Barbell Curls

Muscles Targeted: The biceps are one of the main flexors of the elbow joint. The biceps are the most obvious muscle located on the front of the upper arm.

Equipment Needed: Straight or cambered barbell. Can be fixed or adjustable weight. If setting up an adjustable weight bar, be sure to use some type of collars to prevent the plates from falling off.

How to Perform: Begin by taking an underhand, shoulder width or wider grip on the bar. Stand with arms fully extended with the bar resting against thighs. Keeping elbows at sides, curl the bar up toward the shoulders, squeeze the biceps, then lower the bar, under control, back to the thighs.

Cautions: It is important to maintain good posture as you perform this exercise. Use strict form to avoid swinging the bar up by using the lower back muscles. Also, avoid using a "death grip" on the bar.

Variations or Substitutes: Barbell curls can be performed with a narrow, medium or wide grip. Experiment to find the grip that is most comfortable for you. You could also choose to perform cable curls using a bar attached to a low pulley on a machine with a weight stack rather than a barbell.

Additional Comments: Barbell curls are good for gaining strength in the biceps muscles, but you may find that your dominate, or stronger arm does more of the work. You can perform dumbbell curls, along with or instead of barbell curls to help solve this problem.

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