What is a Barbell Curl?

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  • Written By: Dulce Corazon
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 16 February 2020
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In the world of male testosterone, the size of the bicep muscles signify masculinity and level of sex appeal to the opposite sex. This generated the ever-popular question of how to increase the size of the biceps. The usual answer to this most popular question is the barbell curl. A barbell curl is a type of an exercise that uses weight lifting equipment like the barbell set. Such an exercise targets the bicep muscles in the upper arm.

Doing the exercise follows certain steps. With the use of a barbell, the barbell curl is done by grasping the bar using a shoulder-width underhand grip. With elbows close to the body, the bar is raised in an arc until the forearms are in vertical positions. The bar is then lowered until the arms become fully extended.

Individuals doing the barbell curl often keep in mind that the purpose of the exercise is to stimulate and not annihilate the bicep muscles.  The correct weight to use is very important and each individual has his own correct weight. Jerking or swinging movements when executing the exercise usually signals a load that is too heavy. By decreasing the plate loads, the right feel of the weights can be determined. In terms of sets and repetitions, the usual count is three sets of ten repetitions, with rests of 30 seconds to one minute per set.


The principle of stimulating and not annihilating the bicep muscles in the execution of the barbell curl does not necessarily mean that if an individual can lift the barbell with his heaviest load it is already the correct weight. In many cases, by using a lighter weight and delaying the movement of execution from two seconds to four seconds, the effectiveness of the exercise is greatly increased. In short, quality is the focus and quantity acts only as a guide to proper muscle stimulation. There is generally a close relationship between using lighter weights and slowing down execution with appropriate muscular stimulation. Overloading, on the other hand, closely relates to muscular annihilation.

There are several modified or similar exercises patterned to the barbell curl. Among them is the dumbbell curl, which fundamentally targets the same muscle group. The primary difference is that the dumbbell curl isolates each arm during execution, while the barbell curl uses both simultaneously. In terms of popularity though, the barbell curl is the model of bicep training.


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