Barbell Biceps Curls Exercise for Bigger, Muscular Arms

Biceps are the most prized muscle for a bodybuilder and biceps curls with barbells and dumbbells are the best way to build bigger, muscular arms. Discover their magic.

There is Nothing like a Double Biceps Pose for a Muscle Builder to Show Off!

Do you workout? Here, look at my biceps. And you give a superb double biceps pose.

Guns, Pipes, Arms, Biceps or double deckers. Whatever you call them, biceps are every muscle builders most prized muscle and for good reason.

Bigger arms give you the powerful, muscular look every bodybuilder crave for.

And how do you build them? With chin ups and heavy barbell biceps curls exercise. I have covered the chin ups earlier, biceps curls are covered here. Lets crack the bigger biceps code.

Inside this article:

Why Biceps Training is Important for Bodybuilders

Apart from the fact that you can do a cool double biceps pose, there are other reasons to do biceps training. I can think of at least three:

  1. Biceps are involved in all pulling moves - be it pull downs, chin ups or rows. All pulling moves work the biceps.
  2. Prioritised biceps training create an awesome upper body balance - shoulder, chest and arms look as they belong to one body.
  3. Ego boost: It does even for great Arnie. Yes, biceps are a great ego boosting exercise and bigger biceps are a pride for any bodybuilder. Very few exercises can match the biceps pump!

Ok, ok. You get it. So, now lets pump them up with the best biceps muscle builder.

How to Perform the Biceps Curls with Perfect Form

Barbell curls provides the longest range of motion of any biceps exercise and hence it is very useful. Although the curls are easy to do, there are some cool techniques to make them work even better.

Remember its easy to cheat on the curls, don’t do it!

Your tools: Barbell or dumbbells or cables

I prefer a mix. Barbells allow heavy lifting as your both arms work cheering each other for reps. Dumbbells allow for better range of motion. And cables allow for constant tension throughout the exercise.

Grip, Stance and Position

Grip: Underhand grip with hands placed slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Grip the bar very tightly as if squeezing it to pulps.

A narrow grip targets the short head of biceps {inner side of biceps} and a wider grip targets the long head of biceps {outer side of biceps}. Try all grips by changing them every 4-6 weeks for best gains.

Stance: A shoulder width apart stance with toes pointing forwards or slightly outwards.

Position: Although you should tense your whole body, curls are a isolation move. So keep your arms on the sides with elbows fixed to the sides {without touching} and arms fully extended for a fuller biceps stretch.

The Two-Step Barbell Curls Technique

Step One: The full flex

With the right grip, stance and position, take a deep breathe in and curl the bar with your biceps. Feel the muscle, not just the weight in your hands. Keep abs and butt tight.

Keep your elbows stationary on either sides as any elbow movement will target the deltoids more than biceps and defeats the whole purpose of exercise.

Squeeze the biceps hard at the top for a moment. Exhale.

Step Two: The active lowering

From the top contracted position, lower the bar by actively pulling it down with your triceps. Don’t just lower it. This creates high eccentric work for the biceps and eccentrics build more muscle mass.

Get a full stretch of biceps in the lower position. No bouncing or relaxing the weights. Inhale on the way down.

Go heavy or Go home

Biceps respond best to heavy training. No use doing 20 reps with low weights. hit them hard for 6-8 reps for 3-4 sets until you get 15 inch arms. Then add variety of reps, grip and exercises to go beyond.

Biceps Curls Mistakes to Avoid

  1. Starting before full stretch at the bottom: An early start might help you lift more, but will decrease the contraction of biceps. Get a full stretch by contracting the triceps. Also partial range have shown to cause tendon injuries.

  2. Elbow movement: Maintaining a stationary position keeps the tension on biceps. Any forward movement of elbow targets the deltoids. 

  3. Backwards bending is a recipe for back problems: Maintain an upright posture, no bending either during curling or lowering. Safe and effective tip.

The Best Biceps Exercise of all Time

Although barbell curls are excellent muscle builders, the chin up is the best overall biceps muscle builder. If you can do full range chin ups and weighted chin ups, then perform them. I have included them as top 8 moves for the same reason.

Research has shown that biceps muscle are strongest {called elbow flexion strength} when you are bending elbows above your head. 

Also chin ups pass the heavier loading test. Can you curl your bodyweight? Very difficult. 

The pull up variation of chins are numero uno for arm muscle building and if you do them then add barbell curls as a completion move.

The 3 Best Biceps Muscle Building Exercises

Incline Biceps Curls

Incline curls have a their role too

Although there are a dozen biceps muscle exercises, barbell curls allow maximum loading and hits both the short head of biceps and brachialis muscle in a single move.

For complete arm development and avoid any muscle weakness, you should perform the incline bench dumbbell curls to target the long head of the biceps.

To Summarise:

  • Chin Ups and Biceps Curls: for Brachialis and short head of biceps
  • Incline Dumbbell Curls: for long head of biceps

What about Preacher and concentration curls?

Well you don’t need them but for variety and to increase training volumes in arm specialisation workouts only.

Preacher curls emphasises the first part of elbow bending/flexion and concentration curls emphasises the last portion.

They have their place but not for beginner or intermediates.

NNMB Muscle Building Program: Why just build your biceps when you can build bigger chest, shoulders, legs and arms at the same time. Try the 26 week NNMB program for complete skinny body transformation. 

Recent Articles

  1. Bodybuilding Workouts & Muscle Building Workout Routines that Build Muscle

    Jul 01, 17 09:52 AM

    Discover effective bodybuilding workouts and muscle building routines with strategies to make every workout a killer one. Download free 3-day, 4-day or 5-day workout routines.

    Read More

  2. Why Beginner Bodybuilders must use Light Weights for Muscle Gain

    Jul 01, 17 09:44 AM

    Discover the science why beginner bodybuilders must use light to moderate weights to gain maximum muscle mass in the first 2-3 months of training to gain muscle, prevent injuries and grow bigger.

    Read More

  3. How to do a S.W.O.T Analysis of Your Bodybuilding Workout

    Oct 26, 16 01:41 AM

    Looking to take your bodybuilding workout to the next level? Then do a SWOT analysis of your muscle building workout to increase your lifts every workout.

    Read More