The barbell curl is such a well known exercise, but the fact is that it is a movement that is used and abused in gyms worldwide. It is extremely important that you always use impeccable form in all exercises, and the standing barbell curl is no exception.
Barbell Curl Youtube Video
Here is a demonstration of how to do them the right way. Have a watch and then I will give some extra details below on just what you should be on the look-out for, and a few extra tips to get the best out of this exercise.
How To Do Barbell Curls
As I pointed out in the video, just lifting it off the floor is where most people’s form begins to break down. Make sure that you keep your back straight and bend at the knees. Always use leg power rather than back power to pick things up off the floor.
- Once standing ensure that your back is straight and firm
- Tense your abs for extra core stability
- Keep your elbows tight into your sides
- Raise the bar slowly by bending your arms
- Keeping your elbows relatively tight to the sides
- As you reach the top position allow your elbows to move out slightly
- Try not to raise the bar all the way to the top, keep tension on the biceps
- Lower slowly to the starting position with absolutely no swinging or movement of anything but your arms
- Repeat for reps
- And don’t forget to breathe! Breathe in as you lower, and out as you raise the bar
Things To Look Out For
You really do want to be on the look-out for any swinging of your upper body. Cheating like this will make the exercise a lot less effective that it would otherwise be. It means not using a weight that is too heavy, a bit of an ego killer for some, but there it is. We wan’t maximum effect, not maximum weight used.
Best Bicep Exercise?
Personally I think that a lot of people should never even perform this exercise.
Compound movements give you a lot more return for the work involved. Biceps curls have this kind of “Holy Grail” type of stigma attached to them, when other exercises can give you just as good a return (if not better), whilst working a lot of other muscle groups.
Performing chin-ups, flex hangs, underhand barbell rows etc all work the biceps really hard, and also give you great strength and definition on the back, as well as the shoulders and arms.
But as a finisher they can be a great exercise.
Just don’t make doing barbell curls the main focus of your training.
They should be performed sparingly, and not at every workout. Maybe as part of a specialization program for a month or so, but focus on the big compound movements. If you look at it logically, and try to build up to doing full sets of chin-ups for women, and weighted chin-ups for men, then it stands to reason that your biceps are going to be nicely defined and toned for the females, and strong and muscular for the guys.
Actually I would recommend that you use it to build strength in your biceps to aid you doing the above mentioned exercises. Once you can do them focus on getting better at chins and rows and you will really see the shape of your biceps change a lot quicker. Especially if you can get to the stage of adding weight to a belt if you are a man. Women that can do sets of chins will have amazingly toned looking upper arms, no doubt about that at all.
But yeah, the barbell curl, the most well known exercise there is really, just don’t abuse it or focus too much on it.
And if you do perform this exercise, then make sure that you use impeccable form, you will get better results like this for sure.