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Is a 60 pound or 65 pound dumbbell curl an impressive lift?

Learn if a 60 pound dumbbell curl is good for a natural lifter.
Written By  James Jackson
Last Updated on 16th December 2021
A bodybuilder doing a 60 pound dumbbell curl for his biceps

Is 60 pounds a good max bicep curl? Or is 60 pounds a weight that you should be curling for multiple sets and reps?

In addition to examining real-life case studies of people curling 60 pound dumbbells, this guide explains why so many lifters struggle to exceed 60 pound dumbbell curls and what you can do about it.

As you'll soon learn, the human bicep muscles have a lot more strength potential than most people think.

But first, let's answer the question that's on everyone's lips: Is curling 60 pounds good or not?

See How Your Biceps Stack Up:

Is a 60 pound dumbbell curl good?

A bodybuilder bicep curling 60 pound dumbbells

Is curling 60 pound dumbbells good?

Yes, a 60 lb dumbbell curl is a very impressive feat of strength for any weight lifter. Any gym-goer who can curl 60 lbs in one hand using good form has much stronger biceps muscles than average.

Of course, the more reps and sets that you, the more impressive that curling 60 lb dumbbells is.

Similarly, 60 lb hammer curls are slightly less of an achievement (but still very commendable) than supinated 60 lb curls because when you curl with a hammer/neutral grip, your biceps have more help from your brachioradialis and brachialis, which are two very powerful elbow flexors.

Some people with excellent powerlifting genetics can do 60 lb curls with less than a year of training experience. For the vast majority of lifters, however, curling 60 lbs—for reps with strict form—will take at least 3 years of serious strength training and quite possibly a lot more.

Is a 65 lb dumbbell curl good?

A muscular man doing 65 lb dumbbell curls

Although you might not think that a 65 lb dumbbell curl is much different from a 60 lb bicep curl, it actually is.

Going from a 60 pound curl to curling 65 lb dumbbells is an 8% increase. Would you ever just randomly increase your bench or squat working weight by 8% when you're already pushing heavy poundages?

I'd hope not. A 60 pound dumbbell curl is already strong and impressive, so you need to be doing plenty of reps per set with 60 lbs before you can think about graduating to the 65 pounders.

So yes, if you can curl 65 pounds with good form, then you're much stronger than the average lifter. Just make sure that you're not sacrificing your form in order to lift heavier weights. Muscles, after all, only respond to tension, so your biceps don't really care how much "weight" you're curling.

Is a 60 lb barbell curl impressive?

A man at the gym doing a 60 lb barbell curl to work his biceps

A 60 pound barbell curl is not bad and can certainly build some well-developed biceps if you perform enough training volume at a close enough proximity to muscular failure.

However, 60 or 65 lb barbell curls aren't really impressive because 60 lbs is a weight that most male lifters can curl with ease.

Of course, if you're doing 20-30 reps per set, which is a viable way to build your biceps, [1] then a 60 lb barbell curl is actually a fairly impressive amount of weight to be curling.

60 lb dumbbell curl case studies

Learn the levels of muscularity and biceps strength that it took different lifters to do 60 pound dumbbell curls.

Case study 1: David Jean

Weight lifting enthusiast David Jean posted a video of himself curling 60 lb dumbbells for one rep per arm. His case study is a great example of what a true one-rep max curl looks like.

While David clearly has a muscular physique, he's not a professional bodybuilder by any means. So it just goes to show that you don't need to be huge to bicep curl 60 pounds.

Of course, a lifter who can curl 60 lbs for 10 reps is very likely going to have better bicep development than someone who can only curl 60 lbs for one or two reps. This is simply because when you perform a higher number of reps (or slow down your reps), you're naturally putting more tension through your biceps, [2] which is the primary driver of muscle hypertrophy.

Anyway, the fact that David's 60 pound bicep curl was strict (no swinging or leaning back) made it even more impressive because so many people at the gym swing the 60s around like they're a toy, which completely robs their biceps of tension.

Case study 2: Jtrain Media

The man who operates the YouTube channel Jtrain Media posted a video of himself back in 2014 curling 60 pound dumbbells for reps.

As you can see from the video, his form is absolutely textbook. Most people can't even budge the 60s with their biceps, and yet this fella curled the weights up with perfect form and then lowered them in a slow and controlled manner.

Videos like this just show that natural biceps strength can improve a lot more than most people think.

I reckon this is because the bicep curl is a relatively easy movement to learn and master. After all, you only have to focus on moving at one joint (the elbow), which enables you to channel all of your energy into contracting your biceps.

Case study 3: Jerre Frazier Jr

Jerre Frazier Jr is very strong indeed. In addition to a variety of other impressive lifts, he can curl 60 pound dumbbells 10 times with textbook technique.

And given the size of his biceps, I'm not surprised.

Of course, there's a skill component to any kind of strength. But your strength on a simple lift like a bicep curl is primarily determined by the size of your biceps muscles. All else being equal, a bigger biceps brachii is capable of curling heavier weights than a smaller one.

The only improvement that I'd make to Jerre Frazier Jr's form—and I'm being picky here—is that he could've locked out his elbows at the end of each rep to ensure that his biceps got a 100% full range of motion.

Some might argue that locking out the elbows takes the tension off the biceps. However, locking out your elbows at the end of every curl helps to standardize your range of motion and give your biceps a good stretch.

Why do so many lifters get stuck at a 60 pound bicep curl?

A muscular man performing a 60 lb bicep curl with a dumbbell

The main reason that so many lifters get stuck at a 60 lb dumbbell curl is that a 60 pound dumbbell curl is already a very impressive feat of strength.

How many people do you see in the gym (not on the internet) curling 60 pounds for reps with perfect form?

I'll bet very few. And that's because it takes an incredible amount of biceps strength to curl 60 pounds in each hand with strict form.

So if you're stuck on a 60 lb curl, then don't sweat it. You certainly don't need to exceed a 60 lb dumbbell curl to build your biceps to their full natural potential because your biceps respond to tension and not weight.

Related: Is curling 50 pound dumbbells good?

Conclusion: Is curling 60 lbs good or not?

A bodybuilder performing 60 pound dumbbell curls

Yes, curling 60 lbs with dumbbells is very good because it's more weight than a lot of people can even bench press!

This is especially true if you're using strict lifting technique and performing multiple reps and sets.

While curling 60 pound dumbbells is by no means necessary to build well-developed biceps, it's definitely a marker of your biceps being advanced in their development. After all, nobody without bulging biceps can rep out 60 pound dumbbell curls for multiple sets.

References

  1. Schoenfeld, B. J., Peterson, M. D., Ogborn, D., Contreras, B., & Sonmez, G. T. (2015). Effects of Low- vs. High-Load Resistance Training on Muscle Strength and Hypertrophy in Well-Trained Men. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 29(10), 2954–2963. https://doi.org/10.1519/jsc.0000000000000958
  2. Schoenfeld, B. J., Ogborn, D. I., & Krieger, J. W. (2015). Effect of Repetition Duration During Resistance Training on Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Sports Medicine, 45(4), 577–585. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-015-0304-0
James Jackson
James Jackson is a personal trainer who uses his expertise in strength and conditioning to create helpful workout tutorials that show fitness enthusiasts how to build muscle while staying safe in the gym. He draws on the latest sports science data as well as tried and tested training techniques to get the best results for his clients without them having to live in the gym.
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