Barbell Biceps Curl

Barbell Biceps Curl

In this lesson you will learn how to do Barbell Biceps Curls (and Standing Biceps Curls with an EZ-Bar). This is one of the most important biceps exercises and should be done at the beginning of your biceps training. Keep in mind that the triceps makes almost 70 percent of the upper arm's volume. So if you want big guns, it's not only the biceps you should work on. Find more biceps exercises at weight training and bodybuilding.


  • Stand with your feet at shoulder width and bend your knees slightly. Keep your abdominals tight and hold the barbell with your hands at about one shoulder width. Like shown above, you can also use an EZ-bar.
  • Start curling the barbell up without moving the elbows at all. Exhale slowly as you curl the barbell up. Don't lean back, don't create momentum.
  • Beginners often lean back. Yes, it is easier to lift the barbell if you lean back, if you shrug your shoulders up, if you swing your arms or if you move the weight from the hip/thighs. But this is not about making the exercises easy. You should make it as difficult as possible. Don't move anything but your forearms. You can actually lean forward an inch while you curl the weight up. And if you also keep your upper are vertical, it will be impossible to create momentum and you will get the most out of this exercise.
  • Squeeze your biceps and the highest point and then move down again. The down-movement should be even slower than the up-movement. Inhale as you lower the barbell.
  • Most people don't fully extend the arms after every repetition, but I do. Just make sure you extend your arms slowly so that you can't injure your elbows.


  • Don't lean back as you curl the weight up.
  • Keep your elbows still and don't create momentum.
  • Keep your shoulders low throughout the entire exercise.
  • Be careful with the position where the elbows are fully extended. If you don't slow down carefully, you can injure your elbows. The extended position at the end stretches the biceps a little.
  • Stretch you biceps between sets or at least after the last set.
  • The barbell biceps curl should be the first exercise of your biceps workout.
  • The biceps only makes a bit more than 30 percent of your upper arm's volume. If you want big arms, don't forget about your triceps.
  • For strength, do 5 sets with 5 repetitions. For size, do 3 sets with 8 to 12 repetitions. For definition, do 2 or 3 sets with 20 repetitions.