Having strong arms comes in handy not only at the gym but throughout our daily lives. When aiming to develop arm strength or muscle mass, it’s important to train the bicep as well as the triceps. A wonderful exercise for the biceps is the wide-grip barbell curl. This guide will teach you the muscles involved in wide-grip barbell curls, the benefits and common mistakes associated with wide-grip barbell curls, how to perform the wide-grip barbell curl properly, and give you ideas to complete your bicep workout.
What Muscles Do Wide Grip Barbell Curls Work?
Primary muscles involved in wide-grip barbell curls:
- Biceps brachii: The large muscle that lies on the anterior part of the upper arm between the shoulder and the elbow. It arises on the scapula and runs towards the upper forearm. This muscle has two heads (the short head and the long head) – therefore its name. The main function of the bicep is to flex and supinate the elbow, allowing it to rotate so the palm faces up or forward. As this muscle contracts, the forearm is pulled up.
Secondary muscles engaged:
- Brachialis: The brachialis muscle sits under the biceps brachii. This muscle helps flex your elbow. It connects your upper arm bone (humerus) to the long forearm bone (ulna).
- Brachioradialis: This muscle also sits in the anterior compartment of the upper arm. The brachioradialis muscle assists the brachialis with elbow flexion and connects your humerus bone to the short lower arm bone known as the radius.
- Wrist Extensors: These muscles are located along the forearm. They connect the humerus (the bone in the upper arm) to your hand via your wrist. They help extend the wrists and fingers. Some of the wrist extensor muscles are the capri ulnaris, the digiti minimi, the digitorum, the indices, the pollicis brevis, and the retinaculum of the hand.
- Wrist Flexors: These muscles are also located along the forearm and connect your elbow to your hand. The wrist flexor muscles serve to flex the wrists and fingers. Your carpi radialis and carpi ulnaris flex your wrist up towards your forearm while you digitorum profundus and superficialis flexor muscles connect your forearm bone to the bones in your fingers, allowing them to curl.
Wide Grip Barbell Curls’ Benefits
- Building a Fuller Bicep: The wide-grip barbell curl helps build a fuller muscle since it causes you to externally rotate at the shoulder. This rotation and grip put more emphasis on the inner part of the bicep – the short head, helping build a fuller bicep.
- Hypertrophy: As it builds a thicker bicep, this exercise helps increase the overall size of the bicep.
- Strength: The wide-grip barbell curl helps you strengthen your arms.
- Isolation: This exercise is a single-joint movement, which helps you isolate the biceps.
- Aesthetics: Wide-grip barbell curls help develop great-looking arms, which enhances the look of your whole upper body.
- Simplicity: This is a very simple exercise. The only thing you need is a barbell. However, you can also perform the exercise with resistance bands if needed.
How to Do Wide Grip Barbell Curls
- Start by grabbing a barbell using an underhand grip (palms facing up) and positioning your hands at a wider-than-shoulder width apart.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, back straight, shoulders back, and core tight. This is the starting position.
- With the elbows close to the torso, hold the upper arms in place and curl the weights up while contracting the biceps as you breathe out.
- Keep moving up until your biceps are fully contracted and the bar is at shoulder level. Hold for a second at the top position.
- Slowly as you breathe in, bring the bar down.
- Repeat the movement for 8 to 12-15 repetitions and for 3 sets.
Wide Grip Barbell Curls Mistakes
Now that you know how to perform wide-grip barbell curls, pay attention to your form so you can avoid the most common mistakes associated with this exercise:
- Rounding your back: You should engage your core and keep your back straight throughout the exercise. A straight back helps you perform the exercise properly while maintaining proper alignment.
- Moving the arms away from your torso: Do not move your elbows and upper arms away from your torso. Aim to maintain the arms close to the body. Otherwise, you shorten the range of motion in this exercise.
- Lifting the barbell fast: Performing the movement in a fast manner may involve momentum. Aim to move the weights in a controlled way, slowing down the repetition timing and squeezing every rep to isolate your biceps.
- Doing short reps: Be sure not to bring the arm just halfway up or halfway down. Aim to perform full repetitions.
Wide Grip Barbell Curl Video Tutorial
You can complete your bicep workout by performing the following exercises:
As you can see, the wide-grip barbell curl is a wonderful arm exercise. It offers numerous benefits associated with hypertrophy, improved strength, and muscle isolation. Now that you know the correct form to properly perform wide-grip barbell curls, you can avoid the most common mistakes associated with this exercise and complement your bicep workout.
Remember, whether you want to lose weight, tone your body, gain strength, or increase muscle size, all muscles must be trained – Lift, Burn more Fat, Get Stronger, and Live Healthier!
To a Fitter Healthier You,
The Fitness Wellness Mentor