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The Standing Barbell Curl: The Best Single Bicep Exercise

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If you can only do one bicep exercise, by far, the most effective exercise would be the standing barbell curl. This exercise targets the biceps brachii, which is the main muscle of the upper arm that is responsible for flexing the elbow joint.

The standing barbell curl is a compound exercise that not only works the biceps but also engages the forearms and the muscles of the upper back. This exercise allows for the use of heavier weights compared to other bicep exercises, which makes it more effective for building strength and size in the biceps.

To perform a standing barbell curl, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a barbell with an underhand grip, hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Keep your elbows close to your sides and curl the barbell up towards your chest, keeping your upper arms stationary. Hold the contraction for a second, then slowly lower the barbell back down to the starting position.

It is important to maintain proper form and avoid swinging or using momentum to lift the weight. Gradually increase the weight as you get stronger, and aim for 3-4 sets of 8-12 repetitions per workout.

Do you agree that the standing biceps curl is the best biceps exercise for building muscle or do you have another way? Share your thoughts.


  • Schoenfeld, B. J., & Grgic, J. (2020). Evidence-based guidelines for resistance training volume to maximize muscle hypertrophy. Strength & Conditioning Journal, 42(6), 7-12.

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