Should you train with an E-Z curl bar? Yes. Here are four reasons I love the E-Z curl bar over barbells.
Weightlifting looks like a remarkably simple activity.
Pick up weight. Put down weight. Repeat until gains.
But when you walk into the weight room at your local fitness center you will notice just how many different kinds of barbells there are at your disposal.
But before you get overwhelmed, consider this: the bars each serve a different purpose and can help you achieve your workout goals, help you train more effectively, and even ward off unnecessary injury.
Here’s how the EZ curl fits in to your workouts.
EZ Curl bar – The barbell who zig-zagged
The shape of your neighborhood EZ curl bar looks like a child being asked to blindly draw a straight line. With numerous angles, the zig-zag style provides a range of different grip options.
Where a trap bar can be used for fully neutral grip, and barbells can be used for straight over/under grips, an EZ curl bar gives you an angled grip that can be easier on the shoulders, wrists, and elbows.
EZ curl bars are much also shorter than your traditional barbell (which is usually 7’ long), making them ideal for home gyms and athletes short on space. They are also perfect for pairing with a preacher curl bench, which helps keep you honest about your range of motion when doing curls.
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of how the E-Z curl performs versus a standard barbell.
E-Z curl bars have an ergonomic grip.
Ultimately, the grip that you use in the gym is up to you and your anatomical idiosyncrasies. What is comfortable for you may not be comfortable for others.
The angles on the EZ curl bar avoid the external rotation that is required on a straight bar, which for me, an athlete with a history of shoulder injuries, is a welcome feeling.
While the grip on an EZ curl isn’t fully neutral, it’s very close. The semi-supinated position is simply more comfortable in most lifter’s hands and wrists.
Better balance when the bar is loaded with weight.
Olympic barbells are long. Using them for curling is problematic because half of your effort and stabilization muscles are spent keeping the weight balanced.
Most curl bars are around five feet, which brings the weight plates closer to your natural center of gravity. Rather than wobbling the bar and plates, you can focus on driving that weight straight up and down for maximal muscle stimulation and growth.
EZ curls generate more muscle activation.
If you want to get the most bang for your buck in the gym, the EZ curl is your ticket to the gun show.
In one study, a group of twelve healthy participants (as opposed to sickly participants? 🤔) did ten bicep curls at 65% of one-rep max for each kind of curl, using dumbbells, a straight bar, and an EZ curl bar.
The big winner when it came to the most bicep activation? The EZ curl bar. (The standard bar took second, beating out the DB’s, FYI.)
Best for skull-crushers
One of my favorite exercises in the gym are skull-crushers. Don’t let the name freak you out—the goal isn’t to collapse your brain and skull but rather to work the three-headed monster on the back of your arm—your triceps.
The EZ curl bar is perfect for this exercise. (Especially “Super” curl bars, which have steeper angles, giving you a nearly completely neutral grip.)
The neutral grip allows you to maintain a more comfortable handle on the weight, and the shorter length of the bar is your best friend here. When you lower the weight to the bottom of the movement, you want a bar that is going to be stable and markedly less wobbly.
EZ curl bars are also lighter than traditional barbells (EZ curl bars are usually 30lbs, with barbells 45lbs), which makes getting started with this exercise a little safer and more accessible.
Where to buy an EZ curl bar
Home gym equipment has never been more popular. With a worldwide pandemic and gyms closing, gymgoers and athletes have been investing in building their own home gym.
Fortunately, this means lots of competition and respectable pricing on commercial-grade weight lifting equipment that us regular Joes can have at home.
I’ve reviewed most of the EZ curl bars on the market (see my full breakdown of the best EZ curl bars for home gyms here), but here are my favorites:
💪 Rogue Curl Bar. Rogue Fitness is the king of the mountain for home (and commercial gym gear), and the Rogue Curl Bar, basically a zig-zagged version of the legendary Ohio Power Bar is an absolute beast.
💪 CAP Olympic EZ Curl Bar. Much shorter than a standard barbell, the 32” wide CAP Olympic Curl Bar is fully knurled and comes with T-screw collars for keeping the plates locked and loaded on the bar.
💪 CAP Barbell Super EZ Curl Bar. Made for non-Olympic plates (with 1” holes), the curl bar has rubberized grips, threaded sleeves, and extra angled (hence the “super”) bar.