Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredBarbell
  • MechanicsIsolation
  • Force TypePull
  • Experience LevelBeginner
  • Secondary Muscles
Target Muscle Group


Biceps Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Standing Barbell Curl Instructions

  1. The standing barbell curl is the cornerstone of many bicep building routines. Grasp a barbell or Olympic bar at around shoulder width apart using an underhand grip (palms facing up).
  2. Stand straight up, feet together (you may be more comfortable putting one foot back for stability), back straight, and with your arms fully extended.
  3. The bar should not be touching your body.
  4. Keeping your eyes facing forwards, elbows tucked in at your sides, and your body completely still, slowly curl the bar up.
  5. Squeeze your biceps hard at the top of the movement, and then slowly lower it back to the starting position.
  6. Repeat for desired reps.

​Barbell Curl Tips:

  1. The single biggest mistake lifters make on this exercise is swinging the body back to assist in moving the weight up. This is cheating! Your body should remain fixed and only your biceps should be used to move the weight.
  2. Another mistake is not keeping the elbows fixed and in at the sides. You should not let your elbows come forward when moving the weight up.
  3. And finally, you need to control the weight throughout the set. This means not letting it drop quickly!
Posted on: Sun, 05/28/2023 - 03:34

can i use dumbbells instead?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 05/30/2023 - 20:45

Sure, Mark. I prefer dumbbells myself.

Adarsh Singh
Posted on: Thu, 09/17/2020 - 14:37

Simple but effective exercise . Worth the time.
Reverse Barbell Curl | Summary, Proper Form, Muscle Worked

Posted on: Mon, 09/03/2018 - 15:50

does it matter whether I use a straight bar or, a curved bar?

Kenneth Gordon
Posted on: Wed, 06/26/2019 - 09:41

Yes.You just use a wide grip.You can do an inner grip too

Posted on: Sun, 06/10/2018 - 17:36

i was wondering would substituting dumbbells for the barbell would that be defeating the purpose. ( if i curled the dumbbell in a slow controlled manor) ? thanks

Posted on: Wed, 02/08/2017 - 10:55

I bent a little bit forward to make my elbow on 90 degrees
but my body is fixed only arms moves
Is that good or bad?

Posted on: Thu, 11/19/2020 - 06:32

Yes, you have to bend s little forward to focus on your biceps and get rid of shoulder help.

Posted on: Tue, 11/22/2016 - 06:48

Does it matter if the inner arms are touching your body on this exercise?

tracy purdy
Posted on: Fri, 11/13/2015 - 19:01

Female and pretty much a beginner, whats a good weight to start with?

Posted on: Fri, 01/01/2016 - 13:20

Did you get any responses? I wonder as well. Trying to start in 20 to 30 pound range and work up. Get the form first. LMK if you got an answer.

Posted on: Wed, 03/23/2016 - 11:52

I do 80% of my max curl weight of one rep. Try that to begin with. Then make 5# adjustments down if you need to, to get the desired complete exercise reps. you plan on in your exercise routine You need to focus on what is comfortable for you. Follow these guidelines in Muscle and Strength, they are great I have been using all their recommendations for a couple of years now and I am very pleased with the results.

Posted on: Wed, 10/28/2015 - 06:29

I'm a girl and I can only do two full reps with the empty Olympic bar, can I switch to dumbbells or should I use the easy curl bar until I build up my strength?

Posted on: Sat, 01/25/2014 - 07:50

Can you do this exercise on a smith machine?

Posted on: Sat, 10/24/2015 - 23:11

You can do but the effect will be less; you can compensate by increasing number of reps.

ayaz taqi
Posted on: Tue, 11/26/2013 - 09:08

my left arm is week as my right arm
shuld i lift more weight from my left arm or there is any other way
advise me what shuld i do

bhm dude
Posted on: Sat, 12/21/2013 - 20:45

no, lift the same with both arms.

Posted on: Thu, 06/03/2021 - 15:23

Start with your weaker arm, do desired reps, and then do the same with your dominate arm. It will catch up.

Posted on: Tue, 11/26/2013 - 04:50

Simple but effective exercise . Worth the time.

Posted on: Wed, 11/06/2013 - 23:51

What is the 28 method?

Posted on: Mon, 08/19/2013 - 12:18

Type muscle and strength on youtube you will access the same video

Posted on: Wed, 07/24/2013 - 12:28

Can u use a preacher curl instead and if so does it have the same effect as a barbell?

Posted on: Thu, 06/20/2013 - 09:29

video loading fine in ireland

Posted on: Wed, 06/19/2013 - 07:04

I want personality same like john cena. :-)

Posted on: Mon, 03/25/2013 - 10:31

I have an issue when I do this particular excercise my forearms feel like I am putting too much pressure even though I know my biceps can handle the weight. Are there any alternatives?

Posted on: Thu, 02/18/2016 - 14:33

Lower the weight a bit. Or grab barbells and do like *shrugs* with your wrists. You need to build up forearm strength if you're getting pain.

Sarthak Dhama
Posted on: Mon, 08/16/2021 - 16:42

You could do it with an EZ bar, there isn't any pressure on the forearms with it.

Posted on: Tue, 02/12/2013 - 03:05

video loads fine in germany (100mbit); but should load fast on slower connections too, since its quite small

Posted on: Thu, 02/07/2013 - 13:22

First off thanks... this is a really useful site. A note for those with video loading problems, I've NEVER commented on anything, so this is really a first:

It loads instantly here in London too. From the indications above this is hosted somewhere closer to Europe/Americas than the Antipodes. I can see that it's a TINY video (and bitrate for that matter) in the scheme of the internetz, so if its taking a long time to load you've got bandwidth problems between your computer and the router, or your router and the ISP. (Likely constraint at the local DSLAM if you're on A/DSL, noise on the lines, or maybe other issues if its cable). Also some ISPs give you better throughput for national vs international traffic (largely to do with how much they pay for international traffic vs free local traffic) so it may be that international stuff isn't quite as fast as local stuff. I've got a great connection in London, but even then loading my old NZ/AUS websites takes a while, and I'd expect that.

Posted on: Sat, 12/29/2012 - 00:10

Guys be patient, This is good stuff definitely worth a couple minutes.

Posted on: Sat, 12/15/2012 - 14:16

Hey first time commenting love the website, VERY helpful! Anyway I was wondering if you should only be doing these specific amounts of excersises on the days or are you encouraged to add a couple more?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 12/17/2012 - 16:47

This is a demonstration of how to preform the exercise as part of a well-written program.

MC Tatonka
Posted on: Thu, 10/25/2012 - 02:43

So if your curling an 50lb bar the first week and can only lift it to 6 reps great. When that 50lb bar becomes lighter to you because of added muscle and your lift to the 8th rep it's time to bump up your weight. So the next week you lift a 60lb bar to 6 reps when failing at the 7th rep (meaning your can't do the 7th). And when you can lift that 60lb bar to 8 reps then add more weight till you can only do 6 reps again. Keep repeating and you will add muscle/strength.

Casey Cochran
Posted on: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 19:23

When doing this workout the reps say 8,8,6 do you add weight to go from 8 to 6 reps ? or do the same weight each set of 8 8 then 6 reps?

vishwas shukla
Posted on: Thu, 10/04/2012 - 06:40

yes i add weight to go from 8 to 6 reps but please tell me how much weight shuld i lift in first set, second set and 3 set?

Posted on: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 06:45

No don't add any weight for the last set - you should only barely be making the 8 in the first 2, and so should be so tired that you can only do 6 for the last set. In other words lift heavier.

Jack Crawford
Posted on: Wed, 09/26/2012 - 10:55

Just to say here in UK the videos load instantly, no problem at all.

vishwas shukla
Posted on: Thu, 09/13/2012 - 02:46

how much weight can i lift in sets

Posted on: Sun, 08/26/2012 - 09:20

Is it possible to replace the wide bar with an EZ-bar ... or will that make it a bit easier and a bit different?

Posted on: Thu, 08/23/2012 - 12:52

I have this barbell pole(very old) that is only 4 feet in length wich makes the weight much closer to your side ...like to no is they would do the trick .

been working out for 8 month stong. weight was at 195lbs . now im aroung 206 ...is this a good start? started lifting 72lbs now im heading to 166lbs..and im 25 years old. only thing ive been doing is lifting free weights and bench press and push ups ...these ok?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 08/23/2012 - 15:13

If most of your weight gain is muscle, that's a great start. Regarding your question, those are solid exercise choices. Free weights are considered the best choices, in general.

Posted on: Sun, 07/15/2012 - 23:56

Dose this stuff really work

Posted on: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 11:19

Thanks for this Bicep routine after I was done I almost couldn't shave. Then again this is my first week.

Posted on: Sat, 05/19/2012 - 16:35

any ideas how i could do this at home without a barbell?
or if there any good substitutes?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 05/21/2012 - 10:12

Try dumbbell curls instead.

Posted on: Sun, 05/28/2023 - 03:41

what is equivalent weight of dumbbells? should i do one arm at a time or both?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 05/30/2023 - 20:46

Test your strength with dumbbells because it may be different for you than the equivalent of a barbell. You can do them in alternating fashion or both at the same time. Change it up and do both.

Posted on: Wed, 06/11/2014 - 21:53

With dumbells and do one arm at a time, if you don't have dumbells, just buy some lol

Jonathan Root
Posted on: Mon, 05/07/2012 - 00:01

Video loads within 3 seconds here in America of course having a 12mbps connectionhelps

Freeze man
Posted on: Wed, 05/02/2012 - 19:49

Video loads fine for me