Building impressive biceps is a goal shared by many fitness enthusiasts, and the barbell is an essential tool in achieving this. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore why barbells are exceptional for bicep growth, unveil eight of the best barbell bicep exercises, detail a complete barbell bicep workout, and provide valuable insights into bicep anatomy and workout considerations. Get ready to sculpt those bulging biceps!
Why Are Barbells Good For Bicep Growth?
Before we dive into the specifics, let’s understand why barbells are a fantastic choice for achieving those coveted bulging biceps. Barbells offer several advantages for bicep development:
- Load Control: Barbells allow precise control over the amount of weight lifted, making it easier to track progress and gradually increase resistance for muscle growth.
- Balanced Development: Barbells promote balanced bicep growth since both arms must lift an equal weight. This helps prevent muscle imbalances.
- Variety of Exercises: With a barbell, you can perform a wide range of bicep exercises, targeting different parts of the muscle for well-rounded development.
8 Best Barbell Bicep Exercises For A Barbell Bicep Workout
1. Barbell Curl
How To Do Barbell Curl:
- Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, ensuring a stable base.
- Grasp the barbell with your palms facing forward, hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Keep your upper arms close to your torso and slowly curl the weight upwards towards your chest.
- As you curl, maintain control and avoid swinging or using momentum.
- Once the barbell reaches chest level, pause momentarily to maximize the bicep contraction.
- Slowly lower the weight back down to the starting position with controlled motion.
Barbell Curl Benefits:
The Barbell Curl is a fundamental exercise for targeting the biceps and the brachialis, a muscle underneath the biceps. This exercise is ideal for building both mass and strength in the bicep region. Its simplicity and effectiveness make it a cornerstone of any bicep-focused workout.
2. Barbell Preacher Curl
How To Do Barbell Preacher Curl:
- Position yourself at a preacher bench with your chest against the pad.
- Grip the barbell with your palms facing upward, keeping your hands shoulder-width apart.
- While maintaining a solid grip, slowly curl the barbell upwards as high as possible.
- Pay close attention to the contraction of the biceps during this motion.
- Lower the barbell back down to the starting position under control, avoiding any rapid movements.
Barbell Preacher Curl Benefits:
The Barbell Preacher Curl is exceptional for isolating the biceps. By using the preacher bench, this exercise minimizes cheating or using momentum to lift the weight, ensuring a strict focus on the biceps. It’s a valuable addition to achieving muscle definition in your biceps.
3. Barbell 21s
How To Do Barbell 21s:
- Barbell 21s are similar to 21s but involve a barbell for added resistance.
- The exercise follows the same three-part pattern: lower half, upper half, and full range.
- Use the barbell for this exercise instead of dumbbells or an EZ curl bar.
Barbell 21s Benefits:
Barbell 21s provide a challenging twist to the classic 21s, introducing additional resistance from the barbell. This variation helps build muscle mass, strength, and endurance in the biceps.
4. Barbell Spider Curl
How To Do Barbell Spider Curl:
- Position yourself face down on an incline bench set to a slight incline.
- Grip the barbell with your palms facing up, ensuring a grip slightly wider than shoulder-width.
- Keep your upper arms perpendicular to the bench and curl the barbell upwards.
- Maintain the support of the bench during the entire range of motion.
Barbell Spider Curl Benefits:
The Barbell Spider Curl is an excellent exercise for targeting the biceps while minimizing any swinging or cheating. The incline bench support ensures a controlled and focused movement.
5. Reverse Grip Barbell Curl
How To Do Reverse Grip Barbell Curl:
- Begin by gripping the barbell with your palms facing down, hands shoulder-width apart.
- Keep your upper arms close to your torso throughout the exercise.
- Curl the barbell upward, emphasizing the lower biceps.
- Focus on the controlled contraction as you lift the weight.
Reverse Grip Barbell Curl Benefits:
This exercise shifts the emphasis to the lower bicep region. It’s a valuable addition to your routine for balanced bicep development.
6. Zottman Curl
How To Do Zottman Curl:
- Start with your palms facing up, gripping the barbell with hands shoulder-width apart.
- Curl the barbell upwards, then twist your wrists mid-rep to bring your palms down.
- As your palms face down, lower the weight back to the starting position.
Zottman Curl Benefits:
The Zottman Curl is unique as it engages both bicep heads and the forearms. This exercise provides a holistic approach to upper arm development.
7. Barbell 90-Degree Curl
How To Do Barbell 90-Degree Curl:
- Curl the barbell to a 90-degree angle at the elbow.
- Maintain this right angle throughout the set, avoiding any additional movement.
Barbell 90-Degree Curl Benefits:
The Barbell 90-Degree Curl isolates the biceps and places a strong emphasis on enhancing the peak development of the muscle. This exercise can help you achieve that desirable bicep peak.
8. Barbell Drag Curl
How To Do Barbell Drag Curl:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Hold the barbell with an underhand grip (palms facing up) and hands placed slightly closer than shoulder-width apart.
- Keep your elbows close to your body throughout the exercise.
- Start with the barbell resting against your upper thighs.
- Slowly curl the barbell up towards your upper chest while keeping it in contact with your body.
- Focus on the contraction of the biceps as you lift the weight.
- Pause briefly at the top of the movement, then lower the barbell back down to the starting position along the same path.
Barbell Drag Curl Benefits:
The Barbell Drag Curl is an excellent choice to target the biceps with a unique twist. Keeping the barbell close to your body throughout the movement emphasizes the bicep muscles while minimizing involvement from other muscle groups. This exercise can contribute to overall bicep growth and definition.
The Full Barbell Bicep Workout
|Barbell Curl||3 Sets of 8 Repetitions|
|Barbell Preacher Curl||3 Sets of 8 Repetitions|
|Barbell 21s||3 Sets of 8 Repetitions|
|Barbell Spider Curl||3 Sets of 8 Repetitions|
|Reverse Grip Barbell Curl||3 Sets of 8 Repetitions|
|Zottman Curl||3 Sets of 8 Repetitions|
|Barbell 90-Degree Curl||3 Sets of 8 Repetitions|
|Barbell Drag Curl||3 Sets of 8 Repetitions|
Anatomy Of The Biceps
Understanding the anatomy of the biceps is essential for effective bicep training. The biceps consist of two main muscles:
The Long Head
This component of the biceps is positioned on the outer side of the upper arm. It plays a crucial role in creating the bicep’s characteristic “peak.” When someone flexes their arm and you see that prominent bulge, you’re admiring the work of the long head. It’s the part responsible for the impressive elevation of the bicep and gives it that aesthetically pleasing appearance.
The Short Head
The short head of the biceps resides on the inner side of the upper arm. While it may not be as prominently visible as the long head, it’s equally vital. The short head contributes significantly to the overall size and girth of the bicep. It helps round out the muscle and ensures that your biceps don’t just look good from the side but also when viewed head-on.
Final Thoughts On Bicep Workouts With A Barbell
A well-structured barbell bicep workout can lead to significant muscle growth and definition. To get the best results, keep in mind to switch up your routine, gradually raise the weights, and give perfect form priority. You may achieve the bulging biceps you’ve been striving for by including these workouts in your workout routine.
Can women benefit from barbell bicep workouts?
Absolutely. Barbell bicep workouts are effective for both men and women looking to build arm strength and definition.
How often should I train my biceps with a barbell workout?
It’s generally recommended to train biceps 1-2 times per week with adequate rest in between.
Can I use an EZ curl bar for these exercises?
Yes, an EZ curl bar is a suitable alternative to a straight barbell, and it may be more comfortable for some individuals.
Are barbell bicep exercises suitable for beginners?
Yes, beginners can incorporate barbell bicep exercises into their routine, starting with lighter weights and focusing on proper form.
Should I combine bicep workouts with other muscle groups on the same day?
You can combine bicep workouts with other muscle groups like back or triceps for a balanced workout routine.
- Resistance training – health benefits. Retrieved from https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/resistance-training-health-benefits
- What Causes Muscle Imbalances and How to Fix Them. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/muscle-imbalance