Barbell Curl Exercise Guide

Reviewed by Valerie Zeller Valerie Zeller Printable version

Barbell Curl is a strength exercise that works your biceps.

Barbell Curl is a great basic move. When done correctly, it can effectively target your arms and upper body.

It requires barbell to do.

Barbell Curl
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Arms Upper Body Biceps
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Arms Upper Body Biceps

How to do Barbell Curl


Grasp bar with shoulder width underhand handle.


With elbows to side, raise bar until forearms are vertical. Lower until arms are fully extended. Repeat.


  • When elbows are fully flexed, they can travel forward slightly allowing forearms to be no more than vertical. This additional movement allows for relative release of tension in muscles between repetitions. Exercise can also be performed with straight barbell. Movement with cambered bar as shown above is also known as EZ Barbell Curl or EZ Bar Curl.

Illustrated Guide

Learn how to do barbell curl from this step-by-step illustrations:

Barbell Curl 1
Barbell Curl 2

Muscles Worked

The muscles used for barbell curl may change slightly based on the your trained range of motion and technique, but in the most general case, the muscles used for barbell curl are:

Primary Muscles

  • Biceps

Synergyst Muscles

  • Forearm Muscles

Frequently Asked Questions

What muscles does Barbell Curl work?
Barbell Curl works biceps.
What is Barbell Curl good for?
Barbell Curl is beneficial for conditioning and to strengthen. It works the best for arms and upper body, as it works biceps. Barbell Curl is a great strength exercise for men, men over 50, women and women over 50.
Is Barbell Curl a good exercise?
Barbell Curl is a popular strength exercise for biceps.

Training, Progressions and Regressions

Interested in how to improve your Barbell Curl faster?

Barbell Curl Training and Progressions

Standards and Averages

Wonder how do others perform in Barbell Curl and how should you?

Barbell Curl Standards and Averages


Wonder how to work the same muscles with other exercises?

Barbell Curl Alternatives


Wonder how to make Barbell Curl either easier or more challenging?

Barbell Curl Variations

Discover more


Type(s) Strength, Isolated
Muscles Worked Biceps Brachii, Forearm Muscles
Difficulty Level(s) Basic, Easy
Equipment Barbell
Location At Gym

Muscles Worked

Target muscle(s) Biceps
Synergyst muscle(s) Forearm Muscles

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