A lot of folks who venture into the weight room wind up doing the bicep curl over and over again, gradually adding weight over time. But as lifting guru Mark Rippetoe says...
Lifting more weight is not always the same thing as getting stronger.
By that, he means that to really make your biceps explode, you need to mix things up. You need to grab the curl bar of the gym and do reverse curls, drop sets, 21s, build your own meal plan, and more. Variation is key to growth and progress.
Fret no more, because we have a list of the 10 best curl bar exercises that will help you build massive guns and keep your chest up high. Read on to find out more.
Top 10 Curl Bar Exercises
The best curl bar exercises are those that work the entire upper arm, including both heads of the biceps and triceps.
Let’s take a look at 10 of them.
1. Preacher Curl
The promise of the preacher curl is simple: you’ll get bigger biceps. Studies show that during this type of curl, activation of the bicep is at its maximum due to the support of the preacher bench, so it helps you build muscle.
Here’s how you do the preacher curl:
2. Reverse Grip Curl
Here is how you do it:
3. Varied Grip Curl
The bicep has 2 heads—the long and (little understood) short head. The positioning of your hands as you exercise influences which head is emphasized. Since you want both heads to benefit from your exercise, it’s important to vary the way you grasp the bar.
4. Back and Forth Curl
To perform the back and forth exercise, you require a training buddy. One of you will set the challenge and the other takes it up, back and forth until neither can continue anymore.
This exercise results in serious bicep pumps but is not for the faint-hearted.
5. Close Grip Curl 7. Upright Rows
The unique shape of the curl bar of your gym allows you to use it for more than just standard curls. The upright row is a perfect example. Because of the curve in the bar, you’re able to raise your arms higher than you could with a straight bar and thereby activate your traps. 
8. Overhead Triceps Extensions
Here’s how they’re done:
100s FAQs on Curl Bars 1. What’s the difference between a curl bar and a straight bar?
The difference between a curl bar and a straight bar rests mainly on the weight and shape of the bar, and the positioning of the hands on the bar.
The curl bar undulates in a W-type of shape that allows for a more natural positioning of the hands. This is particularly useful when doing various types of curls that require close and overhand grips.
In fact, the curl bar—as the name implies—is used almost exclusively to perform various types of curls that target and build specific muscles, as opposed to, say, the squat, which targets a whole range of muscles.
2. What muscles do curls work?
Curls work the bicep and tricep muscles - and minor improvements on grip strength - not the abs or quads.
For some people, that’s enough. However, others want to develop the entire arm muscle from wrist to shoulder, and that’s certainly understandable as well.
But as two-time Mr. Universe Lou Ferrigno says, “You have to work hard for any kind of meaningful forearm development.”
So if you are looking for well-balanced arms, consider many of the training variations listed above that also target the forearms.
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Final Thoughts on Curl Bar Exercises
The best curl bar exercises will transform your arms from their current unremarkable state into legendary limbs in fairly short order.
In fact, if you work your biceps to failure 3 times a week, you should start to see a real, measurable difference in less than a month.
Remember that having strong arms provides a range of practical benefits as well as makes you look like the Terminator. But no one can do it for you.
So what are you waiting for? Grab a curl bar and get busy. The Herculean arms you’ve always wanted are just a few dozen workouts away. Perhaps you could also do a squat to help you have firmer leg muscles.
1. NCBI, Effects of drop sets with resistance training on increases in muscle CSA, strength, and endurance: a pilot study, retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28532248