Barbell Bicep Curl


Muscles used

barbell bicep curl

One of the most appealing things about the barbell bicep curl, is that it will allow you to move more overall weight while isolating your biceps.  This is because generally speaking, most people will be able to perform heavier curls with a barbell than they would with a set of dumbbells. 

And as we know all to well, the more weight you move, the stronger you get.

How to perform a barbell bicep curl

Start by gripping a barbell in two hands at around shoulder width apart with your palms facing forwards. Next, fully extend your arms so that the barbell is positioned directly in front of your thighs.  This is your start position.

Begin the exercise with your core tight and your elbows tucked into your sides.  Then slowly curl the bar up to your chest, hold for a second and finish by releasing back down to start position.  Go for reps.

Barbell bicep curl: Common mistakes to avoid

By far the most common mistake seen is swinging the barbell and/or the body. 

Ultimately, sloppy form on any exercise is never recommended.  If you are performing your barbell bicep curl with incorrect form, you may poorly engage the intended muscle groups, which will hinder your gains at best and result in injury at worst.  

Finally, you should keep the muscle you intend to work in mind when you are performing the exercise, this is the ideal way to ensure targeted results.

Reps and sets

As with all exercises, your barbell bicep curl needs to be worked into your overall bigger picture.  This means; how many reps and sets you perform with each exercise should depend entirely on where you are physically and of course; your desired outcomes.

As a rule of thumb; beginners should keep it simple; 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps is an ideal starting point.  Try to avoid over complicating things early on, worry more about laying a solid foundation and the rest will come with experience.

More advanced lifters should always consider their current strength and goals.

Beyond the barbell bicep curl...

Check out more arm exercises and of course, be sure to track your lifts.

More arm exercises coming soon...

Just so you know, this list of arm exercises is a work in progress and is by no means extensive.  We will continue to grow this entire database for you over time, so be sure to check back for updates.  Alternatively, you can join our mailing list below and you’ll be the first to know about all new content we produce.


* indicates required

Other exercise categories...