Wide Grip Barbell Curl: Muscle Worked & Alternate

The wide grip standing bicep barbell curl targets the short head of the biceps. When this muscle is stressed and activated, you get thicker and stronger biceps.

Hence, this muscle does more than just adding appearances to your biceps. It makes them stronger and more stable.

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

The long head constitutes the majority of your biceps peak, while the short head sits to the inner side, which add 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.

And using a wide grip will emphasize the short head and give your biceps more width.

bicep anatomy

Muscle Worked During Wide Grip Barbell Curl

The wide grip barbell curl primarily muscle worked are Biceps Brachii muscles, In addition to its target 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, include your

Benefits of Wide Grip Curl

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

Following are some of the benefits of the wide grip bicep barbell curl:

  1. Builds bigger and stronger biceps
  2. 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.

Wide Grip Standing Barbell Curl

The Wide barbell curl is a highly recognizable biceps exercise that builds biceps muscle mass. It’s a great exercise for seeing results in strength and definition.

A barbell curl is a pull-type, isolation exercise that works primarily on your biceps and also trains the muscles in your forearms. A wide grip focuses effort on the inner biceps (short head), whereas narrow grip arks the outer biceps (long head).

Wide Grip Barbell Curl
Execution Technique
  1. Hold a barbell at arm’s length, using a wider than shoulder-width underhand grip.
  2. Curl the bar up to shoulder level by bending your elbows.
  3. Lower the bar back down to the arms’ extended position.
  4. Repeat for desired reps.

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. The tension is undoubtedly what you need to isolate and engage your short head bicep muscle.

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 curl.

The EZ bar, although very different from the straight bar, is an excellent trade for the barbell, as its ergonomic design helps to challenge and activate the biceps and triceps. They are easier to raise, put muscles through similar range of motion, but do not engage the forearms as much.

Wide Grip EZ Bar

If you want to target your inner biceps, then this is a great exercise for you. Here, you can focus on the short head as your hands are wider to each other during the movement.

The straight bar version of this exercise is excellent too. However, it can cause wrist and forearm discomfort for many lifters due to the need to use a fully supinated grip.

The wide-grip EZ bar curl will emphasize the short head and build the thickness of your biceps.

Wide Grip Ez Bar Curl
Execution Technique
  1. Stand holding an EZ-curl bar using a wide supinated grip (hands wider than shoulder width apart and palms facing upward). Let the bar rest on your thighs.
  2. Keeping your elbows fixed to your sides, exhale as you curl the EZ-curl bar up toward 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.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
  • 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.

Best Alternate of Wide of Bicep Curl

Standing Inner Biceps Curl

There are many possible variations for this movement. For instance, you can perform the exercise sitting down on a bench with or without back support.

You can (and should) turn your hands from the position when palms are facing each other to the position when palms are facing upwards.

This movement also develops the biceps along with the elbow contraction. Must add this workout in your short head bicep exercises arsenal.

Standing Inner Biceps Curl
Execution Technique
  1. Stand up with a dumbbell in each hand being held at arm’s length. The elbows should be close to the torso. Your legs should be at about shoulder’s width apart from each other.
  2. Rotate the palms of the hands so that they are facing inward in a neutral position.
  3. Curl the weights out while contracting the biceps. Your wrist should turn so that when the weights are fully elevated you have supinated grip (palms facing up).
  4. Continue the movement until your biceps are fully contracted and the dumbbells are at shoulder level. Hold for a second.
  5. Slowly begin to bring the dumbbells back to the starting position. Remember to rotate the wrists as you lower the weight in order to switch back to a neutral grip. Repeat for desired reps.
  • Your body should remain fixed. Only your biceps should be used to move the weight.
  • The motion should occur at the elbow to isolate the biceps, not on the shoulders.
  • For a better stability, you can also do the exercise in seated position


The wide grip barbell curl variation is one of the most popular and highly favored variations. It is done with your hands gripping the barbell in a supinated group wider than shoulder-width.

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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