Barbell and EZ-Bar Curls

Technique Summary

Stand with legs at shoulder length. Hold the barbell with an underhand grip at shoulder width. Hold your arms close to your body. Lift the bar by flexing your biceps. Exhale as you lift the weight, inhale as you lower it.

Exercise Type: Isolation
Primary Muscle: Biceps Brachii

Technique Details

Barbell Curl is one of the most commonly used isolation exercises for biceps. This exercise is for your biceps, so avoid involving any other muscle group. This means don’t cheat by pulling your shoulders up, jerking your body, or swinging the weight. The movement should be isolated to your elbow. Focus on a deliberate contraction and a full range of motion. Completely lower the weight without locking out your elbows and bring the weight all the way up for a peak contraction. Never let the barbell rest on your legs. You should feel pressure on your biceps throughout the entire set.

Barbell Preacher Curls

Technique Summary

Adjust the seat cushion to a level where the pad fits directly under your armpits.  Keep the back of your hand - elbow to armpit - flat on the pad throughout the exercise.  Lift the barbell by flexing your biceps.  Exhale as you bring the weight up, inhale as you bring it down.

Exercise Type: Isolation
Primary Muscle: Biceps Brachii

Technique Details

Barbell Preacher Curl is a great isolation exercise for developing biceps brachii.  The preacher bench makes it easy to keep proper form by stabilizing your arms.  To maintain good form you need to keep the back of your upper arm pinned to the pad throughout the motion.  Adjust the pad to fit comfortably under your armpits.  Sit with your back straight and feet flat on the floor.  Position your elbows in line or slightly wider than your shoulders (arm structure varies by person so choose the position that suits you best).  The motion should be limited to your arm elbow down.  Do not bring the weight all the way up.  Doing so takes the pressure off biceps.  Bring the weight up until your forearm makes a 30 degree angle with your bicep.  You should bring the weight all the way down without locking out your arms at the elbows.  Locking your elbows may lead to tendonitis. 

Dumbbell Curls

Technique Summary

Place your feet at shoulder width and hold dumbbells at your sides. Lift one dumbbell at a time by flexing your biceps - bending your arm at the elbow and turning palms in to face you on contraction. Breathe out on the way up and breathe in on the way down.

Exercise Type: Isolation
Primary Muscle:Biceps Brachii

Technique Details

Dumbbell curl is a very effective and well known isolation exercise for your biceps. To perform the exercise you first need to establish a good base with your body. A good base helps maintain balance, maximize the contraction, and minimize injury. Position your feet at shoulder width. Adjust the width of your stance to comfort. I find it helpful to maintain a slight bend in my knees. When I go heavy this helps me adjust my body to keep balance without rocking back and forth. Do not move back and forth or help yourself lift by pushing out from your feet. You should also keep your back straight and shoulders back. Pressing the upper arm into your body helps stabilize your hands as you lift. Experiment with different positions and choose one that feels most natural and allows your body to remain stable with only your arms bending at the elbow.