5 Tips for a Bigger Bicep Curl

~ 5 minute read

So you want to build bigger arms

You are hitting them every day and still no growth

Your calories have increased to add some inches on the biceps but it seems to be just going into your love handles instead

Maybe, just maybe, you just need to get stronger and add some more stress directly onto the biceps

A Barbell Bicep Curl is a compound lift if you lift heavy enough


Why not vary your reps?

Rather than always doing 8-12 ‘The Growth Zone’, throw a curve ball and hit some 4-6 reps and then blast them with 20+ reps

Variety not only keeps things fun but also gives you the opportunity to see what works for you, what feels good and what you want to focus in on

Progressive overload doesn’t only have to be for your main lifts, like your Squat, Bench Press or Deadlift

Treat your bicep curl like a main lift. Don’t go into a bicep curl at the end of the session with the lackadaisical effort.

Of course they won’t grow with that mindset

Throw them in at the start of your session and give them a priority for a few weeks, or if you want to keep them in at the end still, up your intensity and get to work

When I do Barbell Bicep Curls, I like to treat them as I would a compound lift.⁣

Rob's Strength Method

Focus I Brace I Execute

Some may say they’re an isolation exercise but I’d argue that if its heavy enough, I definitely argue a case for it being a compound lift⁣


Here are my 5 Performance Points that you can execute straight away to build a bigger bicep curl⁣


⛔️ Stop shrugging when you curl⁣. To often I see lifters initiate a curl with a shrug of the shoulders

✅ Try keeping your shoulders depressed as you curl to really light up your arms rather than shoulders⁣. This will take the stress away from your anterior shoulder and give your bicep the space it needs to get a full contraction


⛔️ Stop using limp wrists when you curl. Limp wrists puts all the weight into your wrist and cause serious discomfort as well as inhibit loading

✅ Why not try, keeping your forearms engaged, with your wrists slightly curled in towards you⁣ to create a stronger base


⛔️ Stop forgetting about your midline when you initiate the curl⁣. Imagine trying to perform an exercise standing on a jelly floor. It would be very challenging to move a heavy load

✅ Try bracing before each rep, like you are about to perform a heavy squat or deadlift (If you don’t know how to brace, imagine you are about to be punched in the stomach and don’t want to get winded)⁣


⛔️ Stop rowing the bar rather than curling it. Yes this is technically a ‘Drag Curl’ but if you are looking to maximise the tension through the full muscle, then perform a full range of motion curl⁣

✅ To maximise range of motion, keep your elbows locked in to your sides and slightly forward. Then brace and close the angle between your forearm and your biceps and squeeze the f**k out of your bicep at the top ⁣


⛔️ Lastly, stop bringing your elbows forward and up at the top of the rep⁣. This is using gravity to rest at the top

✅ Allow the elbow to move slightly but ensure they do not cause your forearm to be perpendicular with the floor. This will keep peak tension in the bicep. Too often i see people finish their curls off with their elbows facing forward⁣


⛔️ Following on from the point above, as you lower the weight, do not use your shoulders. This would then just be an eccentric shoulder roll

✅ Your elbow is the hinge in this exercise, so initiate the lowering phase from your elbow rather than rolling your shoulders forward


Remember, whether you use a Barbell or Dumbbells to perform bicep curls, the idea is to take your bicep through ‘IT’S’ fullest range of motion, not the fullest range of motion for the piece of kit, from your hips to your chest⁣ if your goal is overall size & strength

Once you hit perpendicular with the floor, gravity takes over. If we’re looking for growth, we want maximal tension kept in the target muscle⁣

Also, if you’re still on the fence of whether a barbell bicep curl is a compound lift, then the fact you deadlift it up from the floor surely makes it a compound exercise right

BONUS POINT for the film reference at the start of the video

UPDATE: 21.10.21

Check out my 30 day Arm Experiment Blog post 30 Day Arm Experiment and download the interactive PDF that is guaranteed to pack muscle onto your arms for ONLY £9.99.


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