Barbell preacher curl

Exercise details

  • Target muscle: Brachialis
  • Synergists: Biceps Brachii (especially the long head), Brachioradialis
  • Mechanics: Isolation
  • Force: Pull

Starting position

  1. Position a loaded barbell on the rest of a preacher bench.
  2. Sit on the preacher bench and lift the barbell off the rest using a shoulder-width underhand (supinated) grip.
  3. Rest the backs of your upper arms on the padded surface, with your elbows fully extended.


  1. Exhale as you curl the barbell upwards, towards your shoulders.
  2. Hold for a count of two and squeeze your biceps.
  3. Inhale as you lower the barbell until your elbows are fully extended.
  4. Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.

Comments and tips

  • Adjust the seat to ensure that your upper arms, from armpits to elbows, lie flat on the padded surface of the preacher bench.
  • Keep your elbows in line with your shoulders.
  • Keep your body still. Only your forearms should move.
  • When you perform the barbell preacher curl, the short (inner) head of your biceps brachii enters into active insufficiency (i.e. develops slack) at the top of the curl, Therefore, the long (outer) head of your biceps brachii is activated more than is the short head.
  • Using an EZ bar might be easier on your wrists.
  • See also the cable preacher curl and the dumbbell preacher curl.

Barbell preacher curl video

The EZ bar is used in this video demonstration.


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