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Barbell Curl

Target Muscles

Biceps brachii, Brachialis.
Also used Brachioradialis.

Starting Position

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Hold a barbell with your hands shoulder­ width apart, palms facing forwards.
  • The bar should rest against your thighs and your arms should be fully extended.

The Movement

  • Bend your elbows as you curl the bar up in a smooth arc towards your shoulders. Keep your upper arms fixed by the sides of your body.
  • Hold for a count of two; then slowly lower the bar back to the starting position.


  • Do not move your upper arms or elbows at any point of the movement.
  • Keep your body absolutely still- make sure you do not lean back or swing the bar up as this will strain the back and reduce the work on the biceps.
  • Keep your wrists locked.
  • Lower the bar under control until your' arms are fully extended shortening or' rushing the downwards phase will reduce the effectiveness of the exercise.


EZ-bar curl
Arm curls can be performed using an EZ-bar instead of a straight bar. This reduces the stress on the wrists, although it puts the biceps in a biomechanically weaker position so they receive less stimulation.

Wide grip curl
Using a grip slightly wider than shoulder. width apart places more emphasis on the inner head of the biceps.

Narrow grip curl
Using a grip slightly narrower than shoulder. width apart places more emphasis on the outer head of the biceps.

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