Standing Barbell Curls - Muscles Worked & Benefits
Exercise Type: Single-Joint
Primary Muscles Worked: Biceps
The most basic and popular of all bicep exercises, the Standing Barbell Curl is an excellent way to develop the overall size of the biceps. A small amount of movement to increase momentum is acceptable because this exercise is a mass-building movement. However, keep this to a minimum unless you are deliberately doing Cheat Curls. To build the most thickness in the biceps, curl the bar with your hands at shoulder-width apart.
Standing Barbell Curls - Exercise Workout & Technique
- Place the loaded barbell in front of you.
- Position your feet so that they are about shoulder-width apart, and your knees are not locked out.
- Anchor your body weight to the floor at the heels.
- Place your hands on the barbell so that your palms face you, spaced apart at shoulder width.
- To start with, let the weight hang down, with your posture upright, chest slightly out and your shoulder blades drawn together.
- Position your elbows under the shoulders with a slight bend in them and close to your sides.
- Exhale and bring the barbell up towards your shoulders so that you feel the biceps working.
- Try not to let your body swing during this process, as this would be cheating.
- Hold and contract the biceps at the top. Pause.
- Now inhale and let the barbell return to the starting position with the arms extended down.
- Repeat the exercise for the desired repetition range.
Standing Barbell Curls - Tips & Safety
- Keep the movement slow and controlled throughout each rep.
- Try and maintain the specified posture throughout, without allowing the body to sway.
- Leaning slightly forward makes the initial phase of the curl easier. Leaning slightly backwards helps complete the final phase of the rep.
- Excess momentum will shift the focus away from the biceps and recruit other accessory muscles - so avoid this.
Standing Barbell Curls - Alternatives
- Try various hand placements on the bar to target different areas of the biceps. A wider grip will target the inner biceps while a narrow grip will target the outer biceps.
- Using an E-Z Bar changes the grip of the Standing Barbell Curl. Curling the bar with a neutral grip (palms facing in) allows you to emphasise the outer biceps while at the same time putting less strain on the wrists.