Drag curls: What they are & how to do them

Drag curls are one of the more unknown lifts in the gym. By adding these to your arm day you will see massive improvement in forearm and bicep growth.

How To Do Drag Curls

Barbell Bicep Workout

If your looking to build up your forearms and strengthen your biceps all in one move, the drag curl is a perfect exercise to add to arm day. Drag curls are done most often with a barbell but you can use an EZ bar or dumbbells also, as you focus on building your biceps brachii.

This is the article Drag curls: What they are & how to do them.

In today’s article I am going to tell you all about the drag curl, and why you will want to add it to your next arm day in the gym.

What are drag curls?

Drag curls are a type of barbell curl that is a great exercise for improving both the size and strength of your arms and biceps. Barbell drag curls work the biceps brachii, which is made from 2 bicep heads: the long head bicep and the short head bicep.

Barbell Drag Curls mostly target your long head bicep and is a great exercise when trying to build your bicep peak, however, you incidentally work your short head bicep and brachialis as well when completing this movement. This means that barbell drag curls have the potential to grow the size and strength of your biceps while also improving the all around aesthetic of your arms.

Drag curl benefits

The benefits of adding the drag curl to your workout vault of exercises are plenty. We have listed the 4 main reasons why below.

Long head and short head bicep

Barbell drag curls is a fantastic exercise when trying to activate your long head bicep and short head bicep. By using good form when completing the motion, and by squeezing your bicep at the top of the lift, you will be able to feel an excellent burn throughout your bicep tendon on both the inner and outer arm.

In addition to working the bicep brachii, barbell drag curls also activate the brachialis, which is the muscle that is positioned beneath your bicep heads.

Bigger forearms

Drag curls like a number of other bicep exercises also activates the brachioradialis, which is the biggest and most prominent muscle in your forearm.

What fun is having big biceps unless you have big forearms to match, right?

Stronger biceps

Barbell drag curls build strength in all areas of your biceps. By making drag curls part of your arms day routine, while also eating and sleeping correctly, you will begin to see increased strength in your arms and the weights you use to complete your bicep exercises may also go up.

Better looking arms

The long head bicep is what makes up your bicep peak. Your bicep peak is one of the main contributors to the aesthetic and look of your arm. The bigger and rounder your bicep peak is, the better your arms are going to look. Drag curls are a great way to target your long head bicep and thus are a great way to get better looking arms.

Drag curls also work the short head bicep which is what makes your arm look thick and girthy. Your short head bicep is what gives your arm thickness and a good short head contributes a lot of value to the overall aesthetic of your arm.

If you want your arms to look better and fit tighter in your favorite t-shirt, make sure to do lots of barbell drag curls.

Injury reduction

Many bicep exercises unintentionally activate muscles in the shoulder, specifically the front deltoids, which can often lead to pulls, strains, and other issues in the shoulder.

Barbell drag curls target only the biceps while excluding your front deltoids from the equation. This reduces the risk of incidental shoulder injury when working hard on trying to grow your bicep muscles.

How to do drag curls

Drag curls are traditionally done by a barbell, however you can also use an EZ Bar or dumbbells. For our instructions we will describe how to do drag curls with a barbell.

  1. Grab a barbell with an underhand supinated grip in a slightly less than shoulder width position. The bar should now be in your hands and resting against the top of your thighs.
  2. Plant your feet shoulder width apart, stand tall with your back straight, and your gaze forward.
  3. Begin to curl the barbell upwards, while keeping the barbell pressed against your body as you lift. The barbell should always be in constant contact with your body/stomach as you slide or “drag” the weight upwards through the movement. Your elbows should travel backwards as you lift the weight, in order to lift the weight in a straight path and keep it pressed (or dragging) against your body.
  4. Lift until the barbell until has reached your chest and your biceps are completely contracted. Hold and squeeze your biceps in this position.
  5. Begin to lower the weight back down again, still traveling in a straight path and in constant contact with your torso as it drags down the surface of your body. (It is called a “Drag Curl,” because you are dragging it against your body.)
  6. Repeat until failure.
Tall Paul
Tall Paul
I am 6'7 (203cm) / 235lb (106 kg) model and ex-athlete. Since I was a teen I had trouble finding clothes. I was too tall for off the rack and was too lean for Big & Tall.

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