How To Do Tempo Bicep Curls

Tempo Bicep Curls (How To, Muscles Worked, Benefits)

Using tempo for Tempo Bicep Curls is a simple, but very effective way to add variety to your workouts and really blast your biceps. And all of us are always looking for new and creative ways to achieve that glorious biceps pump, are we not?

In this guide, I’m going to teach you how to do Tempo Bicep Curls including important coaching tips and benefits.

How To Do Tempo Bicep Curls

Equipment Needed

  • Barbell (Dumbbells can be used as well)
  • Weight Plates

Muscles Worked

  • Biceps Brachii
  • Brachialis
  • Brachioradialis
  • Forearm Flexors

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Start standing with feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent and grab a barbell with a supinated (underhand) grip.
  • Start with 10 slow-tempo barbell curls – 2 seconds up, 4 seconds down.
  • Then, immediately transition to 10 fast-tempo curls – as quickly as you can rep.
  • Finally, transition to 10 regular tempo curls – 1 second up and 2 seconds on the way down.
  • 30 curls total, all back-to-back, at three different tempos.

Coaching Points

Doing 30 barbell curls in a row is hard enough, varying the tempo increases the challenge even more. It may take a set or two to figure out an appropriate weight to use for Tempo Curls. I recommend starting light and then increasing weight as needed.

Do not pause or rest between each tempo. Reps should all be done consecutively.


Perhaps the biggest benefit of Tempo Bicep Curls is adding variety to your workouts. Strength programs can get stale and you can sometimes fall into a rut of doing the same exercises all the time. Tempo Curls will definitely add a ‘shock to the system’ and infuse that much-needed variety.

Doing 30 curls in a row is a tremendous amount of time-under-tension. So, even though the weight used will need to be lighter and therefore the overall benefits to strength won’t be as strong, that much time under tension can be a solid contributor to hypertrophy.

Tempo Bicep Curl Alternatives

Looking for an alternative to Tempo Bicep Curls? Here are a few exercises you may be able to use as a substitution.


21s is a similar biceps curl movement that involves partial movements and a ton of time under tension.

Use a barbell (or EZ curl bar) in place of dumbbells and start by curling halfway up 7 times. Now bring the bar to the shoulders and lower it halfway down 7 times. Finally, perform 7 full reps – all the way up and down.

Seated Alternating Dumbbell Curls

Seated Dumbbell Curl
Turn a Hammer Curl into a Regular Curl by simply turning the palm up as you curl.

Want something a little more… simple?

Ditch all the crazy partial reps and tempo changes, sit down and do Seated Alternating Dumbbell Curls.

Sit at the edge of a bench and curl one arm at a time. By focusing on one arm at a time and because of the decreased overall time and tension, you’ll be able to use more weight and focus more on building pure strength.

More Links and Info

Want more biceps and triceps exercises? Check out the Arm Farm section of our Exercise Library. There you’ll find dozens of movements, all with complete detailed instructions.

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