For best results, standing barbell curls need to be done correctly. All the time I see people incorrectly doing standing barbell curls.
The reason people do standing barbell curls is to focus on the biceps muscles, to get stronger, bigger, better looking biceps muscles.
The standing barbell curl is a single-joint, or “isolation” exercise. The objective is to isolate the biceps and get them working hard.
The biggest mistake that people often commit with standing biceps curls is that, as they hoist up the weight, they swing their back into a big arch.
There is a lot of swinging going on with each repetition. The exercise no longer isolates the biceps muscles because the swinging causes other muscles to get involved.
If the back-swing is a tough habit to break, then do these barbell curls while standing against a wall.
Another way to break this bad habit is to simply use a lighter amount of weight, and watch yourself in the mirror.
Have someone monitor you as well, since you may not be aware of the extent with which you cheat. When you execute proper form, and isolate your biceps, you’ll really feel them start to burn.
Another mistake I see with standing biceps curls is that a person will release the weight too quickly, eliminating the “negative” or eccentric phase of the repetition.
The negative is very important; this is when most muscle fiber breakdown occurs. And in order to build a muscle up, it must first be broken down.
The negative should be done with control and take at least two seconds. A little loose form is okay for the last few reps, but not for the entire set.
What about hand placement for the standing barbell curl? About shoulder width works best, give or take. The bar may be the “E-Z” type or the straight kind.
You can refine your form with standing barbell curls further by keeping the upper arms vertical as you lift up the weight, and keep them against your sides.
A little space in between is fine, though, but make sure that your upper arms don’t begin flaring out, either.
As you bring the weight up to it’s high point, squeeze the barbell tightly for an extra pump, and flex the biceps for a solid two-count, before lowering the weight back to the starting position. Aim for an eight to 12 repetition max (to muscle failure).