EZ curl bar exercises are a great tool to incorporate into your workout regime. While they look like wonky barbells, the EZ curl bars serve a specific purpose and are great for gaining strength and packing on muscle. The EZ Bar, also known as the Curl Bar, is a modified version of a standard/straight barbell. Shaped to assist with grip, the EZ Bar has ‘W’ like bends in it that allow wrist-friendly positioning of your hands. Not only does it make many curl movements easier on your wrists, but it also helps you get the most out of your workouts.
There are a number of different curl bar exercises which focus on various body parts. However, it is mostly used for arm-based curl bar exercises. Incorporating some EZ curl bar exercises into your normal workout routine is a great way to supercharge new gains.
What is the difference between an EZ curl bar and a standard barbell?
There are three main differences between an EZ curl bar and standard barbell.
- Weight: The Straight barbell is normally 45 lbs, though they do come in a lighter 35 lbs weight. The EZ Bar typically comes in 25 lbs, though it is also available in a 35 lbs. This makes the EZ Bar the lighter bar of the two, but it comes down to the EZ Bar being shorter in length.
- Shape: In case the name didn’t give it away, the Straight Bar is, well… straight. The EZ Bar has a range of kinks through its length, giving it a wavy appearance that can be compared to a ‘W’. Both bars have collars for loading weight plates onto them.
- Hand Positioning: The most significant difference between these two bars is the hand positioning you can utilize. With a Straight Bar, you can make use of an overhand or underhand grip with your wrists straight. With an EZ Bar, you can make use of an underhand grip with your wrists (naturally) turned out. You can also assume a reverse grip and have your wrists turned inwards. This decreases the amount of torque required by the wrists and is, therefore, more comfortable.
So, which is better? Neither! They are different, and both have their place in your workout regime.
Now onto some killer EZ Bar Exercises for you to try out!
6 EZ Bar Exercises for Bigger Arms
This bar allows for a great range of upper body, specifically arm exercises. Here are 6 of the best ones out there. Remember, good technique is key! So, make sure you check out the demo videos!
If you’re in need of your own EZ Bar to do these exercises, here is a great option for you to check out! (https://theworkoutdigest.com/best-ez-curl-bar/)
To perform the EZ Bar curl, start in a standing position whilst holding the bar on the outer bends. Your hands should be tilted slightly inwards due to the positioning on the bar. Your elbows should be close to your sides. Have your arms extended to begin with.
From here, exhale whilst curling the bar upwards towards your chest. Focus on keeping your upper arms stationary, moving through the forearms. Once you reach the top position of the curl, hold for a second whilst your biceps are contracted. Then inhale and return to starting position.
For best results, make sure you don’t swing through the hips to lift the weight with momentum. Focus on curling the weight through bicep contraction only. Note, you can change up this exercise by doing a wider grip, or narrower grip.
2. Reverse Curls
Reverse curls are great for targeting the forearms and can be done comfortably with an EZ Bar. It places a lot of strain on the wrists to do this exercise with a Straight Bar.
To perform this exercise, start standing with your feet shoulder width apart. Position your hands on the same groove of the bar as the standard curl, but this time with a reverse grip (palms facing down). Like the standard curl, your elbows should stay by your sides throughout the lift.
Exhale and curl the weight, bringing your knuckles towards your chest. At the top of the movement, hold for a second whilst your forearms are fully tensed. Then, exhale and lower the bar back down.
The eccentric phase of this exercise is important, so don’t let the bar flop down – you are in control!
3. Preacher Curls
To do this exercise you will need a preacher bench in addition to an EZ Bar. Ideally, you want someone to pass you the bar in this exercise, once you are seated in the preacher bench.
Hold the bar on the inner bends, assuming a narrower grip than the standard curl. Start with your biceps flexed and the bar at shoulder height. From here, inhale and slowly lower the bar down until your arms are straight and your biceps are fully stretched.
Once in the bottom position, exhale and curl the weight back up to starting position (bar at shoulder height). At this point, your biceps will be fully contracted, so hold for a second and feel the squeeze!
You can change this exercise up by assuming a wider grip too. If you’re working out from a home gym and require a preacher bench of your own, this one is a great one! ()
4. Upright Rows
Upright rows are one of the best trapezius and shoulder exercises that exist. And with the comfortable grip that the EZ Bar provides, you can really load them up! The positioning of your hands on the bar also allows you to pull it up higher, thus giving your traps an extra good workout.
Start by standing and hold the bar with a narrow, overhand grip (hold the first angled part of the bar from the middle). You should have a neutral spine and retract your shoulder blades before commencing the lift.
Exhale and pull the weight up, as high as you can – at the top of the movement, your elbows should be at ear level. Hold this position for a second and then return to the starting position.
Give this clip a watch to see how to do it!
5. Standing Overhead Tricep Extensions
As the name suggests, this exercise targets your triceps. My preferred variation of the Tricep Overhead Extension is the standing version. This is because it requires core stability to come into play as well. The more muscles worked, the better – right?
Like with the Upright Row, using the EZ bar allows for an optimal wrist positioning, making it more comfortable to perform.
To do this exercise, load the bar with a suitable weight (too heavy will make you lose form, so be reasonable). Grip the bar at the first grip position from the center of the bar and lift it directly overhead with your arms extended. Have your feet shoulder width apart and your core engaged so that your lower back remains protected under the load.
From here, inhale whilst bending your elbows to lower the bar behind your head until your forearms are parallel to the floor. Be mindful of keeping your elbows in – don’t let them flare outwards. Exhale and lift the bar back to starting position, whereby your arms are extended again.
6. Seated Military Press
Finally, the EZ Bar Seated Military Press! Commonly done with a Straight Bar, this exercise can also be done with an EZ Bar… and you guessed it – your wrists will thank you! And your shoulders will feel the burn, for sure.
Start off by setting up a bench at just over 90-degrees. Load the bar with an appropriate weight. If you have a rack to lift it off or someone to pass you the bar, that would be optimal. If not, be extra careful!
Grip the bar wider than shoulder width apart, so on the outer bends of the bar. Position the bar by your upper chest with your elbows under your hands. From here, exhale and push the bar straight upwards until your arms are extended. Hold for a second in this position, and then lower the bar down back to the starting position, whilst inhaling.
If you have shoulder pain you should not do this exercise, and if you don’t want to have shoulder pain, you must watch the video above before you attempt it.
Incorporating EZ curl bar exercises into your routine is a surefire way to boost your workouts and gain some serious muscle. There is no ‘best bar’ to use, but rather alternatives that have their pros and cons and should be used interchangeably. Sticking with any single exercise or group of exercises will always see your results slow. By changing things up and having a broad knowledge base filled with different curl bar exercises means you will always be able to come up with a new combination of moves to keep gains coming.
What are your favorite curl bar exercises for your arms that you keep coming back to? Let us know in the comments.