Wide Grip Barbell Curl: Muscles Worked, How To Do and Benefits

Many bodybuilders have relied on the standard barbell curl for decades to strengthen their biceps.

During a bicep curl, you can use different grip positions to train the different heads of the biceps. And one of them is a wide grip curl.

The wide grip barbell curl, as the name suggests, involves using a wider grip on the barbell to shift the focus to the short head of the biceps.

In this blog, we will explain how to correctly do the wide-grip barbell curl, which muscles are being worked, the benefits of the exercise, and different ways to do it.

Know About Bicep Muscles

Your biceps brachii has two heads: short (inner) and long (outer).

The long-head bicep constitutes most of your biceps peak, while the short-head bicep sits to the inner side, adding thickness.

  • Using a regular (shoulder-width) grip with the barbell curl will place approximately equal emphasis on both heads.
  • Using a narrow grip will emphasize the long head and build the peak of your biceps.
  • Wide grip will emphasize the short head and give your biceps more width.
bicep anatomy

Muscles Worked During Wide Grip Barbell Curl

The wide grip barbell curl primarily muscle worked the Biceps Brachii muscles.

In addition to its targeting the bicep, the barbell curl has the involvement of several synergist muscles, these muscles include,

A handful of other muscles worked or play the role of stabilizer muscles, including your

What is Wide Grip Curl

The Wide barbell curl is a highly recognizable biceps exercise that builds biceps muscle mass.

It is a pull-type isolation exercise that works primarily on your biceps (short head of the biceps) and also trains the muscles in your forearms.

During the barbell curl, you should hold a barbell with a wider-than-shoulder and lift it towards your chest while keeping your elbows close to the sides.

The wide-grip barbell curl is a great addition to any weightlifting routine, offering a range of benefits, including improved arm definition and grip strength.

Wide Grip Barbell Curl
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How To Do Wide Grip Barbell Curl

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and grip the barbell with a wider than shoulder-width grip, palms facing forward.
  2. Keep your elbows close to your sides and engage your core to maintain a stable posture.
  3. Keep your elbows stationary and close to your sides as you slowly raise the barbell towards your chest.
  4. Pause briefly at the top of the movement. Squeeze your biceps at the top of the movement.
  5. Then, slowly lower the barbell back to the starting position.
  6. Do 8–12 reps and 3–4 sets.
Wide Grip Barbell Curl

Wide Grip Barbell Curls Tips

  • Your body should remain fixed. Only your biceps should be used to move the weight.
  • Lift a weight that you are comfortable with. Do not load the barbell.
  • Do not go too fast. This is a common mistake that could lead to muscle strain or worse.
  • Pause at the top of the movement and squeeze your biceps.
  • The motion should occur at the elbow to isolate the biceps, not on the shoulders.
  • Start with fewer reps and increase the number of reps as you go.
  • Get into warm-ups that include bicep exercises. This is a great way to get your muscles ready and avoid injuries.
  • Your elbow position should not change even slightly during the exercise. Do not just them or attempt to reposition them to ease the tension in your arms. You need the tension to isolate and engage your short-head bicep muscle.
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Best Variation of Wide of Bicep Curl

If you are willing to be a more adventurous lifter, there are several variations of the wide-grip barbell curl you might like.

One of the most common variations is the EZ bar wide grip curl.

The EZ bar is a good substitute for the barbell because its ergonomic design helps to challenge and activate the biceps.

They are easier to raise and put muscles through a similar range of motion but do not engage the forearms as much.

1. Wide Grip EZ Curl

The straight bar version of this exercise is excellent. However, many lifters feel pain and discomfort in their wrist and forearm due to a fully supinated grip on a standard barbell.

Wide grip EZ bar curl is a type of bicep curl exercise you do with an Ez bar.

And due to the more natural feel of the Ez bar, it avoids wrist and forearm discomfort for many users.

Wide Grip Ez Bar Curl

How To Do

  1. Stand holding an EZ-curl bar using a wide supinated grip (hands wider than shoulder-width apart and palms facing upward).
  2. Keep your arms close together and exhale as you lift the EZ-curl bar up towards your shoulders.
  3. Hold for a count of two and squeeze your biceps.
  4. Inhale as you lower the EZ-curl bar to the starting position.


  • Keep your elbows locked to your sides and your body still. Only your forearms should move.
  • The motion should occur at the elbow to isolate the biceps, not on the shoulders.
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Best Alternatives for Wide of Bicep Curl

1. Wide Grip Dumbbell Bicep Curl

There are numerous possible variations for the wide-grip dumbbell bicep curl. For example, you could perform the exercise while sitting on a bench and standing.

You can turn your hands from the position where palms are facing each other to the position where palms are facing upwards.

This movement also develops the biceps along with the elbow contraction.

Wide Grip Dumbbell Bicep Curl

Benefits of Wide Grip Curl

Besides the obvious advantage of thicker-looking biceps, wide-grip barbell curls greatly increase general upper-body strength. This makes it a brilliant exercise choice to train for other weightlifting exercises.

Some benefits of the wide grip barbell curl are listed below:

  1. Builds bigger and stronger biceps
  2. It allows you to use more weight than a narrow grip does
  3. Places the primary stress on the short (inner) head of the biceps
  4. wide grip barbell curls help with grip strength. It does this by activating a grip muscle called the brachioradialis muscle, which helps to flex the forearm at the elbow.


How wide should wide grip curls be?

The wide grip for a wide grip barbell curl should be slightly wider than shoulder-width.

This allows for proper activation of the short head of the biceps.

Wide grip barbell curl vs. close grip

Both the wide grip and the close grip barbell curl are exercises that target the biceps but with a different focus.

In a wide grip barbell curl, the hands are positioned wider than shoulder-width apart on the barbell, emphasizing the biceps’ short head and brachialis.

In contrast, a close grip barbell curl involves placing the hands closer together, usually less than shoulder-width, which places more emphasis on the outer head of the biceps and the forearms.


The wide-grip barbell curl variation is among the most popular and highly favored variations. With your hands gripping the barbell in a supinated group wider than shoulder-width, it is done.

The wide-grip standing barbell curl is one of the few barbell exercises that aim to isolate the inner head or short head.

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