Doing bicep curls can help you with a few fitness goals. Find out how many repetitions you should do with what weights to see the results you desire.
By working your muscles with different reps and sets, you focus on different fitness components.
To build muscle, you should do around 3 to 6 sets of 6 to 25 bicep curls with a weight where you are just able to complete the repetitions.
On the other hand, if you want to improve bicep muscle strength, you should do around 4 to 8 sets of 5 bicep curls with a relatively heavy weight.
Next, to improve bicep muscle endurance, you would do around 3 to 6 sets of 25+ bicep curls with a weight where you don’t go to failure.
As your bicep muscles get bigger and stronger over time, you will have to increase the weight you use to keep seeing progress.
In theory, bicep curls could help you lose a little weight. In practice, this exercise is not that good for this purpose.
How many sets and reps of bicep curls to build muscle
While it is definitely not the only fitness goal out there, most people will be interested in finding out how many bicep curls they should do to build muscle.
To achieve this goal, you should do around 3 to 6 sets of 6 to 25 bicep curls with a weight where you can just complete these ranges.
It should even be possible to build muscle with sets of up to 50 light bicep curls and potentially even more repetitions.
In higher-repetition ranges like this you typically really want to push to muscle failure to see results.
That being said, you will likely need to do bicep curls with weights anyway. You may as well choose the ones for 25-rep ranges since these tend to be more time-efficient and comfortable.
As your biceps get bigger and stronger, you will have to gradually increase the weights you use to stay within the ranges and keep seeing results.
Is it OK to do bicep curls every day?
When you do resistance training exercises like bicep curls you damage the muscles you work. At first, this may sound bad.
However, this damage starts a variety of processes that can repair your biceps, grow them, and make them stronger.
One thing you do need to keep in mind is that your body still needs time (and nutrients) to complete these processes. Working the same muscles too soon can interfere with these.
For this reason, it is often recommended to give the muscles you just worked with resistance training exercises at least one extra day of rest before focusing them again.
That being said, your body tends to repair and grow smaller muscles like your biceps faster than big muscles like for example your glutes.
Because of this, it is OK to do bicep curls every day for many people.
How many bicep curls you should do a week
So in theory, you can likely do bicep curl workouts every day. Even so, that does not mean this is necessary and/or recommended.
Resistance training beginners can typically get a lot of bicep muscle growth from just two and even one bicep workout a week (on top of compound lifts).
If you keep increasing your weights, you may decide the results you get from doing two bicep curl workouts a week are enough for your training goals and preferences.
At the same, you could also get to a plateau where you are not able to lift more weight or do more bicep curls in your workouts but still want more results.
When/if this is the case, you can add bicep curl sets per week until you get to the situation you do want.
In short, something around 100 to 200 bicep curls a week should be enough to see nice amounts of results for most people. You could consider doing more to see more and faster results.
Recommendations for other fitness components
Hypertrophy (muscle growth) is not the only result you can get from doing bicep curls. There are other areas of your fitness you can improve too.
The first is muscle strength. You can describe this as how much force your muscles can generate. Bigger muscles do help with this but by changing your training you can make better use of existing mass.
To improve bicep muscle strength, you should do 4 to 8 sets of 5 bicep curls with a dumbbell or other weight where you are just able to complete the ranges.
Make sure you use your bicep muscles and not the rest of your body to move the weight. Something like a weight bench with a preacher curl pad could help.
That aside, since your body tends to recover more quickly from low-repetition sets, you could likely do strength bicep workouts every day.
Next, you should do around 3 to 6 sets of 25+ bicep curls with a weight where you don’t go to failure to improve bicep muscle endurance.
Again, you could likely do this type of workout every day even though it is often not recommended.
How many bicep curls is too many?
You may also wonder what happens if you go over the ranges above and at what point things go downhill.
The main reason why you would want to stay within the ranges above in single workouts/days is that you get diminishing returns.
In theory, you could do more bicep curls than the ranges above to see slightly more results but this is just not necessary and/or time-efficient for many people.
From the time frame perspective of a week, doing bicep curls too often can interfere with repair and growth processes.
This would mainly reduce the results you get but could also lead to overtraining injuries.
So you could say that more than 6 sets of 25 repetitions in a muscle growth workout is too many bicep curls in the sense that there are a lot of diminishing returns.
It is hard to make any general statements about at what point you can expect a reduction in results and/or overtraining injuries from bicep curls. This can vary a lot from person to person.
How many bicep curls should you do to lose weight?
Even if you realize that bicep curls are not helpful for this purpose, you may wonder how many repetitions you need to lose weight.
You can get some type of estimations with the help of MET values.
However, keep in mind that these are very lacking for weight lifting exercises. The calculation method does not even take into account how much weight you use in your bicep curls.
With that in mind, here are some very rough estimations about how many bicep curls people with different body weights would have to do to burn 100 calories:
- 125 pounds (56 kg) body weight: 580 bicep curls
- 155 pounds (70 kg) body weight: 468 bicep curls
- 185 pounds (83 kg) body weight: 392 bicep curls
- 215 pounds (97 kg) body weight: 337 bicep curls
These predictions are based on an MET of 3.5 and that people do about 20 bicep curls per minute.
If you keep in mind that one pound (0.45 kg) of body fat is about 3500 calories it becomes clear you should not do bicep curls to lose weight.