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Barbell Curl

The biceps are a major concern in men as they are associated with strength and manhood. Many bodybuilders want to build huge arms, with massive, dense, and cut biceps. On the other hand, women do not want to get big arms, on the contrary, they want firm and toned arms.

One of the best exercises for bicep strength training is flexing your forearms while standing at the barbell or “Barbell Curl”. Considered essential in bicep training, it effectively targets the main beams of this muscle and allows you to gain strength in the arms. It is still necessary with a good technique of execution and to keep the back immobile without swinging the arms, to get the full benefit.

How To Make Barbell Curl

the Barbell Curl is practiced standing with a straight bar in the hands. At the beginning of the movement, the bar is low, at thigh height, the hands are spread apart from the width of your shoulders equidistant from the middle of the bar. The position of your hands is supine, that is to say, that at the beginning of the movement your palms are turned outwards and that when going up they will be facing you. Before you start, make sure to keep your back straight. This is an important condition not to injure yourself and to pull unnecessarily on the back muscles. Your work should focus on the biceps. Your knees should also be bent slightly to maintain good balance and your shoulders should be left behind.
You have the starting position, it should remain the same throughout the exercise, except for the arms. Now you will have to contract your biceps in order to raise the bar up to your shoulders by bending your arms. Your elbows should not move apart and stay close to the body. At the top of the movement, the contraction of the biceps muscles must be maximum. Finally, you must lower the bar back to its original position. Never release the contraction and do not fully extend your arms. Avoid locking the elbow joint at the risk of injury.

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The classic mistake on this exercise is to help yourself with momentum which involves the back and increases the risk of injury. Less dangerous, but still wrong, the intervention of the shoulders at the end of the movement can sabotage your exercise because it reduces the stress on the biceps, which is still the primary goal of the Barbell Curl! This often happens when the load is too heavy. One of the important parameters of exercise is to use a weight that will allow you to burn your biceps well but without having to cheat.

5 Training Tips

  1. Keep the body vertical, especially the bust. If you round your shoulders or pull them back during exercise, you decrease the tension in your biceps. There is also a risk of attacking the spine if the forces involved become significant.
  2. To stress the biceps and anterior brachial biceps as much as possible, keep your elbows permanently pressed against your sides. If you let them go forward during the load rise, the upper biceps will loosen, which will reduce the tension and make the exercise easier.
  3. If the bar is too heavy, you will be forced to push it with the pelvis at the start of the climb: muscle tension will be reduced and the risk of lumbar injury will be greater. Use a load that allows you to exercise with strict techniques to get the best results. If the load is excessive, the range of motion will be limited and you will not be able to fully extend your arms: this may be useful if you are looking to increase the curve of the biceps, but is not if you are aiming for good muscle development inseparable from full-scale work.
  4. By putting your hands wide apart, you exercise the short portion of the biceps.
  5. With your hands very close together, you will work the long portion of the biceps.

Why make Barbell Curl?

If your goal is to build massive arms, then the Barbell Curl is for you. Indeed, this is an exercise that targets the biceps and with which it is possible to work quite heavily. It is a strength training exercise that many consider essential to a good arm workout program. And they are not wrong since it is a really effective exercise. In addition, it does not require much equipment, only a straight bar or EZ and weights.

Targeted Muscles

With the curl standing with the bar, the biceps brachialis and the anterior brachialis are assisted by the long supinator and the pronator teres. The biceps are the largest of these muscles and are the largest mass in the front part of the arm. The biceps are made up of two bundles (long portion and short portion). The anterior brachial is located under the biceps, near the elbow. It plays a major role in bending the elbow, regardless of the type of grip adopted. Housed on the upper outer side of the forearm, on the thumb side, the long supinator creates the curve of the forearm, from the elbow to the thumb. The pronator ring only intervenes when the resistance is high enough. Partly covered by the long supinator, it is housed obliquely across the elbow.

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Inhale at the start of the movement when the arms are stretched, and breathe out when flexing.


The Barbell Curl can be made with the low pulley using a straight bar, a bent bar called “EZ” or even with the rope.
It is possible, at the right bar, to touch more or less intensely one of the two bundles of the brachial biceps. The starting position is classic, supine, palms facing the face and knees slightly bent.

  • If you want to carry the work on the long portion of the brachial biceps (outside the arm), you must take a tight grip.
  • If you want to carry the work on the short portion, you must take a large grip.

The overhand grip of the bar (reverse grip), like the hammer grip elsewhere (semi-pronation), puts part of the effort on the long supinator, a muscle that crosses the entire forearm and joins the humerus. The muscles of the forearm, the extensors of the wrist, are also under strain.
In both cases, the anterior brachial will be used by these exercises; the brachial biceps also, but less.

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