How to do Barbell Spider Curls

Barbell Spider Curls (How To, Muscles Worked, Benefits)

Barbell Spider Curls are a great exercise for anyone looking to build bigger and stronger biceps.

The name “spider curl” comes from the position of the arms during the exercise, which resembles a spider crawling up a wall. While it may seem like a simple exercise, it can be challenging to maintain proper form and control throughout the movement. However, once you get the hang of them, spider curls can be a valuable addition to any bicep workout routine.

In this guide, we will take an in-depth look at how to perform barbell spider curls correctly, including the proper setup, form, variations, and common mistakes to avoid. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced lifter, this guide will help you get the most out of this exercise and take your bicep gains to the next level.

How To Do Barbell Spider Curls

Equipment Needed

  • Barbell (EZ Curl Bar will also work)
  • Adjustable Bench

Muscles Worked

  • Biceps

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Set up an incline bench at a 45-degree angle.
  • Load a barbell with your desired weight and place it in front of the bench. (Make sure you’ll be able to reach it)
  • Lay on the bench facing down and reach forward to grab it with an underhand grip, keeping your hands shoulder-width apart.
  • Position yourself with your head hanging off the edge of the bench, arms hanging straight down.
  • Engage your core, keep your back straight, and curl the barbell up.
  • Keep your elbows stationary (don’t swing) as you lift the bar. Your upper arms should remain perpendicular to the floor.
  • Pause for a second at the top, then slowly lower the bar back down to the starting position, maintaining control throughout the movement.
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Coaching Points

Make sure to keep your elbows stationary throughout the movement, with your upper arms perpendicular to the floor. Avoid any swinging or jerking motions and maintain control throughout the exercise. Use a weight that allows you to maintain proper form, even as you fatigue (except maybe that last 1 or 2 reps).

Benefits of Spider Curls

Other than the obvious benefit of Spider Curls being a good exercise for developing biceps size and strength, Spider Curls can add some much-needed variety to your workouts.

Sometimes some ‘outside-the-box’ exercises like Spider Curls are just enough to inject some excitement into your lifts and keep them from getting stale.

Spider Curl Alternatives

Don’t have an adjustable bench? Need an alternative for Spider Curls? Here are a couple of exercises you may be able to try out instead.

(Need more options? Here is a list of my favorite Spider Curl alternatives.)

Hammer Curls

Hammer Curls

Hammer Curls can work as a great alternative for Barbell Spider Curls if all you have access to are dumbbells. Hammer Curls can be done standing or seated and are one of the best movements for targeting the Brachialis muscle.

Preacher Curls

Preacher Curls are another great alternative to Spider Curls because they isolate the biceps in a similar way, but with a completely different movement.

Preacher Curls are performed on a preacher bench, which helps to stabilize the upper arms and isolate the biceps. This exercise is great for those who have trouble maintaining strict form on Spider Curls or just want to vary their bicep workout.

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More Links and Info

If you’d like to check out more exercises for the biceps, triceps and forearms check out the Arm Farm section of our Exercise Library. There you’ll find dozens of movements, all for arms, with complete detailed instructions.

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