EZ Curl Bar: What Is It and Do I Need One?

EZ Curl Bars are those curiously-shaped wiggly barbells that some bodybuilders like to use for various curling exercises, mostly involving the biceps.

EZ curl bar and preacher bench

This weight lifter is using an EZ Curl Bar

How much does an EZ Bar weigh?

EZ Curl bars come in two variations:

  1. Standard EZ Curl bar
  2. Olympic EZ Curl bar (which some people call a revolving curl bar)
  • Standard EZ Curl bar weight is 10 pounds (which is 5 pounds less than a standard straight barbell). Typically, the length of an ez curl bar is 47 inches.
  • Olympic EZ Curl bar weight is generally a bit more (around 25 pounds), thanks to the additional length and the bearing assembly and sleeve, but they don’t weigh 35 or 45 pounds like a straight Olympic barbell.

Unless you’re strong enough to curl 100 pounds or so, it’s probably not worth the added expense to get an olympic curl bar unless you alread have olympic-sized weight plates.

Check out the best standard EZ Curl Bar at Amazon, click here.

Curves in all the right places

Various angles are built into EZ Curl barbells. This makes it “easy” to use different grips.

  • Standard grip

    Using the EZ curl bar with a standard grip

    Using the EZ curl bar with a standard grip

    Sometimes called the ‘supinated’ grip, this underhand grip is commonly used with a straight barbell, but it’s more comfortable with an EZ Curl bar since the hands remain at a more natural angle.

    Bodybuilders can handle more weight during bicep curls if they use an EZ Curl bar instead of a barbell.

    The image at the top of this article shows curls using a standard grip and a preacher bench for added isolation of the biceps.

  • Pronated grip (reverse grip)

    Holding the curl bar with a reverse grip

    Reverse grip (pronated grip) on the EZ curl bar

    This overhand or reverse grip is useful during reverse curls that target the brachioradialis muscles of the forearms.

    It’s also useful for the various flavors of wrist curls that work the wrist and forearm flexors.

    You won’t be able to use anywhere near as much weight during reverse grip curls as you can with a standard grip.

    Grip positions on the Ez curl bar

    Don't know how to hold it? These are the grip positions on the EZ curl bar

    This is the sort of exercise you should do at the end of your workouts because otherwise it will fatigue your forearms and your grip and make it impossible for you to give 100% effort on your heavier, more important lifts. If you worry about skinny forearms, read my advice about forearm curls.
  • Behind the head

    Some bodybuilders perform triceps extensions while holding the EZ Curl bar behind their heads. This can be hard on the joints using a straight bar.

    Many folks like to do behind the head triceps moves while lying on a flat or incline bench. Using a curl bar lets you move more weight than you can with two dumbbells.

To buy a good ez curl bar, or just to check out additional specs and reviews at Amazon, click here: Standard EZ Curl Bar

EZ Curl Bar Exercises – A new twist on old moves

The EZ Curl bar is useful for any exercise that puts excessive pressure on the wrists or elbows. Some popular strength-training exercises that work especially well with an EZ Curl bar are:

  • Close-grip bench press

    This movement is perfect for emphasizing triceps development; it’s used as an assistance exercise by trainees who feel that their triceps are the weak spot that’s holding back progress in the bench press.

    Unfortunately, close-grip presses are very hard on the wrists; they put a lot of lateral shear force on the wrist joints.

    The EZ Curl bar makes close-grip bench presses easier and safer by keeping the wrists properly aligned. However, most EZ Curl bars are too short to fit the uprights on a standard bench press; trainees need the bar handed off to them.

  • Triceps Extensions

    This standard triceps-building isolation exercise has several variations:

    • The standing triceps extension performed behind the head, occasionally called a French press
    • The lying triceps extension performed on a flat or inclined bench.

    Close Grip presses and lying triceps extensions are much easier and safer with an EZ Curl Bar.Both variations put a lot of pressure on the wrists. The EZ Curl bar takes pressure off the wrists and puts it back on the triceps, where it belongs.

    Also available are dedicated triceps bars, but they don’t offer much advantage over an EZ Bar, and they cost more since there is more welding involved in their manufacture. If you have an interest, check out my article about triceps bars and other types of barbells.

  • Preacher Curls

    This elbow-wrecking isolation exercise targets the biceps while they’re fully stretched. It puts maximum pressure on the biceps tendon at the elbow. Most bodybuilders who use a preacher bench do EZ Bar preacher curls to avoid elbow problems.  Some folks call the ez-bar a “preacher bar”, for this very reason.

  • Upright Rows

    This shoulder and upper back exercise has a well-deserved reputation for being hard on the shoulder joints. But it’s also rough on the wrists. By using an EZ Curl bar during upright rows, trainees can handle more weight.

Is an EZ Curl bar really necessary?

Do you really need an EZ Curl bar? In a word: no.

But for folks who can’t handle as much weight as they’d like because of wrist problems, EZ Curl bars are a useful option to the wrist-wrecking straight barbells.

EZ Curl bars are perfect for advanced lifters who have finished bulking up and want to start incorporating some isolation exercises into their workouts.

They’re also used by weak or injured lifters who want to spare their wrists and elbows the pressure of a maximum-intensity workout.

What is a Super EZ Curl Bar?

Some manufacturers sell Super EZ Curl Bars. These are similar to traditional EZ Curl Bars, but they feature more acute curves.

EZ Curl Bar and Super EZ Curl Bar comparison

An EZ Curl Bar and a Super EZ Curl Bar

With a super curl bar, you can use a parallel grip, useful for hammer curls or triceps extensions behind the head.

While it’s nice to have both types, if you have to choose just one, stick to the tried and true regular curl bar.

Check out my recommendation for the best standard-sized EZ curl bars at Amazon: Standard EZ Curl Bar

Looking for a Super Curl Bar? Here’s the best one: Super Curl Bar

If this article helped you, help us by "liking" or "+1" to spread the word!

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Robert Johnston September 18, 2010 at 2:46 pm

I bought a well bar at Wall Mart, when I opened it, there was no instructions on how to use it! At 77, I am in bretty good shape, but need to build up my upper body. Is there a book of some sort that tells how to use the super curl bar?

Reply

Tyciol April 16, 2011 at 1:04 am

Great page, refreshed me on how to make use of mine (turns out the kind I bought is the ‘super’ variation, I haven’t seen the normal in the stores I’ve been to).

One error I would like to point out: preacher curls do not target the bicep while fully stretched. The bicep actually never stretches as much in a preacher as you will in a standing curl. This is because when you raise the elbows in front of you and put them on the pad, the shoulder flexion shortens the bicep across the shoulder joint.

What would be more correct to say is that the preacher emphasizes tension in the stretched position. As in, with a regular curl, even though the bicep is stretched further out, the amount of work you need to do when it is at that position is not very large. You could hold the bottom as long as possible and not exhaust the biceps because they’re in line with gravity.

In contrast to this, preacher loads more when the elbow is straighter.

Another key aspect of it is that it eliminates movement of the shoulder joint. In standing curl, the elbows can drift backward at the start to make the job easier. This is prevented since the pad stops it in preacher movement.

Another key thing is how tension can be lost at te top of the movement if the elbows are raised and the hands get closer to the shoulder (in horizantal distance) than the elbow, because then the triceps will work to prevent flexion.

Reply

Matt September 2, 2011 at 7:17 am

Ezy bar curls are good to replace one hammer curls or use a hammer grip bar. It saves time, I don’t like two arm alternate hammer curls. See when you see a pro doing one arm hammer curls across the body, because they are so big, their hand position is in the same place as when using a hammer grip bar. But I would change between the hammer grip bar, ezy curl bar and one armed dumbbell hammer curls every now an then for a 4 week cycle, perhaps ever three months. So yeah it is worth the investment.

The most important aspect and overlooked is whether you muscle is fast twitch or slow twitch, and train accordingly. The easiest way is to go back to your athletic history in junior high were you more capable as a distance runner or sprinter. Then adjust your reps and sets for your muscle type. Are you an Arnold or Zane. Otherwise get an MRI.

Everyone has both, but a distance runner will not be a sprinter. So by gradually increase the reps by not changing the weight over a 4 week cycle you will go through the rep range hit both fast and slow. 5 to 6 reps at the start to 12 to 15 reps at the end of the cycle.

Reply

lalalala September 28, 2011 at 12:01 am

“but they don’t weigh 35 pounds like a straight Olympic barbell”

Olympic barbells weigh 45 lbs.

Reply

J.R. October 29, 2011 at 8:26 am

In regards to the ‘lalala’ comment…Olympic bars come in two versions: male bar = 44 lbs., female bar 33 lbs
They are distinguished from one another by the grips on the bar. *ie male bar has the center grip, female doesnt.

Reply

Rob April 19, 2012 at 3:03 pm

When doing ez curls for the biceps are different muscles used compared to barbell curls?

Thank You

Reply

Thomas April 19, 2012 at 9:32 pm

As you grip the ez-curl bar, your hands and forearms naturally assume a neutral orientation. This puts maximum training stress on the biceps muscles.

The straight barbell, on the other hand, is difficult to use with heavy weights because it stresses your wrists/hands (and not in a good way).

So the bottom line is, it doesn’t really work different muscles, but it allows you to work your biceps through their full range of motion without the limitations caused by the un-ergonomic straight barbell. Therefore, you will be able to use more weight while maintaining strict form.

For most folks, it doesn’t matter that much. But if you really want to “blast” your biceps, the ez curl bar makes your wrists feel much better.

Reply

Lonny April 21, 2012 at 11:17 am

I love using the ez bar when working out , how ever when it comes to close grip I and many others experience pain in both wrist and this has been all my life.

Nothing will replace the straight bar for me when doing curls.

Ez bar does have it advantages over the straight like skull crunchers / and back arms other then that straight bar is king.

Reply

Leave a Comment