What is barbell curl?

Wondering how to do barbell curl to get bigger biceps?

Before that, it is essential to know what barbell bicep curl is. If you work out, chances are that you have heard about bicep curls. This is a weight training exercise that targets the muscles in your upper arm. It can be done using a variety of equipment such as a dumbbell or a resistance band. When performed with a barbell, the exercise is referred to as barbell curl. 

Also known as a barbell bicep curl, it is one of the most common yet effective exercises for building the upper body. 

A barbell curl exercise is a pull-type isolation exercise. It is a modifiable exercise with several variations.

 How to do barbell curl?

 Now that you know how to do barbell curl, it’s time to perfect its moves. Here is a detailed step-by-step guide to a barbell curl workout. This is the traditional standing barbell curl:

  • Stand straight with your core braced and chest open.
  • Hold a barbell with both your hands using an underhand grip. The barbell must be held just outside your hips.
  • Keep your chest up, tighten your elbows and raise your hands slowly while engaging your biceps.
  • While maintaining a stretch on your biceps, bring up the barbell to your shoulder height. Squeeze your biceps here.
  • Start lowering the bar while keeping your biceps engaged. 

Aim to do 5-8 sets of 12-15 reps of the barbell curl exercise.

Try this Barbell Bicep Curl Workout Provided By Cult fit

Check out this video to learn how to do barbell bicep curl. Here's a powerful beginner's workout for you by cult fit

What are different variations of barbell curl?

 Besides the traditional standing barbell curl, here are some of the most effective variations of the curled barbell exercise:

1. Seated barbell curl: ‍

As the name suggests, seated barbell curl is done sitting on a bench. This variation activates and challenges your biceps more than the standing version of this exercise. To do this exercise, sit on a bench and hold a barbell near your thighs using an underhand grip. Raise the bar until it is at your shoulder level. Contract your biceps for a couple of seconds and bring the bar down.

2. Close grip concentration barbell curl: ‍

This is a very effective variation of a barbell bicep curl that isolates your biceps well. To begin this exercise, sit on the edge of a bench and hold a bar with an underhand grip. Your hands should be placed about 6-inches apart. Bend forward from the waist and place your elbows on the inner thighs. Focus on your biceps and lift the bar until your forearms touch your biceps.

3. Reverse barbell curl:

Reverse barbell curl is an excellent exercise to build your grip strength and get bigger arms. To do this curled barbell exercise, grip the bar with an overhand grip. Hold it down by your thighs while keeping your elbows tucked close to your sides. Curl the weight up and squeeze your biceps for a couple of seconds. Lower the weight back without fully extending your arms. 

4. Wide-grip barbell curl:

The wide grip barbell curl focuses on the inner portion of your biceps and strengthens them. To perform this exercise, grasp the bar in an underhand grip as wide as possible. Keep your back straight and feet shoulder-width apart. Focus on your biceps and pull up the bar. Squeeze your biceps and lower the bar down.

What are the benefits of barbell curls?

Here are some of the most important barbell curl benefits:

  1. A barbell curl exercise works on your bicep muscles- brachialis and brachioradialis. These are the muscles that you use not just during workouts but also for doing the smallest everyday movements such as picking up things, driving, etc. By activating and challenging these muscles, you get better upper body strength. This helps you lift heavier weights and improve your range of motion.
  2. This is an excellent exercise to improve your grip strength. This helps in making your daily tasks easier. It also lets you perform exercises such as bench presses and deadlifts easily.
  3. Barbell curl is a great weight loss exercise. It helps crank up calories and helps you achieve your optimum weight level. This gives you a toned appearance and also prevents obesity-related health problems such as kidney diseases, heart problems, and diabetes, etc. 
  4. One of the best barbell curl benefits is that this is a modifiable exercise that everyone can do irrespective of their age, exercise experience, and state of health. 
  5. This exercise can be easily included in your workout at home. All you need is a barbell and you are ready to start doing this amazing exercise. 

How to do barbell curl safely?

Since a barbell curl exercise involves weights, it needs to be done carefully while being mindful of your form. 

Here are some things to keep in mind while doing the barbell curl:

  1. Don’t do the barbell curl workout without learning its technique and form properly from an experienced trainer. Not doing so may result in injuries and muscular strain. 
  2. Always select weights that you are comfortable with. Never select weights more than what you can handle. Start your practice slow and build it up by adding weights gradually.
  3. Always allow a warm-up and cool-down session in your workout. This helps in relaxing and stretching your muscles and avoids injuries.
  4. Listen to your body. In case you feel pain, dizzy, or nauseous, stop immediately. 
  5. If you have any specific medical conditions, never start doing barbell curls without consulting your doctor. 
  6. Always keep your wrists and back straight. Slouching may cause muscle strain and pain. 
  7. Keep your shoulders stable and fixed by your body.
  8. Make slow and controlled movements instead of making jerky movements that may lead to injuries. 
  9. Don’t train your biceps every day to avoid overtraining or injuries. Allow for at least 24-48 hours recovery time.


A barbell curl exercise not just improves your workout performance but also adds to the quality of life. However, to gain the benefits of this exercise, keep challenging yourself to keep up your motivation levels. Also, consistency is the key to gaining bigger and better biceps. 

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