This paper considers the strength gain and ductility of high strength reinforced concrete beams under the combined action of shear and bending stresses incorporating high strength tensile and helical reinforcement. The effect on ductility through the application of helical reinforcement located in the compressive region of the beam is highlighted. Beams of four metres span were subjected to flexural loading, with an emphasis placed on the mid span deflection. The results indicate that helical reinforcement is an effective way of increasing ductility in high strength reinforced concrete beams. Copyright © 2005 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.