Exercise #4 - Incline Barbell Curls

I'll just start by saying the Incline Dumbell Curl is one of the best bicep exercises you can do, without question. So how can it be done with a barbell instead of dumbells? Easy.

Instead of using dumbells and letting the arms hang down beside your body, we're going to use the incline bench to hit the biceps in a somewhat different manner.

If you've ever done a seated barbell curl where you sit on a bench and start with the barbell resting on your thighs, you'll know how this one starts.

Now, instead of sitting with your torso vertical, you will instead be lying back on the incline. This exercise resembles a sort of preacher curl mechanic in that it allows you to really hit the lower aspect of the biceps because of the angle of your upper arms and how the resistance is moved.


Here's the setup - incline bench and a barbell. That's it. I'm using the EZ Curl bar in the pictures but you can use pretty much any bar for this one.

Lean forward and pick up the barbell, sit on the bench and rest the barbell on your lap. Your grip on the bar should be such that your hands are resting on your thighs and NOT the bar itself resting on your thighs - this makes the exercise more comfortable at the bottom.

Now, with the bar starting a from a dead stop (no bicep tension) and arms straight, start curling the weight up.

Come all the way up to the top of the curl position. Since you're leaning back, most of the tension on the biceps is going to come from just holding the weight up rather than from the contraction, so be sure to focus on maintaining a conscious bicep squeeze at the top.

I'll tell you, though, even just holding the weight in this position, supported by your biceps really DOES keep good tension on all by itself.

Lower the barbell slowly back down to your thighs. When using heavier weight, rest the bar completely on your thighs again, taking the weight off the biceps. That way, you'll start from a dead stop again. The video shows this well.

Here's the front view:

Another technique you can use with great effect on this exercise is to reduce the weight and do reps WITHOUT resting the barbell on your thighs at the bottom of each rep.

This is VERY challenging because at the bottom, you're supporting the whole weight on the biceps (and shoulders to some degree). You'll definitely need a lighter weight for this one but it really works like crazy.

Try not to let your elbows fully lock out at the bottom here...keep a very slight bend to maintain tension in the biceps at the bottom.

This technique is found at the end of the video below so be sure to watch it all the way through. You'll really hit the biceps hard with this one!

It looks like a lazy man's curl but it'll give your biceps a run for their money.




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