Straight Bar Standing Biceps Curl

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Straight Bar Standing Biceps Curl – Barbell Biceps Curl

A straight bar standing biceps curl is a classic arm exercise that develops the strength and size of your biceps muscles. This is the most basic biceps exercise, having been performed by bodybuilders since the sport began. There are numerous variations of the exercise, though the standing barbell curl works your biceps hard throughout the whole range of movement.

Standing barbell bicep curl is one of the essential bicep exercises in which you can use slightly greater weights, and therefore it should be started after a warm-up. Barbell biceps curls are therefore perfect as the second exercise during biceps workout. After the muscles are warmed up and pumped up with blood, you can take on a barbell to work them really hard.

How to Do a Straight Bar Biceps Curl?

STARTING POSITION (SETUP): While standing with your legs slightly spread (shoulder-width apart) and knees slightly flexed, grab the barbell with a slightly wider grip (slightly more than shoulder-width apart), keeping your elbows close to the torso and arms fully extended.

Straight bar standing biceps curl

Straight bar standing biceps curl

MOVEMENT (ACTION): Breathing in, raise slowly the arms until you achieve a peak concentration in the biceps (curl the barbell toward your collarbone), and then breathing out, lower the barbell, monitoring the movement at all times. Keep your upper arms close to your sides all the time. Don’t let your elbows to flare out or lift up. The concentric phase should be ended with full extension of the biceps, however, avoiding over-extension of the elbow joints.

Barbell biceps curl - exercise animation

Barbell biceps curl – exercise animation

Useful Tips & Tricks

Of course, as with any other exercise, it is important to have good technique and choose proper weight.

  • Hold the barbell with your palms facing up (underhand grip), spaced slightly more than shoulder width apart. Your arms should be fully extended in the starting position, with the bar resting lightly on your upper thighs.
  • Keep your back straight and your elbows tight to the sides of your body.
  • Bend your elbows as you curl the bar up in a smooth arc towards your shoulders. Keep your upper arms fixed by your sides. Stop just before the bar hits the “gravity line”, the point at which it’s moving horizontally and thus meeting no resistance from gravity.
  • Pause at the top of the movement when your biceps are fully contracted. Your elbows should still be pointing directly down.
  • 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.
  • Excessive weight may lead to torso swinging. Cheated movements are only acceptable in the last 1-2 reps, but these movements are recommended only during the mass building period, when your muscles need exceptionally strong workout impulses. If the weight is too heavy, you will inevitably start to lean back, using your body momentum rather than your biceps to move the weight. This could damage your spine.

Muscles Engaged in a Straight Bar Standing Biceps Curl

  • Main muscles: biceps, brachialis, brachioradialis
  • Secondary muscles: pronator teres, extensor carpi radialis longus, flexor digitorum superficialis,
    flexor carpi radialis
  • Antagonists: triceps, anconeus
Barbell biceps curl - muscles involved

Barbell biceps curl – muscles involved

Exercise Variations

  • Biceps curl with E-Z bar. Some people find that E-Z bar takes pressure off the wrists by putting them in a slightly more neutral position.
  • Wide grip. Grasp the bar with a grip that’s beyond shoulder width. That puts more emphasis on the inner (short) head of the biceps.
  • Very wide grip. Grasp the bar as wide as possible. This puts even more emphasis on the inner head.
  • Close grip. Hold the bar with your hands narrower than shoulder-width apart. This emphasizes the outer (long) head of the biceps.
  • Very close grip. Hold the bar with your hands right next to each other. This adds more emphasis to the outer head of the biceps.

Replacement Exercises

Closing Thoughts

If you want to develop massive, well-defined arms, a straight bar standing biceps curl exercise is a must. It exerts a lot of tension on the biceps, the large muscle group located mainly in the upper arm.

This is really a basic, heavy biceps exercise that is suitable for any level and makes intense use of both the long and short heads. If you use a wide grip, the short head will work harder, and if you use a narrow grip, the long head will. There is not a large difference, however.

To get maximum benefit from a straight bar standing biceps curl, it’s critical to keep your upper and lower body stationary as you lift. Wear a belt to help stabilize your lower back. Don’t let your elbows move in front of your body as you lift, because that shifts some of the work from your biceps to your shoulders. If you can’t keep your upper and lower body stationary while performing standing barbell curls, you’re using too much weight. Proper form is more important than heavy weight.

Be careful not to relax your arms when they are fully extended to avoid injuring the tendons. In statistical terms, human beings can raise the forearms around 90-degrees in a palms-up position (supination), although this may be uncomfortable or even painful for the wrists, especially when holding a heavy weight. If this is your case, you should opt for the E-Z bar variant or dumbbells.

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