The Standing Barbell Curl has been much
maligned in recent years.
The Standing Barbell Curl has
been much maligned in recent years with some claiming that
technically it's really an inferior exercise for developing biceps'
mass. Others continue to swear by this old standard and make it an
intricate part of their arm development strategy.
Having done my fair share of every type of curl, I still see an
important place for the Standing Barbell Curl with two important
stipulations: I'm convinced that the keys to getting great results
with this exercise are form and grip.
There's no doubt that most people don't get as much as they can out
of Barbell Curls because they use terrible form. While it's
occasionally OK to cheat on a forced rep or two by swinging the
weight up a bit, by-and-large you want to keep your body still,
your elbows in tight to your sides, and your biceps pumping.
The other often overlooked key is, of course, hand position. While
variation is always a good idea, I prefer to use a fairly narrow
grip with most of my Barbell Curls. Eight to twelve inches apart is
By keeping your grip in tight, you'll hit both the medial and
lateral heads on the biceps hard. Using a wider grip tend to shift
the stress onto the medial head, taking the lateral head pretty
much out of the picture.
An added benefit of a narrower grip is that you'll also work the
brachialis fairly significantly. As I've written many times, the
brachialis is one of the real keys to developing that fully peaked,
muscular line to the biceps.
The standing barbell curl may also be performed with the cambered bar as shown below: