One-Arm Barbell Curls

Bicep training is fun...let's just get that cleared up right now.

And the two most common exercises for working the biceps are the Barbell Curl and the Dumbbell Curl.

Each have their advantages and disadvantages...

The barbell curl locks you into the movement (which can cause wrist strain) while the dumbbell curl gives freedom of movement, which can often come at the expense of movement strictness.

The One-Arm Barbell Curl that I'm going to show you today is a hybrid movement that combines the two basic formats into one exercise.

 



 

You'll be holding the barbell with one hand in the middle, allowing you the freedom of movement similar to the dumbbell curl, while at the same time requiring balancing the barbell, which increases the strictness of the exercise.

It's a very simple concept and it's going to really challenge your biceps (and grip/forearm strength) strongly.

To do this one, you'll need a barbell (for real).. Olympic bars weigh 45 lbs so if you can't curl at least that much with a single dumbbell, you'll need a smaller bar (the EZ bar will work, too - that weighs 20 lbs, approximately).

When you first grip the bar, you may need to adjust your positioning a bit, if you see the bar start tipping one way or the other. You'll know pretty quick if you need to. Then just perform a curl.

One-Arm Barbell Curls

The balance requirement will force you to keep the bar level, which in turn puts greatest tension on the biceps.

One-Arm Barbell Curls

Come all the way to the top and hold, then lower slowly.

 

A post shared by Nick Nilsson (@nicknilsson1) on

 

Once you've finished your reps on one side, switch to the other.

One-Arm Barbell Curls

One-Arm Barbell Curls

One-Arm Barbell Curls

You'll notice if you try and use a lot of momentum with this exercise, the bar will become unbalanced pretty quickly. This forces you to do the exercise under complete control.

And, of course, you can add weight to the bar. Make sure it's the smallest plates you have available to you when you do.

 

This exercise is actually a very good mass builder for the biceps. Even though it seems like you're not using very much weight, when you do it single-arm and with tight form, it works extremely well.

Another excellent technique for maximizing the effect of the Barbell Curl is the pull-in method.

 

 


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