Traditional barbells and straight bars will likely always be a favorite among beginner gym-goers, but once you start to travel outside your comfort zone you’ll see that EX curl bars are a solid piece of equipment that can assist in better muscle activation than your standard barbell. In this article, we’re going to go over the types of curl bars, curl bar weight, the benefits of the curl bar, and the differences between an EZ curl bar and the straight bar.
So, What Is an EZ Curl Bar?
An EZ curl bar is a type of barbell with a curved shape that allows for a more comfortable and natural grip. Additionally, the angled grip of a curl bar can help target the bicep muscles more effectively, allowing for better muscle development.
The EZ curl bar was introduced around the 1950s during the golden era of bodybuilding and was developed as a tool to help to prevent overuse injuries. This allowed bodybuilders to develop stronger and more defined bicep and triceps muscles without as much fatigue and damage to their forearms and wrists.
A man named Lewis G. Dymeck invented the Dymek Curling bar (better known as the “EZ Curl” bar) and was granted the patent for it on May 23, 1950. Apparently, Dymeck had injured his wrist, and training with a straight bar was too painful, so he invented this unusual bar to work for him. Not long after every commercial gym had some version of it and it became very well-known amongst the fitness community.
The function of the Bar
An EZ curl bar can be used for a variety of exercises, not just regular bicep curls as some might expect. Exercises that can be performed with an EZ curl bar include reverse curls, triceps extensions, skull crushers, lying triceps extensions, preacher curls, and more. These primary exercises can help develop and strengthen the biceps, triceps, and forearms. On top of that, the EZ curl bar can be used for other exercises that target different muscle groups, such as chest press, shoulder press, and bent-over rows. These exercises can help to build overall upper body strength and improve muscle tone.
Why is it essential to know your curl bar’s weight?
It’s important to know how much your curl bar weighs so you can know the total weight that you’re lifting. This is especially important because the exercises geared towards the curl bar are typically more isolation exercises where small jumps in weight can make a very big difference in your progress.
Benefits Of The Curl Bar
The first and most known benefit is the ergonomic grip. The curved shaft of the curl bar avoids the external rotation that is required on a straight bar, which means that if you suffer from shoulder injuries this is a fantastic option for you. It’s overall more comfortable as well so if you’re new to lifting, this might also be a good place to start if you’re struggling with proper grip position.
Another benefit is balance. If you’ve ever held or seen an Olympic barbell then you know they’re long. This might not seem like an issue, but using them for curling can easily become problematic because you’re spending most of your energy and stabilizing muscles on keeping the weight balanced. So rather than wobbling around with a regular barbell, a curl bar can allow you to focus on driving the weight up and down for maximal muscle stimulation and growth.
Speaking of muscle growth, a curl bar can generate more muscle activation. Not long ago, a study was done on a group of twelve active people to see how well they did with different bars. The idea was for them to do 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 second-place winner went to the standard bar while the… you guessed it, the EZ curl bar took first when it came to most bicep activation.
Curl Bar Weight by Type And Why You Need Them
Just like any other piece of gym equipment, knowing which type of curl bar you should use and how much they weigh is very important to know. So let’s get into the basics of curl bars by type:
Standard EZ Curl Bar
The standard curl bar weights are between 10-15 lbs and usually have a threaded or smooth sleeve and adjustable collars that lock the weights in place. A curl bar like this one is designed to reduce general stress on the forearm, meaning if you’re struggling with pain while trying to work out your biceps and triceps then this bar is a great option for you. Plus, with the ‘W’ shape of the bar, you can grip it in multiple ways, making it much more versatile than your average bar.
Olympic EZ Curl Bar
The Olympic curl bar weight is 16-35 lbs and ranges from 47”-75” in length. These bars are one of the most common at commercial gyms and are compatible with 2” Olympic-sized plates. Now, a good reason to try this kind of bar is the fact that the barbell is designed to work your triceps and biceps while limiting the stress on your elbow and wrists.
Super EZ Curl Bar
The super curl bar weight is 17-20 lbs and typically 47” long. This bar has more of a bend and curve that makes it better for a more neutral grip that promotes a natural motion of the forearms. This bar is very similar to the Olympic curl bar, but with even deeper curves, allowing even more grip options to assist with forearm and wrist stress to help you achieve higher reps on exercises like tricep extensions, preacher curls, skull crushers, and so much more.
Fixed EZ Curl Bar
The fixed curl bar weight is between 10-110 lbs (each one in 10 lb increments). Their usual length is 41”-49” and they get the “fixed” name because the bars have fixed rubber discs on the ends and don’t require you to change their weight. These are often found in commercial and home gyms. In most cases, this is the easiest option for beginner athletes.
The Main Differences Between Curl Bars And Straight Bars
The most noticeable difference between a curl bar vs. a straight bar is the weight and shape. An EZ curl bar is around 25-35 lbs and has a W shape for a neutral or semi-supinated grip, while the straight bars weigh around 45 lbs and are as its name suggests, straight and allows for a supinated grip.
Muscle activation is the next difference. It’s not a ginormous difference, but it’s worth mentioning that there is greater brachialis and brachioradialis (forearm) activation with the EX curl bars and better biceps brachii activation for straight bars.
Range of motion is next on the list. You get a much better range of motion with a curl bar and less range of motion with straight bars. That also means that you have less risk of injury with the use of curl bars than you do with straight bars, which is very important to note when looking for a barbel to help you reach your goals.
Speaking of risk of injury, wrist impact is another difference between the curl bar vs. the straight bar. To no surprise, the curl bar has much less wrist impact than the straight bar, which is one of the main reasons it’s less likely to injure its user.