The Biggest Problems With Barbell Curls

| May 9, 2014 by Truth Seeker |

The barbell curl is one of the most popular biceps exercises on the planet. Every bodybuilder from Arnold to Phil Heath has done it. Below are the most common problems associated with the movement.

1.Back pain

The number one reason why bodybuilders experience pain during biceps curls is improper form and ego lifting. In the quest to lift more and more, many are leaning back. To fix that problem, lower the weight and tense your abs and glutes. This will protect the spine and prevent overextension of the back.

2.Wrist pain

Unless you have really flexible and mobiles wrists, you will most likely experience some discomfort when doing barbell biceps curls.


One of the remedies is to try a wider grip. If that doesn’t work, just switch to the ez-curl bar or dumbbells.

3.Uneven extension

When performing barbell exercises, the stronger side usually lifts more weight than the weaker one. That’s when uneven extension happens.

To fix that problem, you may have to lower the weight and make sure that both sides move up evenly.

If the disbalance between the left and the right side is significant, you could add dumbbell work to improve your unilateral strength.

4.People say that barbell curls are not functional

Barbell curls are a highly functional exercise. Every time you lift odd objects like boxes, TVs, monitors…you are holding them in a curl position.

There are many powerlifters such as Ed Coan and Kirk Karwoski who have done barbell curls regularly throughout their careers. Another example would be the strongman Jouko Ahola who performed hammer curls as part of his routine.

5.Barbell curls progress slowly

The barbell curl is dependent on a small muscle group that cannot tolerate fast weight increases.The progress will be slow. Sometimes even a 2.5lbs increase in weight is a significant achievement. Patience and good programming are your best friends in this situation.

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