vs Strict curl for Muscle Isolation:

Cheat curls are not an isolation exercise, its a mass building exercise that has been used by expert lifters to push through the limits. 

Lets recap the basic rule of the strict curl; you must lift the weight while your head, back, and butt are against a wall. The whole purpose of leaning against the wall is to prevent the cheat reps.

Cheat curl vs Strict curl for Hypertrophy:

Both the curls will help you achieve superior hypertrophy, while the strict curl will help you train the concentric loading phase, cheat curls will help you train the eccentric (negative) phase. 

Both the eccentric anc concentric phase has got their own set of hypertrophy benefits that you surely don’t want to miss. 

Cheat curl vs Strict curl for Forearms:

I have seen guys who injure their wrist on a regular basis due to weak forearms. Cheat curls not only train those biceps, but it will also help you train multiple muscle groups with single movement and forearms is one of them. 

Bonus tip: Do you feel the pain in your wrist while curling? You should probably try EZ bar for the cheat curls and strict curls, EZ bar allows a better angle to ease stress from the wrist.


Instead of choosing between cheat curls vs strict curls, you should be doing both to receive maximum benefits. Cheat curls should comprise 20% of your bicep training, rest 80% of the workout should include isolation movements. Start your arms training with a set of cheat curls and then perform your routine bicep isolation exercises like concentration curl, preacher curl, incline curl, etc.

Hey guys thanks for reading, let us know your thoughts on the article. Questions are welcomed in the comments as always.

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