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Barbell curls

One of the most popular weight training exercises, the barbell curl recruit's the elbow flexor muscles, the biceps brachii, in an isolated manner. Often commonly performed with a shoulder width grip, the barbell curl is sometimes performed with a variation of width grips in the hope of supplying slightly differing stress to the elbow flexor muscles. Using a barbell can often be stressful on the wrist joint, and it would be wise to choose a width which is comfortable and allows you to perform a full range of motion with no discomfort.

The form of the barbell curl should remain strict, with the elbow flexors recruiting to move the weight, with no aid from other muscles or body movement. If the desired repetitions can not be performed without cheating the weight up the resistance should be reduced. The exercise can be performed by advanced training implementing "cheat reps", but this is a method of increasing intensity and should not be used by the average gym goer, or used frequently by the elite.

Performing barbell curls

When training for muscular size it is often best to train in a rep range of 6-12 repetitions, although there is often much debate on the optimal rep range. It would be advisable to experiment with different ranges to see which suits you.

  • Load bar with correct weight. Put on safety collars.
  • Grasp bar with an underhand, shoulder width grip (or relevant width).
  • Keep torso erect and back straight, with upper arms and elbows stationary at your sides.
  • Just using flexion of the elbow, contract the bicep brachii and other elbow flexors to curl the bar up. Keep elbows stationary throughout exercise.
  • After peak contraction, slowly lower the bar to the start position, maintaining good body posture and stationary elbows.
  • Repeat for desired number of repetitions.

Barbell curls courtesy of Fitness Uncovered - Bodybuilding & Fitness

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