Double biceps flexion of a portal pulley

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The double biceps flexion of a portal pulley is a pulling isolation exercise for biceps. It is of a secondary nature and does not allow the use of inertia and cheating. It is suitable for both beginners and intermediate and advanced trainees. One of the great benefits of performance is that it does not strain the elbows, but allows relatively easy insulation even for novices.


People with previous shoulder injuries, such as sprained shoulders, surgeries, etc., should consult the technician in question with a trainer to assess the risk of a new injury. People with chronic injuries should consult this type of shoulder-pulling movement with an orthopedist. Although the tension on the shoulder joints is constant, discomfort may occur. Unilateral performance carries a risk to the waist, so people with injuries in this area should avoid it.

Participating muscles


  • Biceps (Biceps brachii, long heads) with supinated and semi-supinated grip
  • Biceps (Biceps brachii, short heads) with semi-supine and parallel grip
  • Brachialis (Brachialis anticus) in neutral grip


  • Brachioradialis

Extras and dynamic stabilizers

  • Large pectoral muscles, upper heads (Pectoralis major, Clavicular)
  • Small pectoral muscles (Pectoralis minor)
  • Broad back muscle (Latissimus dorsi)
  • Small back muscles (Teres major)
  • Serratus (Serratus anterior)
  • Middle shoulder heads (Deltoid, Lateral)
  • Wrist flexors, Wrist extensors
  • Exercise Database (Chest19) - Cable Crossovers — Jase Stuart - The Better Body Coach


Common to all the techniques described below is that each of them is performed with horizontal arms or elbows at shoulder height. This distinguishes the technique from the standard folding of a lower pulley.

One-sided or two-sided execution

  • Folding reels with two hands  – a portal pulley is used. This is the more popular and easier to implement of the two options. The double-sided opposite tension that the cables exert allows better control over folding.
  • Folding the reel with one hand  – the arm is positioned as an extension of the axis of both shoulders. The gaze is turned to the side of the reel. The resting hand stands on the waist or holds a support outside the body. Unilateral performance is possible on both upper and portal pulleys. This version of the exercise is more difficult to perform, because with heavier weights it is difficult to keep the body still.Do it only if you do not have a portal pulley in the hall (in this case you have to settle for the above). It is advisable to hold the resting hand with a stable support. Bilateral performance is more effective, so if you have a portal pulley, bet on this option. If you have poor control over the muscles in the pelvis, torso or shoulders, do not perform the movement unilaterally.

Options according to the pulley used

  • Portal pulley  – allows for bilateral performance and greater stability. The problem is that not every hall has one. If you are not among the lucky ones, you should fold the upper pulley, and only with one hand. You stand sideways to the pulley and work.
  • Upper pulley  – offers a variant of execution that resembles the classic biceps flexion (with parallel arms). Use a simple handle and fold the front with both hands. Your armpits should be horizontal again and pointing forward. I would not say that this option has any advantage over the usual folding from a standing position (on a lower pulley). So it is best to focus on the performance with one hand and the elbow pointing to the side. This technique is usually practiced by people with shoulder injuries.

According to the catch

  • Supinated  – in the folded position the palm is turned slightly back to the back of the trainee. The inner long head is the main one, in the second half of the amplitude, and the brachialis support the movement of the short heads, which start the folding.
  • Semi-supine  – in the folded position the palm faces the face. This is a grip that actively engages the outer heads and allows folding with more weight. In this case, the role of long heads as synergists is superior to that of brachialis.
  • Neutral  – in the folded position the thumbs point to the face. In this grip, the brachialis lead in front of the short heads. The involvement of brachioradialis is enhanced. The short heads are a synergist.

Double biceps flexion of a portal pulley


  • Adjust the height of the reels so that the height of the handles is approximately 15 cm above shoulder level.
  • Grasp them with a pronated grip and stand right between the two reels. In the starting position, the arms should be slightly bent at the elbows, keeping the latter in line with the shoulders.


  • Fold your arms, pulling the handles toward your head until the handles reach almost to your ears. For peak contraction, you can also bend your wrists. Hold for one second and return to starting position.
  • The arm should not move during the performance. Use slow and controlled movements.

Comments and recommendations

  • The height of the reels should be such that when you bend your elbows, the handles are higher than the level of your arms. Thus the amplitude of movement is the most complete and the contraction of the muscles the greatest.
  • Keep your shoulder girdle tight so that it does not move back and forth during the performance, and the shoulders should fix the armpits so that the elbows are relatively still.
  • During the exercise, keep your elbows to the side and your arms horizontal. Otherwise, you will remove the load from the biceps and it will benefit little.
  • Keep your body still during the exercise. Do not swing, do not bend over. Thus, the biceps will be lightly loaded. Move only in the elbows – the other joints should be immobile.
  • Do not start the exercise with heavy weights without warming up well. Make your first set lighter and more repetitive to move your biceps and joints. Only then increase the load.

Fitness and bodybuilding

Folding the upper (portal) pulley is an exercise for shaping the biceps. It is suitable for inclusion in your workout as a second or third exercise (advanced) for biceps and brachialis. Choose a grip and isolate. There is no point in cheating here, so choose your workload carefully.

Conditioning and training for injuries

You can use the double biceps flexion of a portal pulley as a basic exercise in your conditioning and tone program. Put it after the main pulling movements in your training scheme. In case you have problems with your elbows – this is the right choice for exercise.

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