The first barbell curl was probably performed three minutes after the invention of the barbell, and it’s been a gym staple ever since. This time-tested exercise has always been reliable and effective for developing bulging biceps.

It may appear to be an effortless movement — grab the bar, curl the bar, done — but, as with many simple exercises, details can significantly impact your results. While numerous curl exercises are available, let’s break down why this biceps-building exercise should remain at the top of the list.


How to Perform a Barbell Curl?

The barbell curl appears to be a simple exercise at first glance. You are simply bending your arms.

The truth is that there is a little more going on behind the scenes that can transform you from having decent biceps to having a fantastic set of arms.

Step 1 — Be Bold and Proud

Stand with your hands slightly wider than hip-width and palms up, holding a straight barbell. It would help if you had your arms fully extended. Consider retracting your shoulder blades and keeping your chest high and proud.

Take a deep breath and contract your abs. Contract your triceps to ensure that your biceps are fully extended. This aids in the recruitment of all muscle fibers and provides a complete range of motion. Adjust your elbows so that they are close to your ribs. Your biceps should be touching the outside of your chest slightly.

Form Tip: Use the standard hand width if you have average or shorter arms. You can benefit from gripping the bar much wider than hip-width if you have relatively long arms. Gripping too tightly can cause significant internal rotation at the shoulder, increasing joint strain.

Curl the weight in Step 2

While exhaling, contract your biceps. Maintain your shoulders in place and curl your biceps until they are fully shortened; also, use comprar esteroides if necessary.

Curl your wrists and grip the barbell tightly as you reach the movement’s top. This strengthens your forearms, wrists, and grip while contracting your biceps.

In the top position, your elbows should be a little further forward of your body. This is fine because it activates the biceps even more (specifically the long head of the muscle). Be careful not to let your shoulders dominate and take over as the primary mover.

Form Tip: Keep the inside of your biceps in gentle contact with the outside of your chest or serratus throughout the exercise. This is an excellent way to ensure that you are in the proper position for maximum biceps recruitment and to keep your elbows from moving too far forward or back.

Step 3 — Return to the Beginning

Before you lower the weight under control, take a short breath in. Again, pay attention to where the inside of your biceps are touching (chest and serratus). Maintain a tight grip on your shoulders.

It is critical to lower the barbell with control. Aim for a two to three-second eccentric, which will recruit more muscle fibers and give you a better chance of building muscle.

Form Tip: Take a complete inventory after each rep. Do you have your shoulders rolled forward? Have you moved your elbows behind your body? Finish the rep with the inside of your biceps slightly outside your chest or serratus, your elbows in front of your body, and your shoulder blades retracted with your chest high and proud. Start your next rep only when you’re in the proper position.

Avoiding Barbell Curl Mistakes

Like many other exercises, the barbell curl is simple and effective when performed correctly. The most important words are “when executed correctly.” Let’s look at some of the most common mistakes if you ignore technique.

Excessive Upper Body Movement

Swinging your torso forward and back as you curl a barbell up and down is the quickest way to fail and possibly injure yourself. Not only does it reduce biceps muscular tension, but swinging weights indicates that you’re attempting to move weights that are far too heavy to lift with proper form.

Lifting weights with your entire upper body rather than your biceps increases your chances of straining your lower back. That potentially chronic injury can have a long-term impact on your complete training plan.

The only exception is when you use your entire body to move heavy weights with strict control to emphasize the eccentric (lowering phase). This is a specific exercise variation that will be discussed further below. It is a deliberate movement that distributes force through your legs, back, and shoulders rather than swinging your hips and putting all the stress on your lower back.

To maximize muscular strength, keep your shoulder blades retracted and your abs and glutes tense during each rep. Control the descent for two to three seconds to reduce the desire to swing the weights and effectively recruit your biceps.

Gripping the Bar Too Tightly

Some lifters believe bench pressing with an extensive grip will increase their chest width. Many lifters also make the mistake of curling with an extra-wide grip in the hopes of changing the shape of their biceps. That is not how the body works.

Because tension isn’t being focused on the muscle itself, a false grip increases the risk of straining the forearm and biceps tendons at the elbow joint. When the arm musculature is overstressed, and as you fatigue during a set, wear and tear occurs, resulting in biceps tendon tears.

Avoid it: Refer to the appropriate technique setup and grip width for your limb length. If you have longer arms, you may need a wider grip to maintain relative stress on the muscles due to leverage, well outside your shoulders and up to twice the width of your hips. Otherwise, keep your hands close to your hips.


The Advantages of the Barbell Curl

The barbell curl has long been used to increase biceps size and strength. Here’s a closer look at some of the advantages of this foundational exercise.


The barbell curl is an excellent exercise for new lifters due to its short learning curve, basic mechanics, and ease of loading. It’s a very effective fundamental lift for a quick and easy introduction to direct arm training.

Biceps Training Direct

The barbell curl is performed solely with elbow flexion, a primary function of the biceps and no other muscle group. This concentrated effort is one of the most effective exercises for increasing biceps size and strength.

Heavy Weights Possibility

Moving relatively heavy weights is necessary for building strength. Compared to other biceps exercises, the barbell curl allows you to place the biceps under the heaviest potential weights. This can help with overall strength, especially with pulling exercises like deadlifts and rows.

Muscles The Barbell Curl is used to work out

The barbell curl is a single-joint (isolation) exercise that is one of the most effective ways to target the biceps and forearms as secondary movers. On the other hand, the barbell curl incorporates a small amount of movement at the shoulder joint, which activates the anterior deltoid (front shoulder muscle) as an additional mover.

As a result, under the most technical definition, some lifters consider it a multi-joint (compound) exercise, wildly when they exaggerate or emphasize the elbow-rising position at the top of the lift.

Brachii Biceps

The biceps is a two-headed muscle, with the long head on the outside of the muscle and the short lead on the inside. The long head connects near the shoulder blade, the short head near the upper arm, and both heads near the elbow. This is why both leaders are activated when bending the elbow, and the long lead is recruited to move the arm at the shoulder.


Wrist flexors on the palm side and wrist extensors on the top side of the forearm comprise the forearms. As you curl the weight, both muscles actively work to hold and stabilize the barbell.

Deltoid Anterior

The deltoid (shoulder muscle) is divided into three heads: anterior (front), lateral (side), and posterior (rear). Each head is used to move the arm in its plane. When performing barbell curls, the anterior delts help to raise the arm when the barbell is fully curled.


Who Should Perform a Barbell Curl?

Any lifter who steps into the gym can benefit from incorporating barbell curls into their routine. It’s a simple and adaptable movement that can be programmed for various purposes.

This exercise will help performance athletes who are prone to biceps or elbow injuries increase muscle mass, improve arm and grip strength, and prevent damage.

Athletes of Strength

Strength athletes, such as strongmen, and powerlifters, will notice that increased biceps strength leads to increased stability during heavy pressing and pulling exercises and grip strength. Light-weight, high-rep barbell curls can also help to restore and prevent joint pain.

When building a more muscular set of arms, the barbell curl can provide the most bang for the buck for any physique-focused lifter. The barbell curl can handle much heavier weights than many other biceps exercises, allowing more programming options for muscle-building stimuli.

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