Barbell Drag Curl: Benefits and How to Do It Correctly

Repetition of the same routine every time you go to the gym could lead to the formation of a plateau but it can become very boring. Changing exercises every three to four weeks will keep your workouts exciting and keep you making improvements. However, too much variation could be harmful.

Continuously changing your workout routine can stop your body from responding to an environment and stop any growth. It is crucial to find the perfect balance to optimize the effectiveness of your training.

The ideal scenario is that the modified or alternative workout will use the same movement or pattern but in a slightly different way. This ensures that your body will still gain strength during a specific movement. However, the exercise is unique enough to produce enormous gains. Each week, try to find new exercises to make your workouts more interesting to avoid boredom and vary your routine to prevent stagnation.

While it’s not as well-known as the regular bicep curl, the barbell drag curl is a very effective bicep workout.

If you’re looking to increase your strength, arm size, and appearance, you should consider the barbell drag curl is perfect for you.

What Is Barbell Drag Curl?

What Is Barbell Drag Curl

Barbell drag curl requires you to put the barbell directly in front of your back. Instead of curling towards the shoulders, you’re pulling the barbell upwards towards your body while your elbows are behind you. This tight and smaller range of movement allows the shoulders to be out to concentrate on the biceps.

The force generated by other muscles isn’t enough to help increase the duration of pressure on your biceps, resulting in an even more powerful workout. Due to these reasons, the weight you’ll be using will be lower, but the benefits to your biceps are worth it.

The Barbell Drag Curl: Working Muscles

The Primary Muscle Groups:

The barbell drag curl principally targets your brachial biceps. The bicep muscle comprises 2 “heads:” a long head and a short one.

Both heads work as a unit in the pulling and lifting movements.

Secondary Muscle Groups

The barbell drag curl also engages your brachialis muscle located in your biceps. It is situated below the brachial biceps. It also stimulates your brachioradialis, the most well-known muscle in your forearm.

The barbell drag curl strengthens your back and abs muscles since they are activated to help stabilize the body during the curving motion.

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The Barbell Drag Curl: Benefits

The Barbell Drag Curl Benefits

#1 Strength And Size Gains

The barbell drag curl is an intense biceps workout.

When you reach the end of every exercise, your biceps will be specifically targeted, which aids in strengthening the biceps muscles and improving biceps hypertrophy.

Developing your biceps muscles can be a great way to enhance your performance when you perform other exercises in the gym, such as barbell row Barbell Row and pulling down the lat pulldown.

#2 Reduced Risk Of Injury

Many suffer from shoulder pain and instability while doing regular Bicep curls. The front deltoids are activated to stabilize the shoulders in the normal curling motion.

The barbell drag curl removes the need for significant deltoid activity. So, you can develop stronger, larger biceps without risking injuries to your shoulders.

#3 Improved Aesthetics

Let’s face it, most people want nicer-looking arms. Based on your goals, you could use the barbell drag curl to create larger, more toned, or more clearly defined biceps.

The exercise is easy to master and can aid in improving the appearance of your arms quickly.

The Barbell Drag Curl: Instructions


You’ll need an exercise bar and some weights to perform this exercise.


  • Hold the barbell using the double underhand (supinated) grip using your hands slightly larger than the shoulder width.
  • Make sure you are in an upright position in a comfortable posture and keep your body straight. Work your core.


  1. Make sure to bring your shoulders and elbows back as you lift the barbell upward. It should feel like you’re “dragging” this barbell towards your body.
  2. Press your biceps with all of your might to the top. Slowly return to the starting point.
  3. Repeat the exercise until you reach the desired number of repetitions.


Opt for lighter weight and then complete 3-4 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions if you’re unfamiliar with the barbell drag curl.

If you feel more comfortable with your form, grab some heavier weights and stay within the 6–8 rep range for 3-4 sets.

The Barbell Drag Curl: Mistakes

The Barbell Drag Curl Mistakes

#1 Bringing Your Elbows Forward

The most frequently-repeated mistake made by barbell drag curl is to bring your elbows back while you curl upwards. Contrary to the traditional bicep curl that requires your elbows to be able to move back and up when you perform the drag motion.

The forward motion of your elbows will create unnecessary tension on your shoulders and elbows. Instead, hold your elbow in place to limit the strain on your biceps.

#2 Using Momentum

People who lift weights often move their arms and utilize momentum to pull the barbell. In reality, it is usually the case when people attempt to pile on too much weight.

To correct this error, Take off some weight, and focus on enhancing your posture. Focusing on the connection between your mind and muscles will improve your gains and lower the chance of getting injured!

#3 Rushing The Motion

A common error that can be made during the barbell drag curl is to rush the movement. This means that people lift their arms upwards in a controlled manner before letting the barbell drop quickly.

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This is risky, but the mistake is a major detriment to the gains that could be gained in the eccentric part of the exercise movement.

Instead of racing throughout the process, you should curl the barbell upwards and downwards slowly and in a controlled manner. This will prolong the time you are under tension and increase the benefit of the drag curl barbell.

The Barbell Drag Curl: Variations

#1 Drag Curl Hold

The hold version of the barbell drag curl is an excellent way to extend the duration of tension during the curling motion.

Simply curl your arms upwards and keep the barbell in this posture for at least 3 minutes. Press your biceps with all of your might and then return to the beginning position. Repeat!

#2 Dumbbell Drag Curl

If you cannot use the barbell, you could make the drag curl at home using a couple of dumbbells.

Take a relaxed stance in a standing posture and take a dumbbell using a supinated grip. Your hands are slightly larger than the shoulder width.

Maintain the same form that you did with the barbell drag curl. You will still feel as if you’re “dragging” those weights higher up your body.

#3 1-Arm Kettlebell Drag Curl

It is also possible to train your biceps unilaterally using the 1- arm kettlebell drag curl . Using the 1- arm drag curl is possible to correct the imbalances in your muscles between your two arms and to increase your connection between mind and muscle.

Use a kettlebell while keeping your palm in front. Maintain your core and do an arc curl using the same form as the barbell version.

The Barbell Drag Curl: Alternatives

If you liked the barbell drag curl, take a look at these alternative exercises for biceps to enhance your bicep strength:

#1 Supinated Dumbbell Curl

Take a solid standing position. Pick up a pair of dumbbells with your palms facing forward. Put your elbows on your sides.

Your bicep muscles contract to curl upwards. Make sure you squeeze your biceps at the top, then slowly release them back to their starting position. Repeat until you have reached the number of reps you want to do!

#2 Standing Kettlebell Concentration Curl

Take a stand with your feet spread out more than shoulder length apart. Take the kettlebell in your right hand, and keep your palm in the direction of the.

Transfer your weight towards your right side, and place your inner elbow thigh over your knee for support.

Engage your bicep and curl the kettlebell towards the ceiling. Make sure you squeeze your bicep at the end of the rep and return to the position you started from.

Repeat the exercise until you have reached the desired number of repetitions, and then be sure to change arms!

#3 Reverse Resistance Band Curl

Begin by standing in a posture on a resistance band with your feet placed close to each other. Take the handles in an overhand grip and slide your elbows to your sides.

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The bicep muscles contract and increase their curl. Press your biceps to the top and gradually release them back to your starting position.

Repeat until you reach your desired number of repetitions.

How To Include Barbell Drag Curl In Your Training Routine

How To Include Barbell Drag Curl In Your Training Routine

There are certainly several ways to do this.


Barbell drag curl can be performed as an exercise that can be performed similarly to how you would program each exercise separately in your routine. For example, if you are working on biceps, your routine might look similar to this…

  • Barbell drag curl: 3 sets, x 10-12 reps
  • Incline curls for 3 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Hammer curls 3 sets x 10-12 reps

You can also try mechanical drop sets, which is a great method of incorporating them into your exercise. For example, you’d do basic cheat curls, and when you hit failure, you’ll switch to barbell drag curl until you reach failure once more.


Barbell drag curl can also be an excellent finisher. After you’ve finished doing other exercises to build biceps, it’s best to perform several sets until you get burned out and reach the maximum level of failure. You can

Last Words

Strengthening your arms is an important aspect when you age. It’s really rewarding to know your body’s strength enough to be aware of your strength and be able to lift heavy objects without a lot of danger of injury.

Alongside push-ups and dips, Barbell drag curls are a great exercise for strength in the upper body. Doing these exercises regularly could help make your day-to-day tasks easier to manage and improve overall health.

Barbell drag curl is an absolute necessity in your biceps tinkering arsenal. We’re certain you’ll see better results if you use it regularly. Don’t hesitate to try various variations to spice things to make them more interesting.

Basic bicep curls are fantastic; however, sometimes, we need to employ certain methods that will help us get more out of our efforts.


  • Timothy P. Carnes

    Timothy P. Carnes is a certified personal trainer with a Bachelor's degree in Exercise Science from the University of Florida. With over 8 years of experience in the fitness industry, Timothy is an expert in strength and conditioning, body composition, and overall health and wellness. He also holds certifications in strength and conditioning through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and corrective exercise through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). As an author at FitGAG, he shares his knowledge and expertise on a variety of topics, including strength training, body composition, and overall health and wellness tips. Timothy believes that consistency and discipline are the keys to achieving fitness goals, and he strives to inspire his readers to prioritize their fitness and wellness journey. Through his articles, Timothy aims to empower his readers to take control of their health, enhance their performance, and live their best lives.

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