Increase the size of your arms with the Drag Curl exercise.

Body Drag Curls, take the deltoids out of the equation and give your biceps a maximal pump.

Taking your front deltoids out of the movement means your biceps will be under tension for longer and recruit more muscle fibers. The more muscle fibers you can recruit the better the results you will see.

This lift gets rated at an intermediate strength training level. It produces the best results for people who already have a solid foundation of muscle.

Drag curls are also commonly called Body Drag Curls. They have this name since the bar gets pulled/dragged across your body.

In this article, we will cover how you perform the Barbell Drag Curl with video and image examples.

A step by step description on how you correctly carry out this lift.

The Different equipment you need. The muscles worked when you are performing it.

Different benefits that come when you add it to your training program and some training tips.

Barbell Drag Curl How to Guide

Image Example

How to perform the Drag Curl exercise

Step by Step Description

  1. Step 1: Grab the barbell with a supinated grip(the palms facing forwards / underhand). Move your feet and hands to be approximately shoulder width apart. Move your elbows close to your torso and back.

    Look forwards and have your shoulders pulled back and down. Have your arms extended with only a slight bend at your elbows. The bar should rest around the mid thigh position.

  2. You are now in the starting position.

  3. Step 2: Exhale and keep your elbows at the back position (not pinned to your sides like traditional curls) now flex your elbows to curl the bar by dragging it up along the front of your torso (your elbows should move backward while lifting the bar upwards).

    Make sure you keep your shoulders stable and do not lift them while you are moving the weight. At the top position squeeze your biceps extra hard. The top position should bring the bar approximately to the bottom of your chest.

  4. Step 3: Now inhale and lower the bar slowly back to the starting position. Keep the bar touching the front of your body. At no time should the bar come out of contact with your torso.

  5. Step 4: Repeat for the number of repetitions you plan to complete.

Equipment Required

To perform the drag curl you will need a barbell, or you can also use an EZ bar or smith machine.

There is also a variation that will allow you to perform them with dumbbells. The disadvantage with dumbells is the fact you will not be able to do the drag across your torso.

When you drag the bar across your body, it helps to ensure the weight gets moved in a straight line up and down.

Muscles Worked

Your biceps are the primary muscle that gets targeted by this exercise. The forearms are the secondary muscle used when performing this lift.


Drag Curls keep your front deltoids from helping you do the lift. All the tension is going to stay right where it should on your biceps.

Keeping all the tension on your biceps will recruit the maximal amount of muscle fibers creating better size and strength in your biceps.

Trying to swing your arms or body is not going to help you get the weight up with this variation. Since swinging will not assist you, it makes cheating on the drag curl much more challenging.

Because it is such a basic movement pattern, there is a small risk of injury when performing it.

Training Tips

If you have problems with your form when you are performing this lift, try to do it in a Smith Machine. The smith machine uses a fixed path and will make this lift a lot easier.

A repetition range of 8 to 12 with 3 to 4 sets works well to get the maximal benefit from this lift. You also need to use a slow and controlled movement.

Because all the weight is on your biceps, you will have to use a bit less weight than the regular curl. Relax its suppose to work like this since your truly isolating your biceps. So check your ego at the door when you are doing this lift.

Do not bounce the bar when lowering the weight to gain momentum.

You can use this exercise with both an underhand or overhand grip.

  • Variations of the Barbell Drag Curl Exercise

  • Dumbbell Drag Curls
  • Ez Bar Drag Curls
  • Alternate Exercises

  • Incline Hammer Curls
  • Standing Preacher Curl


Drag curls are one of the best isolation exercises for your biceps there is.

Unlike the traditional curl, the weight is moved in a straight line up and down instead of arching out in front of your body.

Moving straight up and down places maximal tension on your bicep at the raised position.

Traditional curls put most tension on your bicep at the half way position.

Cheating with this curl variation is also a lot harder. Since the focus will stay on your bicep, it makes this lift an ideal isolation exercise since you are truly isolating your biceps.

The main reasons this curl does not get highly used at gyms is the fact that you will have to use a lower weight. However, don't let that stop you from using them. The bicep development this exercise will give your is well worth using a reduced weight.

Try adding this exercise into your routine for at least a month and see the benefits it has to offer for you.

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