Overview: This exercise is the standing barbell curls. This is the key mass building exercise for the biceps. If your goal is to build overall mass and size to your arms, then this is one of the most important exercises you should add to your arm workout routine. Make sure to keep your elbows into your sides throughout the entire range of the movement and always warm-up first with a set of 15-20 repetitions to get blood into your muscles. You really want to use strict form and exercise technique to ensure you are placing maximum tension on the biceps, so its beneficial to workout in front of a mirror in order to check your form to see how you’re doing. If you’re moving the weight too quickly, just slow the movement down and count to yourself. A good rule of thumb to lift the weight up in 4 seconds and then lower the weight back down in another 4 seconds. This slow rep technique will help you emphasize that 100% of the tension is placed directly on your biceps.
Muscles Targeted: The standing barbell curls target the biceps muscles along with the forearm muscles. This is a core mass building movement for building muscle in the biceps and for overall arm development.
Exercise Advice: Grab a barbell and position your hands at a shoulder width grip with your palms facing up. Curl the barbell up slowly while keeping your elbows close to your sides and keep all of the tension on your biceps muscles. Slowly lower the barbell back to the starting position and repeat.
Things To Avoid: Try to avoid swinging the barbell up by concentrating on keeping your back straight during the movement. If you’re swinging the barbell, its most likely too heavy so decrease the weight to make sure you’re working only your biceps. During the upward movement while curling, do not allow your elbows to go out and away from your sides. This will cause you to use more of your shoulders in the movement which is something you do not want. Keep your elbows into your sides and focus on applying all of the tension on your biceps only.
Reps and Sets: For mass building, focus on 6-8 reps per set for the standing barbell curls and do a total of 2-3 sets of this exercise. For overall development of the biceps, you can focus on 10-12 reps per set. Total sets for biceps should be in the range of 6-8 to hit the muscle hard but not overtrain it. Remember, the larger the muscle group, the more overall sets you will do. So, for legs you can do as many as 12-14 total sets but for a smaller muscle group like the biceps, you only want to do a total of 6-8 sets for optimal growth.