The barbell sometimes gets flack for being a less ideal tool for training biceps as compared with the dumbbells. The argument goes that you will be restricting movement and thereby unable to train as much of the arm.
However, this isn’t actually accurate! You see, when you train with the barbell, it forces your arms into a certain position. This isolates a particular area of the biceps, allowing you to create more muscle damage and microtears and ultimately allowing you to stimulate more growth. And by moving your hands closer together or further apart, you can easily alter which part of the biceps that is.
If you want to know precisely what you’re targeting at any given time, just think about what Jeff Cavalier always says: the part of the bicep you can see in the mirror is the part that will be getting the most focus.
Starting with the regular barbell curl. Pump out as many as you can in one minute, while maintaining a good form and feeling the blood pool in the muscle. These routines don’t require heavy weight because we’re aiming for sarcoplasmic growth – flooding the muscle with blood in order to create pump.
Okay so now we’re going to be performing essentially the same movement but now with an overhand grip. This will train the grip (which can result in all-round strength gains) but it will also help you to alter the angle of the biceps that you’re hitting.
The drag curl is an often-forgotten bicep move but it’s one that is actually somewhat more functional than regular curls in many ways and which can help to avoid the potential for cheating (by leaning back) AND potential for wrist pain.
The drag curl is so named because you are dragging the bar up your body, rather than curling it outward. It actually forces you to engage the bicep more while also adding a slight involvement of the lats. Your arms will be curling up under your armpits by your sides.
Cross Arm Landmine Curl
One end of the barbell goes on the floor. The other will be held in your hand. Now you’re going to curl it and as you do, it will be taking a slightly diagonal trajectory. This is our first unilateral move here, so make sure that you take the opportunity to let the other arm regain its strength ready for our finisher…
Concentration Landmine Curl
This is effectively the same movement, only now you’re going to be isolating the biceps even more by using a concentration curl position. That means squatting, resting your upper arm on your leg and curling that end of the barbell upward. The result is that you’ll give even more focus to those biceps which at this point will be crying out for mercy.
Now just perform each of these for one minute back to back with no rest. If you’re feeling masochistic, then you can go round once or twice more.