HomeExercise LibraryHow To: Barbell Biceps Curl

How To: Barbell Biceps Curl

Barbell Biceps Curl
The barbell bicep curl is the ultimate mass builder for the biceps, hands down.

The stress and progressive overload we can apply with a heavy barbell bicep curl cannot be replicated with dumbbells, preacher curls or any other machines.

Get your form dialled in then start your arm day with several sets of barbell bicep curl and watch your arms grow!

Movement: Isolation

Targets: Biceps

Required: Barbell

Optional: Arm Blaster

Barbell Biceps Curl:

Stand up straight while grasping a barbell with a shoulder width grip, elbows tucked in and palms facing away from you.

Curl the barbell up by contracting your biceps and moving your forearms, your upper arm should not move at all.

Curl until the barbell is at shoulder height.

Squeeze and hold this contraction for one second.

Slowly lower the bar back down until your arms are extended in front of you.

Barbell Biceps Curl Variations

Cheat Curl

A barbell curl performed with slightly less emphasis on form, utilizing momentum to get the weight moving.
Arnold used cheat curls in his routine in order to overload the biceps, unless you know what you're doing I'd advise against cheat curls - stick to form over weight.

Arm Blaster Barbell Curl

A standard barbell biceps curl performed while wearing an arm blaster to lock in perfect form.
I recommend lowering the weight in order to hit the same rep range.

See also
How To: Decline Barbell Bench Press

Here's The Barbell I Use & Recommend...

I've been using one of these 'The Beast" 7 foot olympic barbells in my home garage gym for the last 6 years, it's affordable, high quality and gets the job done regardless of how many 45lb plates are loaded on it.
Check it out and invest in a high quality "The Beast" barbell here.

Common Barbell Biceps Curl Mistakes


Every guy in the gym wants to swing around heavy weight on biceps, I get that.

As I said earlier – if you want to build big arms you’re going to have to lift heavy, HOWEVER form always have and always will take priority over the weight being lifted.
The bottom portion of a bicep curl is without a doubt the hardest portion of the movement, and when lifting too heavy many gym-goers attempt to swing backwards or hip thrust to attempt to move the weight.
Using momentum to move the weight takes tension off the bicep, doing you no good.
If you’re swinging and swaying your back on every repetition you’re also placing your lower back at a high risk of injury – not good.

Pick a weight that’s heavy for you to perform with good form, save the cheat curls for Arnold.

See also
How To: Barbell Close Grip Bench Press

Performing Biceps Curls Too Often

it didn’t take me long to realize that training my arms every single day wasn’t getting me very far in terms of results given all the effort I was exerting.

Train smart.

The biceps act as the secondary muscle group when we’re training back, and the triceps act as the secondary muscle group when we’re training chest.
Training chest, back and one dedicated arm day per week (or triceps and biceps split up onto seperate days instead) is more than enough to build big, strong arms.

More isn’t always better – if you’re training frequency is any higher than this you may very well be hindering your own progress, like all other muscle groups the biceps and triceps require time to recover.

Lifting Too Light

If you don’t generally train in the lower rep range I recommend you give it a try, stop lifting in the 10 – 15 rep range for at least a month and focus on heavy, low rep sets. Once you start to see results you won’t want to go back.

Now, you may still think high reps are beneficial, but let me tell you they’re far from it.

High repetitions result in increased stress on your CNS, increase in localized inflammation and increased soreness.

See also
How To: Inverted Row

“Movements or exercises that do not give the muscle the required resistance, but are the kind that involve a great number of repetitions, never break down any tissue, to speak of. These movements involve a forcing process that cause the blood to swell up the muscle, and simply pump them up”– George F. Jowett, 1926

Similar & Substitute Exercises 

  • Dumbbell Bicep Curl
  • Chin-ups
  • Incline Hammer Curl
  • Preacher Curl

Any Questions Regarding The Barbell Biceps Curl? Ask Below!

Scott J.
Scott J.
I’m SJ. I’m a fitness enthusiast and published author. I transformed my body from a skinny fat 135lbs with 18% body fat to a solid 192lbs at 8% body fat. I became qualified in a field I was passionate about. I founded several online businesses that allow me to pursue ideas and projects in my life that I am passionate about without having to constantly worry about money. I published several eBooks explaining the training and dieting techniques I used to achieve the body I have today. I learnt a plethora of new information on dieting and fitness by reading and applying what I read, to find out what does work and what doesn’t work, because as I’m sure you’ve noticed the health and fitness industry is full of non-sense claims and BS. I found out what was true and what worked for me and applied that knowledge. And you bet I had fun during the whole process.

Stay in Touch

To follow the best weight loss journeys, success stories and inspirational interviews with the industry's top coaches and specialists. Start changing your life today!

Related Articles