Barbell Curl vs Dumbbell Curl for Bicep Growth

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Barbell Curl vs Dumbbell Curl for Bicep Growth – Our biggest Dream!

Barbell curl vs Dumbbell curl—eh?

During my school days, most of the boys were interested in making their biceps huge. They did not care about power generation, and athleticism – only huge biceps and chest are enough.

Both exercises have their own benefits; the barbell curl helps build strength and muscle stamina better, while the dumbbell curls help tone and condition muscles.

But do you need to do both?

Barbell Curl vs Dumbbell Curl

With barbell curls, you will spend less time training since you are training your both arms together.

Also, with barbell curls, you can lift heavy and progress quicker to gain super strength. But, never, ever do barbell curls with a stretching version like the preacher curl.

It will ruin your arms.

Always try to prefer doing bb curl exercise while standing. Even so, get an EZ bar – straight bars are really bad for your wrists.

With dumbbell curls, you can focus on the biceps and cure any imbalances, if any.

If you want to look better aesthetically, then you should do dumbbell curls to eliminate any imbalances.

I am full of imbalances, thus I often pick dumbbells over barbells. 😛

[Back Exercises With Barbell and Dumbbells]

If you want the maximum growth of your biceps then you should concentration curls, ACE fitness did a study, and you can see the results below.

Research data from ACE
Research data from ACE

Barbell curls muscles worked vs Dumbbell curl muscles worked

dumbbell curls muscles worked
barbell curls muscles worked

What is the main difference between a barbell curl and a dumbbell curl?

The barbell curl is a great exercise for bicep growth because it allows you to use a heavier weight than the dumbbell curl.

I feel barbell curl also requires more stabilizer muscles like your entire core!

And the dumbbell curl is a great exercise for bicep growth because it allows you to keep your forearm muscles engaged as well as biceps and helps eradicate imbalances.

If you want to really focus on your biceps, then check out this supercharged bicep workout via ACE!

Barbell Curl vs Dumbbell Curl for Bicep Growth: Form

The form of barbell curl is hard on your wrists if you are using a straight bar. Compared to that a dumbbell curl is very easy on the joints.

The barbell curl is a bilateral (both-sided) bicep exercise that works each arm in isolation.

The dumbbell curl is an isolated exercise that works one arm at a time.

[How to increase biceps by Food!]

It can also be used as an auxiliary movement for making sure that your biceps grow in proportion to each other.

Barbell curls are thought to be more effective than dumbbell curls for gaining strength because they allow you to increase resistance in more manageable increments, such as with little microplates.

Barbell Curl vs Dumbbell Curl for Bicep Growth for Size

Barbell curls are most efficient when it comes to growth. You take less time to train both your biceps, and you can load heavy and progress faster with a barbell.

Many often recommend doing 3-4 sets of heavy barbell bicep curls and then doing dumbbell curls to ease out the imbalances.

Personally, I am not into bodybuilding, I am more into getting a healthy body, thus I would just do the EZ bar curls to get some growth.

Max Weight Support

The barbell curl is an isolation exercise that targets the biceps muscles, as well as other upper body muscles such as the shoulders, back and triceps.

It allows you to lift heavier weights compared to the dumbbell curl, which helps maximize strength and hypertrophy.

Additionally, this exercise can be done with an EZ-curl bar or straight bar for different variations in order to target different areas of the bicep muscle.

For your home gym purpose, I would urge you to load the bar with your max ability if you have a power rack to use.

You do not want to drop the bar to the ground and pull it up to do bicep curls.

The Range of Motion

bicep curl range of motion
IMG Source:

A barbell curl has less range of motion than a dumbbell curl, potentially limiting muscle activation and hypertrophy.

The barbell will stop at the front of your body.

Barbell curls allow you to load the muscle with more weight though.

When performing dumbbell curls, you have a complete range of motion.

You can bring the dumbbell all the way to your sides and then up to your chest.

This provides more opportunity for elbow flexion, a more natural wrist and elbow position, and greater muscle activation than barbell curls.

I once pulled my elbow while lowering the weight, thus I tend to do partial reps with dumbbell curls.

Hypertrophy Differences

As per research the EZ barbell is a better choice since it activates more muscles than the straight barbell or dumbbell curl.

So a moderate weight with more sets and reps should help you grow your biceps.

Btw all the bicep curl exercises target the biceps brachii and brachialis muscles.

YouTube video

Strength Development Differences

The barbell curl is better for strength development, while the dumbbell curl is better for size and muscle growth.

The barbell curl uses a heavier weight and requires more muscle recruitment than dumbbell curls, which helps to build larger muscles in your shoulders, arms and back.

[Barbell Vs Dumbbell Shrugs]

Which exercise is better for bicep growth? – Barbell curls vs ez bar curls

The barbell curl is one of the most exercises for building bicep muscle. You will see it in many online workout routines every time you search for it.

However, there are better and safer exercises that can be done to build bigger biceps like the EZ bar curls.

As per various studies, it is the EZ bar curls that activate the bicep muscles more and is easy on the wrist joints.

bb curl vs ez bar curlAt the end of the day, you also want to be safe while doing workouts.

The EZ barbell offers the advantage of being able to easily overload the bicep muscles with a large amount of weight, which may lead to faster muscle growth.

I would say if you can do only one exercise for the bicep then do the EZ bar curls.

If you do not have the EZ bars then do the dumbbell curls.

However, if you have healthy wrists, then you can go ahead with a straight barbell bicep curl as well.

But definitely, you do not need different types of bicep workouts.

Just pick one move and crush it.

EZ barbbell curl muscles worked
Img source:
[Best Forearm Exercises With A Barbell]

For people doing straight bar curls for years, before you shout at me, please check –

Drawbacks of using straight barbell curl

Muscle Imbalance

First of all, not everyone will suffer from muscle imbalance using straight bars.

But like me, if you are right-arm dominant.

Like me, if you have a strong right arm bicep, you might accidentally use your right arm more than your left arm while doing barbell curls.

So if you have issues like me, you should skip EZ and straight bars and stick to dumbbell curls.

Barbell curl proper form [Video]

YouTube video

What are the benefits of a dumbbell curl?

I think in one video, Jeff from AthleanX said he used to do curls almost once every hour – since he had a lot of free time.

From this, you can easily understand that the small muscles like the biceps grow better with a moderate weight with high reps.

For a home gym, a dumbbell is compact and easy to just pick up and work your biceps.

You can overload, do a full range of motion and have no chance of muscle imbalances as well.

Barbell Curl vs Dumbbell Curl for Bicep Growth 1

Reason Against the Dumbbell Curl

It’s Easy to Cheat

Dumbbell curl is easy to cheat since you can rock your body, do half range of motion, use your other hand to support etc.

And if you cheat over and over – you are failing yourself.

Your bicep growth won’t skyrocket neither you will gain any strength.

[Benefits of barbell curls]

Why Should not you use a straight barbell?

I severely lack wrist strength when I can feel it even if I do straight arm bicep curls with heavy weights.

So if you have weak wrists or wrist pain then you should skip the straight bar and use the EZ bar.

Should you do both exercises?

You can do both barbell and dumbbell curls for bicep growth.

But you really do not need to do it.

Muscle group activation is almost the same for all the exercises.

But maybe by combining them you can maximize the effectiveness. With EZ bar curls you can lift heavy and with DB curls you can work towards balancing your biceps.


So there you have it, gym-goers! Whether you need a barbell or dumbbell for your biceps, there’s an option out there that works for you.


Working Out for 10 years | Owns a home gym |Certificate course done on Improving Aerobic Fitness, Diet | CPD (UK) Accredited Certification on Fitness

🥊 About The Skinny Author

Yo Friends, this is Samarjit! A skinny guy who is building his tiny home gym.

I have successfully gained 10 kgs in 10 months going to commercial gyms. And I have been working out on and off for about 10+ years now.

I have gone swimming, done martial arts, Olympic lifts and body building type workouts!

I cancelled the gym subscription as I was more into making my home gym for workout. And getting ready, then getting my cycle and ride to the commercial gym seemed a drag after 10 hours in the office.

Thus, I needed a home that I can access at any moment!
And I started building my home gym!

I had to research a lot to build my home gym and decided to share effective, budget friendly home gym machines, nutrition to buy as per your goals here in

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Ps: Author is highly experienced with making small workout routines, understanding and guiding people to get gym equipment and set up home gym as per their Fitness goals.

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