OKTOBERFEST Sale Use OKTFEST30 to Get 30% OFF Storewide

10 Best Barbell Workouts for Biceps Size and Strength

By Born Tough on

Want to build your biceps up with barbells? Looking for the best barbell workouts to get stronger and bigger biceps? We got you covered!

A barbell is a great tool for working biceps as its heavy load is extremely effective in activating bicep heads.  Barbell workouts, when done correctly, can add serious strength and size to all the muscles in your biceps.

Here you will learn about the best barbell workouts which you can use to make your biceps stronger and bigger over time.

1. Introduction

Introduction

1.1. What are Biceps?

Biceps or bicep brachii are the muscles located on the upper part of your forearm. The main function of the biceps is to flex the elbow and rotate the forearm.
You must know the anatomy of the biceps to understand how to use a barbell to work the bicep muscles properly.

1.2. Anatomy of Biceps

Anatomy of Biceps

Bicep brachii consists of two heads, long and short, both of which arise from the scapula bone in the shoulder and meet to form a muscle mass in the middle of the arm. Tendons are present at each end of these heads that connect muscles to bones.

  • Short Head: It originates from the coracoid projection on the scapula bone and runs on the inside of the arm alongside the long head.
  • Long Head: It originates from the glenoid cavity in the scapula bone and passes to the upper arm through a shoulder joint.

To get bigger and stronger biceps, you need to target all these parts effectively which can be done by using barbells.

2. Why are Barbells Good for Biceps?

A barbell is an ideal option for strengthening and building mass in your biceps. A barbell helps you to work both arms at the same time. Consequently, you can curl more weight with a barbell than compared with a dumbbell.

This heavy lifting provided by the barbell is great at stimulating bicep muscles’ growth and strength.

According to a 2014 study conducted by the American Council on Exercise (ACE)
“One of the best exercises for biceps include curling or lifting weight up towards the shoulder.”

3. How to Decide Which Barbell Weight for Working Biceps?

The amount of weight you should lift depends on your goals.

  • If you want to build bicep strength, you need to lift a heavy weight with less reps. Ideally, you should lift a weight that allows you to complete at least 5-7 reps.
  • If you want to build muscle mass, you need to lift lighter weight with more reps. Ideally, you should lift a weight that allows you to perform at least 8-12.

However, the standard weight of the barbell for biceps curl is around 110 lbs or 50 kg.

  • For men performing 6-10 reps, it should be around 35 kg.
  • For women performing 6-10 reps, it should be around 22 kg.

4. Best Barbell Workouts for Bicep Size and Strength

In general, barbell curls are considered the best barbell workout for biceps as they can effectively target your bicep brachii.

Many variations of these curls can be utilized in a unique sequence to make your biceps stronger and bigger over time. These include:

4.1. Standing Barbell Curl

How does it work?

The standing barbell bicep curl targets the forearm muscles, mainly the brachii and brachialis. It allows you to overload your biceps with a heavyweight, aiding in greater control and stability.

It is a classic barbell bicep curl that is great for increasing the size and strength of your biceps when performed correctly.

How to Perform?

Standing Barbell Curl

  • Stand straight while holding a  barbell in both hands with an underhand grip. Keep your hands apart slightly wider than your hip.
  • Bring your chest up, and shoulder back, and curl the barbell up while bracing your core until it reaches your shoulder level.
  • Hold that pause for a moment. Then slowly lower the barbell to the starting position.
  • Keep your upper arms and back straight throughout the exercise.

Workout Plan:

  • Complete 2-4 sets with 8-12 reps

Pro Tip:

  • Always start with a lower weight to make your biceps do all the work. Make sure to control your momentum throughout the exercise and perform it in a controlled manner.

4.2. Reverse Barbell Curl

How does it work?

The barbell reverse curl mainly targets brachii, brachialis, and brachioradialis. It is particularly effective in strengthening the biceps and forearms.

According to a study published in Peer Journal
“Practi
cing barbell curls with a reverse handgrip increases brachioradialis activation, which promotes elbow flexor hypertrophy and helps you create powerful arms.”

How to Perform?

Reverse Barbell Curl

  • Stand straight with a barbell in both hands in an overhand grip.
  • Curl the barbell up by keeping your elbows in a fixed position until it reaches your shoulders.
  • Squeeze your biceps at the top. Then slowly lower the barbell to the starting position.
  • Keep your upper arms and back straight throughout the movement.

Workout Plan:

  • Complete at least three sets with 10-12 reps.

4.3. Prone Incline Barbell Curl

How does it work?

A prone incline barbell curl mainly targets biceps brachii, along with forearm flexors, brachialis, and brachioradialis. This workout helps you to focus on the short and long heads of the biceps without putting too much strain on your back.

How to Perform?

Prone Incline Barbell Curl

  • Place your barbell in front of the bench and set the bench angle inclined at 30-45°.
  • Lie on your stomach on top of the bench until your neck is fully extended. Keep your face down and your arms below the shoulders, allowing you to hold the bar.
  • With an underhand grip, grab the bar firmly and engage your upper body.
  • Curl your arms in front of your shoulders, squeeze your biceps, and hold that pause for a few seconds.
  • Then lower your arms to the starting position and repeat.

Workout Plan:

  • Perform 3 to 4  sets of 10 to 12 reps

4.4. EZ Bar Biceps Curl

How does it work?

The EZ bar bicep curl is one of the most effective isolation exercises for activating the bicep muscles and assisting in the development of strong and large arms. It allows you to lift more weight without putting much strain on your elbows and forearms.

How to Perform?

EZ Bar Biceps Curl

  • Stand straight by holding the EZ barbell in both hands with an underhand grip. Keep your elbows tucked at your side.
  • Inhale and curl the bar up by contracting your biceps until it reaches your shoulders.
  • Pause for a moment, squeeze your biceps at the top, and then slowly lower the EZ barbell to the starting position.

Workout Plan:

  • Perform 2 to 3  sets of 8 to 12 reps

4.5. Barbell Drag Curl

How does it work?

Drag curls, unlike ordinary curls, emphasize the often-overlooked long head of the biceps, which helps to generate better bicep peaks and build up mass in your biceps.

This is because they require you to curl your elbows behind your body. This biomechanically exerts strain on your biceps' outer muscle fibers.

How to Perform?

Barbell Drag Curl

  • Stand straight by holding the barbell with an underhand grip. Keep your arms straight in front of you.
  • Inhale and drag the barbell up to your body. Allow your elbow to move back to your torso.
  • Keep curling the weight up until your biceps are fully extended.
  • Then slowly lower the barbell to the starting position and repeat.

Workout Plan:

  • Complete 3 to 5 sets of 12 to 15 reps.

4.6. Barbell Bent-Over Row

How does it work?

Barbell bent-over row involves a supinated grip (palms facing upwards) which can engage the biceps to a greater extent. Due to its pull movement, it activates the upper biceps brachii and enables you to build biceps in combination with your back muscles.

How to Perform?

Barbell Bent-Over Row

  • Stand straight with a barbell placed in front of you. Keep your feet apart at shoulder width, closer to the bar.
  • Bend down and grab the barbell with a supinated grip, hands slightly wider than your shoulder. Keep your spine neutral and your head up.
  • Bend at your knees and hips while engaging your core.
  • Lift the bar towards your rib cage and pause for a moment.
  • Then slowly lower the barbell to the starting position and repeat.

Workout Plan:

  • Complete three sets with 10 to 12 reps.

4.7. Barbell Preacher Curl

How does it work?

The barbell preacher curl is one of the most popular bicep workouts that can be performed with a simple barbell.

It enables you to isolate your two heads more precisely and aids in the development of strength and growth in your biceps over time.

How to Perform?

Barbell Preacher Curl

  • Use a barbell with the appropriate amount of weight and place it on the preacher's bench.
  • Sit on the preacher's bench. Lower and grab the bar with an underhand grip.
  • Keep your triceps resting on the bench and curl your arms towards your shoulders until your biceps are fully squeezed.
  • Hold for a moment, then lower the bar to the starting position.

Workout Plan:

  • Complete 3 to 5 sets with 10 to 15 reps.

4.8. Barbell Concentration Curl

How does it work?

The barbell concentration curl targets both heads of the bicep brachii and helps you to build stronger biceps with greater muscle mass.

You can perform it either standing or seated. This concentration curl can generate stronger muscle pumps and peak contractions. Performing high reps is recommended for maximizing its metabolic effects.

How to Perform?

Barbell Concentration Curl

  • Use a barbell with the appropriate amount of weight and place it towards your front.
  • Bend over and grab the barbell with a supinated grip.
  • Support your elbows against your knees and curl the bar towards your shoulders until your biceps are fully flexed.
  • Hold for a moment, then lower the bar to the starting position until your elbows are fully extended.

Workout Plan:

  • Complete 2 to 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps.

4.9. Barbell Spider Curl

How does it work?

The barbell spider curl is the best way to work your biceps if you have access to a bench or bar. It targets your biceps muscles in a shortened position and is best performed with lighter weights so you can feel your target muscle.

How to Perform?

Barbell Spider Curl

  • Lie on your stomach on top of the inclined bench. Keep your face down and your chest at the end of the bench. Keep your feet firmly on the ground.
  • Lower and grab a lightweight barbell with a supinated grip while keeping your arms at shoulder width.
  • Keep your elbows still and curl up the barbell towards your shoulders until the undersides of your arms are pressed forcefully against your biceps.
  • Squeeze your biceps and hold for a moment.
  • Finally, lower the bar to starting position in a controlled manner until your elbows are fully extended.

Workout Plan:

  • Complete 3 to 5 sets of 10 to 15 reps.

4.10. Close and Wide-Grip Barbell Curl

How does it work?

The wide grip barbell curl targets the short head of the bicep brachii and helps build up strength, while the narrow grip barbell curl targets the long head of the bicep brachii and helps build up muscle mass.

How to Perform?

Wide-Grip Barbell Curl

Wide-Grip Barbell Curl

  • Stand straight and hold the barbell in both hands with an underhand grip, while spread apart even wider than shoulder width.
  • Curl the barbell upward while bracing your core until it reaches shoulder level.
  • Squeeze your biceps at the top when they come closer to your forearms.
  • Hold for a moment and slowly lower the barbell to the starting position.

Close-Grip Barbell Curl

Close-Grip Barbell Curl

  • For a close-grip barbell curl, hold the barbell with a narrow underhand grip so that your elbows are placed towards your front instead of your sides.
  • Then follow the same steps as for the wide-grip barbell curls.

Workout Plan:

  • Complete 3 to 4 sets of 8-12 reps

5. Beginner Barbell Workout Plan for Bicep Strength

Exercises Reps Sets
Standing Barbell Curls 6-8 4-5
Drag Curls 8-12 3-4
Reverse Curls 10-15 4

6. 20-Minute Barbell Workout Plan for Bicep Strength

Exercises Reps Sets
Standing Barbell Curls 10-12 4-5
Barbell Preacher Curl 8-12 3-5
Close-Grip Barbell Curl 16-20 3-4
Reverse Barbell Curl 10-12 2

7. 30-Minute Barbell Workout Plan for Bicep Size and Strength

Exercises Reps Sets
Standing Barbell Curls 10-12 3
Prone Incline Barbell Curl 10-12 2
Barbell Preacher Curl 10-12 3
EZ-Barbell Curl 10-12 2
Barbell Concentration Curl 10-12 3
Reverse Barbell Curl 10-12 2

8. Takeaways

Although the biceps seems like a small group of muscles, working these muscles requires time, expertise, and intelligent training. Therefore, be careful in selecting your workouts.

Try to start with a combination of three to four of the exercises mentioned above before jumping into an extensive workout. Make sure to properly warm up before these workouts and allow yourself enough recovery time after finishing.

 "This article is originally posted on borntough.com, and borntough.com own the sole copyright on this article. If you read this article outside borntough.com, please report this website to the authority because they have stolen the content from borntough.com and violated borntough copyright"