Barbell Reverse Curls

Image of how to do reverse curls


Type: Strength

Main Muscle Worked: Biceps

Secondary muscles worked: Forearms

Equipment: E-Z Curl Bar or any other equipment listed at the bottom of this page

Level: Intermediate

What are Barbell Reverse Curls?

Reverse curls or also known as reverse bicep curls and reverse grip curls are bicep contractions but your palms are facing downwards. Unlike, bicep curls where you hold the barbell or dumbbell with your palms facing towards you, However, the motion is still the same.

They can be done on both, dumbbells and barbells. However, there are various variations to it which can be found below.

Reverse Curls are harder since your forearms are facing downwards, there is a higher load of weight on your wrist joints, making it harder to perform with heavy weights.

For extra safety, lift heavier weights and support I recommend buying a pair of wrist straps as they help a lot, the ones I use are here: Wrist straps

Do not neglect underrated workouts such as reverse curls as they can help you grow the primary muscle and make your other workouts more efficient.

Muscles Worked in Barbell Reverse Curls

If you brachialis is developed, you can lift even heavier weights for your bicep curls. Working underdeveloped muscles improves performance, prevents injury and allows right form.

A well-developed brachialis muscle pushes the peak of the bicep muscle up higher, making for a more dramatic flex and an overall bigger arm.

Reverse Curls

Primary: biceps brachii, brachialis

Secondary: brachioradialis

Benefits of Barbell Reverse Curls

  • • Bigger and stronger arm structure
  • • Increased grip strength and makes your biceps less prone to injury
  • • Alleviating elbow pain during imbalance between the extensor and flexor muscles
  • • Develops brachialis of your upper arm to lift heavier weights
  • • Strengthens brachioradialis of your forearm for better structure

How to do Barbell Reverse Curls

If you need a barbell one can be bought here: Barbells

Reverse Curls


  1. 1. To begin the reverse curl, hold the dumbbell with a pronated grip (palms facing down). Keep your hands and feet shoulder apart and body straight with chest out.
  2. 2. While holding upper arms stationary, curl the dumbbell and let the biceps contract while you breathe out. Make sure only your forearms move.
  3. 3. Continue to curl the dumbbell till your biceps fully contract and the dumbbell is at your shoulder level. Hold contract position for a second.
  4. 4. Bring back the dumbbell down in the same motion to the starting point.

Repeat for desired reps.

Mistakes commonly made in barbell reverse curls

Too Fast

You should focus on good form rather than executing the rep quickly, at least when starting out. You should lift slowly and smoothly so that you feel the burn.


You should not use your momentum to lift the weights as this actually reduces the effectiveness of the exercise. Quickly moving the weights allows momentum to reduce the tension within the muscles, especially at the top of the lift which reduces how much your muscles end up working in the exercise.

Elbow Position

Your elbows should not move during the barbell reverse curl as they should be close to the side of your body at all times.

Going Too Far Down

When performing the barbell reverse curl do not pull the barbell so far back that the forearm moves past a vertical position.

Safety when performing barbell reverse curls

This exercise is recommended for most people. Although if you have any arm injury or experience any pain during the motion, do not continue and stop the exercise. Although you should still talk to your doctor or physical therapist about if reverse curls are suitable for you.

When performing reverse curls you can expect to feel fatigue and possibly burning in your biceps after a few reps, and this is to get your muscles to get stronger and grow. However, do not force extra repetitions once you are unable to perform the reverse curls with good form. You should then take a rest before doing the next set.

Also, do not lift a heavy weight to begin with, don’t rush to get to heavier weights before you’re strong enough to do it with ease. Using a weight which is to heavy for you can result in Injury to the elbow or wrist, and that will affect your entire workout routine.

Variations of Reverse Curls

You can replace your dumbbell reverse curls with various other weights and equipment such as a dumbbell,straight barbell, EZ barbell, pulley, A weight plate, and a kettlebell.

However no matter what equipment you use it’s always the same motion.

All of them more or less do the same muscle impact for you. Find out which of them is suitable for you and don’t neglect the reverser curlers.

Write below in the comments your opinion on the reverse curl, if it works for you and any questions you might have.

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