Tall guys, barbell curls are a fundamental resistance training exercise that targets the biceps brachii and engages forearms, providing a holistic approach to arm development. For us tall guys, the barbell curl presents unique benefits, including a uniform range of motion that accommodates longer limbs and leverages for strength due to extended muscle recruitment. 

The stability and control provided by the barbell are especially advantageous for taller individuals dealing with stabilization challenges in certain exercises. However, potential disadvantages, such as the initial setup height and the risk of speeding through the motion, require careful consideration. 

In this article, I explore the benefits of the barbell curl and present a tailored step-by-step guide designed specifically for tall guys, emphasizing proper setup, posture, controlled movements, and optimal range of motion.

Table of Contents

Understanding The Barbell Curl

The barbell curl is a fundamental resistance training exercise that primarily targets the biceps brachii muscle. This compound movement engages the biceps while also activating the forearms, providing a comprehensive approach to arm development.

Doing barbell curls properly will lead to thick, solid, lumberjack-like biceps and forearms.

how to do a barbell curl for tall guys

Barbell Curl Advantages For Tall Guys

Despite the potential challenges faced by taller individuals in certain exercises, the barbell curl offers distinct advantages that can be particularly beneficial for those with longer limbs:

Uniform range of motion

Unlike some isolation exercises, the barbell curl allows for a consistent range of motion, ensuring that taller individuals can fully extend and contract their biceps without compromising form.

Leverage for strength

Taller guys often possess longer levers, which can work to their advantage in compound exercises. The barbell curl allows for the recruitment of additional muscle fibers, potentially leading to greater overall strength gains.

Stability and control

The use of a barbell promotes stability and control during the lift, which can be especially beneficial for tall individuals who may struggle with stabilization in certain exercises.

Barbell Curl Disdvantages For Tall Guys

Picking up the barbell

Bending down to pick up the barbell can be potentially injury-inducing. If you can, set up the barbell on a rack that is waist height that you can pick up and put the weight back onto.

Speed hurts

Take your time throughout the full range of motion. Doing this will help you focus more on keeping a tight core. When you speed up the lift and start ‘bouncing’ the barbell with momentum, you will expand that bounce to your entire upper body, putting unwanted strain on your back.

Tools You'll Need

  • Barbell
this is a photo of a barbell to do barbell curls

How To Do A Barbell Curl For Tall Guys

Let’s break down the steps for performing barbell curls specifically tailored to tall guys.

1. Barbell curl set up

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Hold the barbell with a shoulder-width grip, allowing your arms to fully extend.
  • Look at the different lines on the barbell and match your right hand to your left hand’s location. 

Tall tip: If you have lower back pain in this stance before making a curl, stagger your stance slightly. Move your front foot 2-3 inches forward so your right heel is in line with the base of the toes of your left foot.

this is a photo of tall Paul standing with his feet shoulder width apart for a barbell curl
Standard stance
this is a photo of tall Paul holding a barbell with a shoulder width grip to barbell curl
this is a photo of tall Paul with a stagger stand to do a barbell curl
Stagger stance

2. Proper posture

  • Maintain a straight, upright posture throughout the exercise.
  • Keep your shoulders back and your chest up.

3. Elbow position

  • Keep your elbows close to your torso, avoiding excessive movement.
  • Ensure that your upper arms remain stationary throughout the lift.
this is a photo of tall Paul showing the proper position of elbows for barbell curl

4. Controlled Movement

  • Begin the lift by flexing at the elbows and curling the barbell towards your shoulders.
  • Focus on a controlled and deliberate movement, avoiding swinging or using momentum.
  • Pinch your lats before each movement. Doing this will help lock in your elbow position.

5. Full range of motion

  • Lift the barbell until your forearms are vertical and your biceps are fully contracted.
  • Lower the barbell back down controlled, fully extending your arms.
  • Waist –> Chest –> Reverse
this is a photo of tall Paul curling a barbell to chest height for a barbell curl

6. Repetitions and sets

  • Reps and sets all depend on your goals for the gym & what other lifts you have done that day to complement the barbell curls.
  • I create tall guy workout plans, click through and message me your fitness goals and I can tell you the reps and set you will want to hit.