Buddy Curls

Buddy Curls (How To & Alternatives)

Buddy Curls are an excellent Barbell Curl variation to add some variety to workout and absolutely smoke your biceps in the process. You will need a partner for this exercise, ideally one with similar strength.

In this guide, I’m going to teach you how to do Buddy Curls including important coaching points and some alternatives. So, grab a partner and get ready to crush your arms.

How To Do Buddy Curls

Equipment Needed

  • Barbell
  • Weight Plates

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Grab a partner and a barbell.
  • Stand facing your partner, barbell in hand.
  • Perform 1 Barbell Curl and then hand the bar to your partner.
  • Have your partner do 1 curl and hand the bar back to you.
  • Now, do 2 Barbell Curls and hand the bar back to your partner.
  • Continue adding one rep to each set, handing the bar back and forth.
  • Once you both do a set of 8 reps, begin working your way back down to 1 rep.
  • Do not set the bar down until every rep of every set has been completed.

Coaching Points

Just to be clear, the reps of each set should look like: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 for a total of 64 reps each.

You will not need very much weight at all on the bar (or even any weight at all).

The key is to not set the bar down until all reps are complete. Yes, your forearms will be on absolute fire along the way. Expect it. Enjoy it.

Don’t have a partner? No worries. Set the bar down between every set and count 1 second for each rep.

Buddy Curl Alternatives

Here are a couple more creative biceps finishers that can be done with a straight barbell or an EZ Curl Bar.


21s are also best done with a partner but can also be done without one if necessary.

Have a partner hold their hand flat out in front of the bottom of your sternum. Perform 7 half reps going up and lightly touching your partner’s hand. Curl the bar to shoulder height. Now perform 7 half reps going down to your partner’s hand.

Finally, do 7 full range of motion reps.

Barbell Curl Drop Set

Yet another great biceps finisher. And another exercise that is best done with a partner.

Start with either two tens or two fives on each side of the bar.

Perform 10 reps. Have your partner (or you if you’re partner-less) take one plate off of each side of the bar. Do ten more reps. Take off the second plate on each side. Finish with 10 reps with just the bar.

More Links and Info

If you’d like to see even more alternatives to regular barbell curls, check out my 11 favorite Barbell Curl Alternatives.

Or, head to the Arm Farm Section of our Exercise Library where you’ll find dozens of arm exercises, all with completed detailed instructions.

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