Last Updated on September 13, 2022 by TJ Daniels, Certified Personal Trainer
Barbell exercises are a great way to increase your bicep size. These weights can be stacked heavier than dumbbells which means that they activate your bicep heads more strongly and can result in quicker gains.
However, getting the most out of your barbell exercises requires the right exercises as some will be more effective than others.
In this article, we will look at the 10 best barbell biceps exercises for ultimate growth. All of these exercises will be effective at working out and increasing the size and strength of your biceps.
This is a classic biceps-building exercise for a reason. It’s both easy to do and also very effective. Begin by gripping the bar with an underhand grip. Your hands should be placed on the bar so they’re a little wider than hip-width apart.
Curl your arms so that your bicep becomes squeezed and the bar is lifted, making sure that your elbows are tucked at your sides, your core is tight, and your back is straight. Once lifted, pause for a few seconds and then slowly lower it back down so your arms are straight again.
Barbell High Pull
Although this is a great biceps workout, it’s also a full-body workout so you will truly get the most out of this exercise. Grip your bar with an overhand grip and your hands should be hip-width apart. Plant your feet firmly and make sure they are shoulder-width apart.
Bend at the hips, keeping your arms straight and positioned outside of your knees. Pull the bar up quickly and try to get it as close to your neck as possible.
You should feel the muscles in your biceps, shoulders, and traps working hard as you move. Pause for a beat at the height of your lift and then lower the bar back down.
Barbell Preacher Curl
If you are a beginner at barbell exercises and are worried about your form, then preacher curls are a great way to ensure that you are lifting correctly as the preacher pad forces your body to assume the correct position.
Begin by loading your bar into the preacher rack and then sit down so your arms are over the pad. Take hold of the bar with an underhand grip and your hands shoulder-width apart.
Make sure your arms are braced against the preacher pad and lift the weights up, toward your shoulders. Keep lifting until your forearms press against your biceps. Hold the weight for a few moments before gently lowering it.
Barbell Spider Curl
You will need a bench for this exercise, but it is one of the best ways to effectively work out your biceps with a barbell. It’s best with medium or light weights, so don’t overload your barbell.
Sit backward on the bench so that the front of your body is pressed against the backrest from sternum to waist, with your weight lying on it and your feet firmly on the floor. Pick up the bar with a supinated grip and your hands around shoulder-width apart.
Lift the bar so that your elbows curl as the weights move towards your shoulders. Keep lifting until your forearms press against your biceps. Hold the weight for a beat and then slowly lower it back down.
Barbell T Bar Row
This is a fun inclusion in any barbell bicep routine because of how different it is from most other exercises. Remove all of the plates from one end of the bar and position it so it is safely tucked into a corner and will not roll around.
You can remove all of the plates from the end too if you wish or leave a light weight there. Stand over the bar with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Take hold of the bar with the “V” handle by bending your knees and leaning forward slightly.
Pull up the bar towards your stomach as high as you can before gently lowering it back down.
Seated Barbell Curl
Set your bench at a 45-degree angle and press your back against the vertical section of the bench with a light barbell on your lap. Again, you will want to go a little lighter here as you are only doing half reps and the objective is to go very slow and squeeze the biceps at the top of the exercise to get that “peak” look to your muscles.
Take hold of the bar with an underhand grip and lift the barbell until it reaches your shoulders. Hold in position and then slowly lower.
Inverted Barbell Pull-Ups
You can work both your biceps and your core with this barbell exercise. The bar doesn’t need any weights on it for this exercise. Place the bar in a rack at around waist height and lie underneath it. Make sure that your body is straight, and your toes are pointing to the ceiling.
Take hold of the bar with an under grip that is wider than shoulder-width apart. Curl yourself up, mimicking a bicep pull-up, trying to get your chin over the bar, being careful not to bang your chin on the bar. Make sure your heels remain on the floor during this exercise.
Lean Forward Bar Curl
Stand with your feet around hip-width apart. Take hold of the bar with an underhand grip and your hands shoulder-width apart. Lean forward by bending at your waist so your torso is at a 30-degree angle from your hips.
Don’t bend over fully to 90 degrees as this is more of a “lean” and not a “bend”. Lift the bar up by curling your elbows until the bar reaches your shoulders.
Hold it for a moment and then slowly lower the bar. If you do this exercise correctly, your hips should not move at all. All of the lift will be on your biceps instead of other parts of your body.
Reverse Barbell Curl
This is very similar to the basic barbell curl, but the difference in handgrip helps to activate the brachioradialis muscle as well as the biceps. This will strengthen your elbow and forearms, giving you a better grip and more strength when doing your barbell exercises.
Hold your bar with an overhand grip so that your palms are facing inside instead of outside. Curl your arms up and you should feel your biceps activate. Make sure that you keep your back straight and chest up while you move the bar up and down.
Underhand Grip Barbell Bent-Over Row
Take hold of the bar with an underhand grip. Your hands should be a little wider than hip-width apart and make sure your feet are planted shoulder-width apart. Keep your ab muscles tight and bend at your hips so that your torso lowers.
Your arms should remain straight as you do this. While keeping this position, pull the bar up towards your stomach with your elbows also rising up. Pause and then slowly lower the bar to the floor.
There are many exercises you can do with a barbell to promote ultimate growth in your biceps. Although curls make up a large percentage of these exercises, there are still several other types of exercises you can do to add some variation to your routine.
Many of these exercises will also train other muscles throughout the body, so you can get the most effective workouts possible. We hope that these barbell exercises will help grow your biceps quickly.