How To Get The Barbell Curl Right


This biceps exercise can put a lot of strain on the wrists and elbows. Here’s how to perform the barbell curl safely and effectively

We’d rank chin-ups, EZ-bar curls and dumbbell curls as better bang-for-your-buck moves because they force the biceps to work through a fuller range of motion, as well as allowing your wrists and elbows to stay in a more natural position throughout each stage of each rep. And that’s the main problem with the barbell biceps curl: as soon as you start adding serious weight to the bar, it can place significant stress on these two joints.

However, sometimes you might have no other option than to use a barbell to work your biceps – you’re using a hotel gym, say, or your gym is packed to the rafters. If so, you need to train smart to get the muscle-building results you want without risking injury. Here’s how to do the move effectively.

How To Do A Barbell Curl

Barbell biceps curl

Stand tall with your chest up and core braced, holding the barbell with your hands just outside of your hips, using an underhand grip. Keeping your chest up and your elbows tight to your sides, initiate the move by raising your hands slightly so you feel your biceps become engaged. While maintaining tension on your biceps, curl the bar up to shoulder height, then give your biceps a one-second squeeze. Start to lower the bar slowly, keeping your biceps tensed and engaged to work as many muscle fibres as possible.

Once the bar is back in the start position, straighten your arms fully to tense your triceps to ensure that your biceps are worked through the fullest possible range of motion.