Reversed Incline Bench Barbell Curls

Isolation exercise, Free weights

This article is verified by 1 study/publication.




Required equipment

Main muscles

  • Biceps: Arm flexor
    (Musculus biceps brachii)
  • Biceps: Arm flexor long head
    (Musculus biceps brachii, Caput longum)

Training plans

Here you can find example plans for reversed incline bench barbell curls training:

Reversed Incline Bench Barbell Curls: Basics and alternatives

: Involved main muscle groups Reversed Incline Bench Barbell Curls

Involved main muscle groups:
Reversed Incline Bench Barbell Curls

Don’t be put off by the lengthy name of Reversed Incline Bench Barbell Curls – it’s an excellent exercise for isolating your biceps. As the name implies, it’s the reversed version of the “regular” incline bench biceps curls. This refers not only to body position but also to the position of your upper arms. Instead of leaning back to increase the angle of your arms towards your shoulders, you reduce the angle by lying diagonally on your stomach.

Since you have more space forward/down with reverse incline curls, using a barbell is better for increased stability. The movement follows the usual biceps curls: hold the barbell with straight arms and then lift it by bending your elbows.

As an alternative to the lying position, you can also perform barbell biceps curls while standing.

Correct Execution

There’s no exact rule for the leaning angle with reverse incline barbell biceps curls. Essentially, it shouldn’t be too steep or too flat. Choose an angle that lets you comfortably lay your upper body on the backrest while still having enough space to let your arms hang down.

Make sure to use a bench that can support your body weight (plus the barbell). This is especially important for home gyms, where weight benches often have lower maximum loads compared to professional studio equipment.

You can also use an EZ bar instead of a barbell, which provides (standing) slightly better activation of the biceps [1].

Video tutorial

Reversed Incline Bench Barbell Curls

Step-by-Step Instructions

Grab the barbell and move towards the backrest of the weight bench.

Rest the barbell on the backrest (while still holding it firmly so it doesn’t fall!). Grip the barbell slightly tighter in the underhand and lie with your stomach on the backrest. Use your feet to stabilize your body, which usually works best with a wide stance.

Press your chest onto the backrest while lifting the barbell off the backrest and lowering it in a controlled manner. Your arms should now hang straight down towards the floor with the barbell in your hands. You’re now in the starting position.

Lift the barbell in a controlled manner by bending your elbows. Your upper arms should remain stationary in the starting position.

Once you reach the top, hold the barbell’s position for a brief moment and then lower it back down to the starting position in a controlled manner.

Common Mistakes

Avoid the classic swinging mistake with this exercise. Ensure that your upper arms’ position doesn’t change during execution. Your upper arms should always be directed straight towards the floor, and the movement of the barbell should come only from bending your elbows.


  1. Differences in electromyographic activity of biceps brachii and brachioradialis while performing three variants of curl. Giuseppe Marcolin et al. PeerJ 2018; 6: e5165. doi: 10.7717/peerj.5165., accessed on 30.08.2021