The EZ curl bar and straight barbell are two of the most commonly used and effective tools in the gym when it comes to bicep and tricep training.
Which one is better?
Learn the pros and cons of each below and how to effectively use both of them to build bigger arms that will get you noticed at the beach this summer!
The bottom line is that both are valuable for building strong, shapely arms.
Both can be used with heavy weights.
It really just comes down to preference and what you feel works best for you.
Both are going to let you hit the muscles in your upper arms differently, but the main difference is the grips you can use with the EZ bar.
The underhand grip is much easier with a straight barbell curl. but preacher curls and skull crushers are easier with the EZ bar.
If you only have enough space for one in a home gym then the straight bar is muscle more versatile so that’s something to consider also.
The EZ bar will offer more options for tricep and bicep muscle growth making it the better choice if bodybuilding is your sole objective.
That being said there wouldn’t be a bodybuilder out there that trains exclusively with an EZ bar.
Olympic barbells are still going to be used first in any decent lifting program whether you want size or strength in the muscle.
You always want to start with big compound lifts first before moving on to isolated exercises like triceps extensions or straight bar curls.
Do I Really Need An EZ Curl Bar?
An EZ curl bar looks similar to a straight bar, but instead of being stiff along its entire length, it’s got some nice wiggles through the middle to allow for some natural biceps and triceps movements.
And yes, they are kind of cool. But does an EZ curl bar make sense for your training?
Probably not… When it comes to building big biceps and triceps, you don’t need an EZ curl bar.
Stick with a straight barbell if you want your arms bigger and stronger.
If you really enjoy using different bars, by all means, do so—just know that they won’t necessarily help you build better arms more than other tools. Don’t know the difference between triceps and biceps?
I got you, have a read of this article to learn the difference!
If using different bars is more about variety than effectiveness in terms of growth, then all power to ya!
Does an EZ curl bar look kinda neat? Sure does; will people who lift weights really give two craps whether or not it takes up space in your basement gym?
So without meaning to contradict myself it really does come down to your goals, but no you don’t need an EZ curl bar a straight bar bicep curl works fine as well.
Why Is It Called EZ Bar?
The ez in the EZ curl bar is derived from easy, which is in reference to how easy it is to use when training biceps brachii and triceps brachii.
The EZ curl bar is shaped differently than a straight bar because it has an S-curve at its center, allowing your wrists to be in more of a neutral position while you perform curls.
This takes stress off of your wrists and elbows while still engaging the biceps and triceps muscles properly.
So injury prevention is a big plus with the EZ bar.
Additionally, by using a different angle on some exercises for these arms, you are hitting different parts of these muscles throughout their entire range of motion.
By changing angles with an EZ curl bar or dumbbells instead of just doing different exercises with straight bars or dumbbells will help improve your development of arms so that they work as one unit rather than three separate parts.
Is The EZ Bar Easier?
There are some who will tell you that an EZ curl bar is easier to use than a straight bar and will provide better results.
An EZ curl bar looks very much like a normal weight lifting bar, with two main differences:
The first difference makes it so that when performing bicep curls you don’t have to bring your arms as close to your body as with a regular barbell.
The second difference makes it so you can place your palms at any point along its length and still comfortably perform curls without having any friction from gripping onto something else, such as plates.
EZ bars also work effectively for exercises like upright rows, giving you a more comfortable angle of your wrists while pulling heavy weight.
While there are different types of barbells in the weight room these two are the best option for your arms.
The EZ bar is more for arm-specific exercises and the straight barbell is the best way to build muscle in your whole body.
The last being benefit of the EZ bar is that fact it’s a better option for those suffering from wrist pain or a wrist injury.
Did you know you can also easily train your triceps with a TRX?
Can You Curl An Olympic Bar?
Just like curling an EZ curl bar, you can curl an Olympic barbell.
No matter what your goal (strength or size), if you’re doing biceps curls, you should be doing them with a straight bar or EZ-curl bar.
Your elbows should be tucked in so that they stay directly below your wrists for proper form.
You may have to readjust your grip several times throughout each set, which is fine—just make sure to go back to your original position before starting another rep.
As much as the EZ bar is a better option in terms of targeting your biceps and triceps with isolated movements and straight bar still offers a lot more exercises for a lot of muscle groups.
And if you’re just starting out that straight bar curls are fine. You’ll see more benefits for an EZ curl later on in your lifting career.
So if it is early days for you still, don’t stress too much about the equipment you are using.
Focus on targeting your whole body and staying consistent with a training routine.
Not only can you do curls with barbells, dumbbells, and kettlebells. But you can also do them with resistance bands!
I’m got a FREE Ebook available for download here that teaches you everything you need to know to get started training with resistance bands.
If you’re not convinced by that, check out this easy-to-follow bicep and tricep workout with a resistance band I posted on youtube.
Can You Squat With An EZ Curl Bar?
While you can use an EZ curl bar for back squats, it’s not optimal.
The bar is too short to put your hands in a proper position on top of your shoulders.
You end up with your palms facing each other, which limits the range of motion and puts strain on your wrists.
If you must use an EZ curl bar to squat, set up in a front rack position and try crossing your arms over instead of bringing them together in front—this will still limit the range of motion but it won’t damage your wrists.
However, if you can get access to a regular straight bar or Fat Gripz, do that instead; they’re better for squatting than an EZ curl bar.
An EZ bar is really more for training your arms than any other part of your body.
While squats can be done pretty easily with almost any other free weight the EZ bar is just too awkward for squats.
But if you really are sick of squatting with a barbell why not mix it up and try with dumbbells, kettlebells, or even resistance bands.
Here’s a video I posted recently showing you how can get a great leg session in with resistance bands.
How Often Should I Do Curls?
In terms of working your biceps and triceps, which you should exercise more often is going to depend on a few things.
The first thing you need to look at is your goals.
This will have a lot to do with how much time you’re willing to put into training arms each week.
It’s likely that if you have a short amount of time to train, then you’ll want to focus more on compound exercises that work out multiple muscle groups at once rather than smaller muscle groups like biceps and triceps.
When it comes to building size in these two muscles specifically though, it’s generally accepted that while compound exercises are great for gaining overall strength and power, direct isolation lifts tend to be better for building hypertrophy.
So what does all of that mean?
If you spend a lot of time doing curls or extensions or any other lift where you only move one joint at a time (isolated movements), expect them to get bigger from doing these types of lifts.
That being said, your muscles need to rest to grow.
Recovery is so important I can’t stress that enough.
It doesn’t matter what muscle group it is or if you doing weights or cardio you shouldn’t train every day.
You need at least 1 rest day every week to give your muscles time to rest and repair and then grow back bigger and stronger.
Final Mop Up
It really is going to come down to your personal goals with training whether you use one or the other, or even if you decide to use both.
For me, I like to use a mix of both, in saying that I don’t actually train too much with free weights other than kettlebells at the moment.
But when I do get into a weight room the majority of my workout will be with a barbell.
But there is something about doing an arm workout with the EZ bar.
I feel like I can hit my whole arm a lot easier with an EZ bar, I can get all the little guys as well as the big primary movers.
But really I can’t go past training with resistance bands.
There are so easy to use anywhere and really have become my favorite piece of exercise equipment for building strength and size as well as burning fat and improving all-round fitness.
I use bands in all my workouts and my client’s workouts and it hasn’t mattered what their fitness goals are.
There really isn’t much you can do with resistance bands. And you can take them anyway!
So there’s no excuse to stop working out just because you went on holiday.
And if you’re sick of waiting your turn for the bench press at the gym, or even waiting in traffic just to get to the gym then get a copy of my Ebook and say goodbye to both!
You really don’t need a gym membership anymore once you can a packet of bands and a copy of my EBook. Train wherever the f*ck you want!