Man in gym biceps barbell curl strength muscle training

Build big, strong, and defined arms with barbell bicep curl

Unlock the full potential of your biceps with our complete guide to the barbell curl, the must-do move for men wanting bigger, stronger and eye-catching arms. From perfect technique to the best rep ranges, we’ve got all the information you need to maximize your gains and transform the size, strength and definition of your upper arms, says New Body Plan fitness editor Joe Warner

Are you tired of struggling to fill out those shirt sleeves? Do you dream of having biceps that make heads turn? If so, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll reveal the secrets of the barbell curl, a classic exercise for men who want to look more muscular and build an impressive and age-defying physique. By mastering this move, you’ll not only build big, strong, and defined biceps but also enhance your overall performance in everyday activities and sports. So, let’s get those guns growing!

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What is a barbell bicep curl?

A barbell bicep curl is a strength training exercise that primarily targets the biceps. It’s performed by holding a barbell with an underhand grip and curling the weight up towards your chest while keeping your elbows stationary. This isolation exercise is renowned for its ability to build muscle mass and strength in the biceps, making it a staple in many workout routines.

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What muscles does the bicep curl work?

Just like the EZ-bar biceps curl, the main muscle targeted by the barbell curl is the biceps brachii, which is composed of two heads – the long and short head. Both heads are engaged during the curl, ensuring a well-rounded workout for the biceps. Additionally, the exercise also recruits the brachialis and brachioradialis, which act as secondary movers to assist in flexing the elbow joint.

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Why should I do the barbell bicep curl?

The barbell curl is a must-do exercise for anyone seeking to build strong and well-defined biceps. Besides its aesthetic appeal, a powerful pair of biceps can improve your performance in various physical activities that require arm strength, such as lifting, pulling, and even some sports. Plus, the barbell curl can contribute to overall upper body stability and grip strength, making it a valuable addition to your workout routine.

What are the benefits of the barbell curl?

The barbell curl offers numerous benefits, including increased bicep strength and size, improved grip strength, better upper body stability, and a more muscular appearance. By incorporating this exercise into your routine, you’ll be well on your way to achieving the aesthetic and functional goals you desire.

How do I do the barbell bicep curl?

To perform this exercise perfectly, follow these steps in order:
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding the barbell with an underhand grip.
Keep your elbows close to your body and your upper arms stationary.
Slowly curl the barbell up towards your chest while contracting your biceps.
Pause at the top of the movement, then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position.
Repeat for the desired number of reps.

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How many sets and reps should I do of the bicep curl?

A general recommendation for the barbell curl is to perform 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps. However, it’s important to tailor your workout to your specific goals and current fitness level. If you’re new to strength training, start with lighter weights and fewer sets, gradually increasing as you become more comfortable and proficient.

What weight do I use for the barbell curl?

The ideal weight for the barbell curl will vary from person to person, depending on factors such as fitness level, experience, and individual goals. As a rule of thumb, choose a weight that allows you to complete your desired number of reps with good form but is challenging enough to make the last few reps difficult. Over time, progressively increase the weight to continue challenging your muscles and promoting growth.

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What other exercises are similar to the barbell bicep curl?

Several other exercises can help you target the biceps and offer variety in your workout routine. Here are a few alternatives to the barbell curl:

Dumbbell curl

This classic exercise works the biceps similarly to the barbell curl but allows for more independent movement of each arm, potentially addressing imbalances between the left and right biceps.

Hammer curl

This variation of the dumbbell curl uses a neutral grip, targeting the brachialis and brachioradialis muscles more prominently while still working the biceps.

Preacher curl

This exercise isolates the biceps by placing your arms on a preacher bench, preventing the use of momentum and ensuring strict form. It’s similar to the spider curl, a great move for big arms that almost nobody does!

Concentration curl

This seated exercise isolates the biceps by supporting your arm against the inner thigh, allowing for greater focus on the muscle contraction.

Experiment with these alternative exercises to keep your workouts fresh and continue stimulating muscle growth in your biceps. Remember, variety is key to avoiding plateaus and achieving long-term progress.

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