Useful Tips

The correct technique for lifting the bar for biceps, grip options and common mistakes


Greetings ladies and gentlemen! Today we are waiting for a technically very nice note, and it will be devoted to such an exercise as lifting the barbell to the biceps. We will learn a lot of specific information, get acquainted with the nuances of execution and technical and design aspects.

So, everyone clung to the monitor screens, let's go.

Lifting the barbell for biceps. What, why and why?

I think I’m not deceiving if I say that lifting the bar to the biceps is the most popular exercise on the biceps of the shoulder. Almost any hand training program includes them. I must say that this is really an excellent exercise for increasing the volume of the biceps, but you need to have the correct equipment and know some of the nuances of its implementation. Actually, this is what we will do today.

Well, in the beginning we will, as usual, from the anatomical atlas.

All further narration on the topic of "lifting the bar to the biceps" will be divided into subheadings.

The target muscles that take on the main load are the biceps, and different grip loads the heads in different ways.

  • brachialis (brachialis),
  • brachiradialis (brachioradialis).

The muscles of the stabilizers are:

  • front delta
  • upper / middle part of the trapezoid,
  • scapula levator (raises it up),
  • flexors of the wrist.

The full muscular atlas of lifting the bar for biceps is as follows:

For better assimilation of the material, all further narration will be divided into subchapters.


Exercise is the undisputed leader in terms of utility for biceps, and here's why:

  • complex effect in one exercise on such parameters of the biceps muscle: size, definition, strength and endurance,
  • free weight and a relatively good range of motion allow you to qualitatively load your biceps,
  • variability of execution (different grips / types of neck) provides a comprehensive study,
  • The EZ-bar of the bar creates a minimum load on the back, its design provides a natural way to balance the body, reducing the load on the back even when taking large weights,
  • The EZ bar provides less strain on your wrists when taking large weights.

Execution technique

Despite the total spread of this exercise, its technique often leaves much to be desired. Therefore, let's take a step-by-step look at how to properly perform biceps lifts.

Step number 0.

Equip the barbell and take it with a grip at shoulder width, put your legs as well. Stand evenly and bend your knees slightly. The palms should be facing forward, and the elbows should be close to the torso. Statically tighten the abdominal muscles. This is your starting position.

Step number 1.

Keeping your shoulders in a fixed position, begin to lift the weight up (twist it forward) only due to the movement of the forearms and traction of the biceps. Continue moving until the biceps are fully contracted and the barbell is at shoulder height. Linger on 1-2 counting at the end point of the amplitude. Breathing technique - when lowering the projectile, inhale, when lifting - exhale.

Step number 2.

Slowly and controlledly return the bar to the IP. Repeat the specified number of times.

In the picture version, all this mess is as follows:

Or so in motion.

You can get the most out of the exercise only if you follow the tips below:

  • the movement should be carried out cleanly - without swaying, waving and throwing the projectile up,
  • lift the bar from the hips to shoulder level should be in a wide arc,
  • at the top point you need to perform a peak contraction and compress the biceps on 2-3 seconds
  • lifting should be faster than lowering,
  • do not drop the bar, but always accompany it gently down,
  • it is not necessary to fully extend your arms at the lower point of movement,
  • stretch your biceps between sets,
  • it’s better to start arm training with this exercise,
  • to develop strength do 5 approaches to 3-5 repetitions, for volume - 3 approach to 7-10 repetitions, for definition - 2-3 approach to 15-20 reps
  • when working with heavy weights and the number of repetitions in the range 4-8 you can resort to using the straps / belt and cheating (in recent repetitions).

Variations of lifting the bar for biceps

Exercise is good because it has variability, i.e. You can use various types of shells / mechanisms, for example:

  • lifting dumbbells for biceps,
  • EZ neck lift
  • rise standing at the bottom block,
  • rise sitting on a bench from the lower block.

The most difficult version of lifting the barbell to the biceps is a standing position against a wall or a vertical support (for example, a bench with a back). In this variation, the work is much harder, and the projectile weights are less inferior to the classic counterpart.

Now let's dig deeper and analyze some technical subtleties.

Grip width: which one to choose?

Depending on the width of the grip (remoteness of the hands from each other), the bar can be held:

  • standard on shoulder width - emphasis on the entire biceps. Allows you to use large weights,
  • narrow grip - emphasis on the external head (long, long head). Weight weights less
  • wide grip - emphasis on the inner head (short, short head). Allows the use of large weights.

It must be clearly understood that there is no such thing as “which grip is better.” They are all from a different opera, i.e. each solves only one specific problem. Therefore, if you see that your external head is lagging behind, then change the grip from the standard to narrow, if the “west” is short, then wide.

Periodic change of grip positively affects the “quality” characteristics of the biceps, so from time to time, resort to this training chip.

Two options for lifting weights on the biceps

When performing the exercise lifting the dumbbell / barbell, you can use various techniques of movement (lifting the projectile), in particular such.

When performing a “classic” climb in most cases, the stumbling block is point B, at which the climb is harder than at other points of movement. This option limits the athlete to a lower weight. a larger one simply does not allow him to overcome point B. This poses a person a dilemma that at other lifting points biceps can still work effectively, but adding, for example, 2-3 kg point B is irresistible.

If you perform a rise in biceps according to the scheme №2.

... then you can use large weights, while the voltage will be evenly distributed throughout the movement from point A to point B. If you follow the technique, the biceps of the shoulder muscle will be involved in the work throughout the time, and in the end you will finish the lift in a fully compressed / contracted position without losing range of motion. In the variant exercise according to the scheme №2 You cheat a little, reducing the time the muscle is under load, but this can easily be compensated by simply lifting a little more slowly than usual.

Which neck to choose: EZ or straight?

In general, there are no differences in the number of lifts for these vultures. All the difference lies in the convenience of working for your wrists - it is more comfortable for them to work with the EZ-neck (especially with large weights). In addition, the curved neck is shorter and this allows the athlete to better orient themselves in finding his center and the right grip. The correct center provides the same lift to both hands, i.e. biceps are equally loaded. The curved neck allows you to position the wrists at a slight angle - this will allow the hands to be slightly facing each other and prevent uncomfortability during operation. As a rule, external bends correlate with the correct position of the arms (for a larger number of “standard” athletes) at shoulder width. The EZ bar and dumbbells are best used in terms of injury prevention or when an athlete sustained biceps injuries in the past.

A straight neck is longer than its counterpart and does not have the above advantages, but this does not mean that it does not need to be used - it is necessary, and even how. An ideal option for training the biceps is a periodic change in grip (narrow / medium / wide) and vultures (straight / curved).

Well, perhaps all technical technicalities :), let's summarize and say goodbye.


Lifting the barbell for biceps - this is what exercise we met today. Now you know all the chips and the intricacies of its implementation and you can safely move to the hall in order to try out all this scribble in practice.

On sim, until new meetings, do not be bored!

PS. Friends, do you use this exercise in your training program?

PPS Did the project help? Then leave a link to it in the status of your social network - plus 100 points to karma, guaranteed.

With respect and appreciation, Protasov Dmitry.

About bicep volume

Agree, inflated biceps look much better than not having it. The shape and size of the biceps muscle are determined by many factors: genetics, physical activity, additional power loads.

With the help of training, we can remove fat from the surface of the hand, thereby exposing the muscle itself. We can also increase its volume due to correctly performed exercises and create greater relief.

Based on its name, hand flexors provide movements aimed at bending the arm at the elbow. Another function of the biceps is antagonism to triceps. The triceps and biceps between themselves are in some kind of balance, so that the hands do not jerk due to minor shocks back and forth.

In the formation of arm volume, biceps does not play a primary role. For the most part, this is the merit of triceps (it is he who creates 70% of the volume of the arm). Therefore, sufficient attention should be paid to both muscles. Download biceps 1-2 times a week, and in no case forget about triceps (do bench press, bench press, angle, and other exercises for them). To forget about pumping the flexors and doing one bench press is also not an option.

And now let's find out how to pump biceps with a barbell.

Direct grip

Exercise for biceps with a barbell can be performed in several versions of the grip: direct and reverse, wide and narrow.

Direct grip is aimed at developing not only the biceps, but also the muscles of the forearm (a narrow grip is not used at the same time). If you have ever tried such a grip, remember that the weights on the bar were less than when using the reverse grip.

Bending the arms with a barbell while standing correctly is done as follows:

  1. You can install the bar on the racks for the bar, lowering them as far down as possible, you can put it on a horizontal bench. Taking it from the floor and lowering it in between sets will be inconvenient.
  2. Theoretically, you can lift the EZ bar for biceps, but in this case it is better to take a straight bar. In general, it is believed that a curved neck is less traumatic for the flexors of the hands, but this is more likely for the reverse narrow grip. So, we take the bar and get ready for the warm-up approach.
  3. It is very important to take the correct pose: legs shoulder-width apart, elbows pressed to the body, shoulders straightened, and the pelvis laid back. For better support and elimination of unnecessary movements, we recommend that you stand with your back to the wall, and even better - to the frame of the Smith simulator.
  4. If you got up correctly, the supports will touch: the back of the head, shoulder blades and pelvis. Do not forget about the chest - it is curved forward.
  5. We take the bar with a direct grip on the natural width of the shoulders (that is, the arms are parallel to each other).
  6. Trying not to bend the wrists, we raise the bar with the force of the biceps to the maximum possible height (to the chest).
  7. We do 10-15 warm-up repetitions. If you took an Olympic barbell weighing 20 kg, it may be too heavy for you. If you are a beginner - do not look at others, do not envy the number of pancakes on their bar. Time and patience will lead you to a similar result.

If you decide to do the exercise without support, firmly fix your body, press your elbows to it. During the ascent, you should not make any oscillatory movements. Only hands work, everything else, including “tossing” the barbell to the chest with the help of the oscillation of the pelvis - cheating and an unjustified risk of lumbar injury.

At the same time, the elbows need not be pulled back. They are located so that the shoulder is oriented strictly down to the floor.

Reverse grip

Bending the arms with a barbell while standing is most often done with a reverse grip. This is because the muscles on the inside of the forearm are stronger than on the outside. This means that with this grip you can lift more weight, plus it can be lifted even higher than with a direct grip.

You can take the bar with a narrow grip, or you can use the middle one, with your hands shoulder-width apart so that they are parallel to each other. Raising the bar for biceps with a back grip to the chest will, accordingly, it is better to develop biceps.

Bending the arms with a barbell while standing with a reverse grip is performed as follows:

  1. Find a support. In this case, it is advisable to stand leaning against the power frame, Smith, wall or wide post.
  2. Take a straight or curved neck with a reverse grip. When you press the weight on your legs, the palms will be facing the back of your legs.
  3. The grip is medium for a straight neck, or narrow for an EZ neck.
  4. With the strength of the biceps, without moving your elbows back and forth, we raise the weight to the chest. Further, using the muscles of the shoulders, you can raise the bar even higher to the neck. Many trainers say that lifting the bar is not enough to reach the chest, but to an acute angle at the elbow. That is, the forearms are not brought upright.
  5. Hold for 1 second the bar in the upper position.
  6. We lower the weight to the starting position, repeat the workout 10-15 times, if this is the first biceps exercise for today (by the way, it is correct if it goes first).
  7. We set the working weight and do 3 sets of 8 times to failure or 10-12 times to maintain muscle tone with low weight.

Main mistakes

Regularly, you can watch how beginners make lifting the barbell to the biceps with a reverse grip (or any lifting the barbell to the biceps while standing) at a fast pace. It is inefficient and dangerous. In this style, you distort the technique, speed prevents you from doing the exercise correctly.

You can damage the biceps tendon. You can also rip off your back, as during fast execution the load will go to your lower back imperceptibly (for example, to suppress inertia when lowering the weight).

Do bending your arms with the barbell back grip or any lift to the biceps smoothly and correctly. For more definiteness, we give the optimal execution frequency: 2 repetitions in 3-4 seconds.

When a person takes too much weight, it does not matter with a narrow or wide grip, he throws it with the help of movements of the legs, pelvis, body. Then at the top point it is intercepted by the muscles of the hands and lowered back. As a rule, the weight simply falls to the starting position, since the student does not have enough strength to make the movement smoothly.

The moment you catch the barbell with your biceps, you can damage them. Every time you throw weight with body movements, you risk tearing your lower back. Instead of wasting energy on a specific exercise, the body is sprayed on everything except the biceps workout itself.

Therefore, cheating will not lead to a result in terms of muscle growth. Perhaps a one-time lift will be performed with an impressive weight. But you have another goal of visiting the gym? Your actions should be consistent with your goals. Let's do the exercise in strict accordance with his technique.

Grip problems

When the biceps are strong enough to work with your chosen weight, but the wrist does not have, problems begin. The wrists cannot hold a straight line between the elbow and the fist. The hand begins to bend, and the bar hangs.

Lifting the bar for biceps with a back grip solves this problem, but with a direct grip it is more and more difficult. If this happens, give up a direct grip, try bending your arms with a barbell while standing with a reverse grip.

Additionally, practice exercises that develop precisely grip strength.

Both bench press and weight lifting are almost always done with the same breath - effort (lifting) to exhale, to inhale - return the weight to the starting point.

Rocking body

Have you noticed that you can lift more weight while standing than sitting? This is due to the fact that you include the knees and hips, which help to put more effort. The latter, by the way, makes it easier to overcome the peak voltage point, which is usually somewhere in the middle of the amplitude when moving up.

Of course, in this situation, the load on the target muscle (that is, on the biceps) is reduced, so you should exclude any unnecessary movements. In addition, you will protect the lower back from injuries, which, unfortunately, often occurs when a technique is violated.

Plus, if you load the bar so that you can not even perform the first repetition cleanly, then the body has no choice but to connect the muscles of the lower back and legs.

If you have 6-7 correct repetitions, add a couple more with a little cheating (a little help from the thigh muscles).

Try to swing as little as possible in order to achieve muscle failure without risk of injuring your lower back.

Incomplete extension of the arms

Видимо, для того чтобы произвести впечатление на других посетителей тренажерного зала, некоторые атлеты устанавливают на гриф несколько тяжеленых блинов, а затем используют читинг в негативной фазе повторения: не разгибают полностью руки, а вместо этого просто наклоняются. Если посмотреть на это со стороны, то создается впечатление, будто они полностью опустили снаряд, однако это не так.

Yes, this technique is sometimes used purposefully, and is called incomplete repetition. But in this case, it is cheating. Remember, the passage of the full amplitude is much more effective in terms of building mass and strength. Use a mirror to see if you fully extend your arms or not.

Boom Too High

Most likely, you heard such advice: when lifting the barbell to the biceps, the projectile should be raised as high as possible. Right? Yes, but with one caveat - the elbows should be left tightly pressed to the body. That is, movements should come only from the forearms.

Following the above advice, some athletes mistakenly feed their elbows forward (intentionally or not), thereby including the front deltas. As you know, in this case, the load is partially removed from the biceps.

Including biceps barbell lift at the end of a workout

In strength training, there is one extremely important point. I mean the exercise that you do first. It is during this period of time that you have the most strength, and you are able to master the maximum possible weight. If you first do the lifting of the bar for biceps, you can achieve more tension in the muscles and destroy more muscle fibers. Both of these factors play a key role in building muscle.

Feel free to start working with heavy weight in a low range of repetitions (6-8), when your energy hits over the edge. It will be beneficial for hypertrophy. That is, in this case, you are more actively stimulating muscle growth, rather than perform 10 repetitions with low weight.

At the end of the workout, do concentrated lifting for biceps or some other exercise in a sitting position that better isolates the muscle and does not allow you to inadvertently use cheating. As I said above, sitting we can lift less weight, so such exercises are great for the time when you are already tired.