Curl Bar Vs Straight Bar

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Curl Bar Vs Straight Bar

Biceps Curls with a Barbell: EZ Curl Bar versus Straight Bar

Compound workouts like varied chest presses, shoulder presses, rows, and pull-ups/lat pull-downs will account for the majority of your biceps/triceps growth, which is why they should always be your primary focus.

Compounds alone, as I explained in that same triceps article, would not offer the optimum outcomes in terms of creating muscular arms. As a result, I strongly advise anyone seeking to gain muscle (with the possible exception of beginners) to focus on direct arm isolation exercises like triceps extensions and biceps curls as a secondary priority.

Are we all in agreement on that? How might such misconceptions be avoided? Cool. Let's get to the point of the question?


The Advantages and Disadvantages of Using an EZ Curl Bar vs. Using a Straight Barbell

The person who posed the question is partially correct:

Because you're curling in full supination, doing barbell curls with a straight bar will likely produce higher biceps activation to some extent (palms facing up). It's also possible to do it on the squat rack!!

You're in a semi-supinated posture with the EZ curl bar, somewhere between supinated (palms up) and neutral (palms facing each other), which likely draws the brachioradialis into the movement a little more (and thus the biceps a tiny bit less).

Because of the slight angle of the EZ curl bar, your wrists, forearms, and elbows will be in a more comfortable, natural, and safe position, reducing the risk of common injuries that many people develop over time from curling with a straight bar (most commonly medial epicondylitis aka golfer's elbow aka pain in the inner part of your elbow aka a super annoying injury I've personally dealt with in the past aka a nice way for me to overuse

So, one exercise may target your biceps slightly more while increasing your chance of injury, while the other may target your biceps slightly less while lowering your risk of damage.

That gets us to the second question that has to be addressed.


Which distinction is more important?

Is the difference in biceps activation more important than the difference in injury prevention and safety?

I'm inclined to say no.

Let's pretend we created 100 people of the same height, weight, age, genetics, and body type, and put them on the same intelligently designed diet and workout program, with the exception that 50 of them only did biceps curls with a straight bar and the other 50 only did biceps curls with an EZ curl bar.

If we then tracked everything for a long time (years) and compared the results, I don't think there would be much of a difference in terms of biceps growth and overall size. In fact, I seriously doubt you'd notice any significant difference.


What if it was the other way around?

Is the difference in biceps activation more important than the difference in safety and injury prevention?

Yes, I believe it is possible.

So, using the same hypothetical group of 100 people from a minute ago, I believe you'll find that those who did straight bar curls were more likely to acquire wrist, forearm, and/or elbow injuries than those who completed all of their curls with an EZ curl bar.

In which case, it's more likely that the straight bar group would have had to make some "oh no, I've got an injury" style changes to their workout over this time (such as lowering the weight lifted, completely avoiding affected exercises like curls, rows, pull-ups/pull-downs in the short term or long term, taking time off to let things heal, etc.).

Indirectly, this indicates that the healthy persons in the EZ curl bar group may have superior biceps results than the injured people in the straight bar group.

They may even achieve greater overall outcomes as a result of the fact that more than just biceps training may be affected. This is only one of the many reasons why getting hurt is so unpleasant, and why you should do everything you can to avoid it.

Yes, even if it involves a little reduction in the amount of muscle activation you're aiming to train (which is likely to be insignificant in the grand scheme of things anyway). Safety and injury prevention will always be more important in determining your success or failure.


So, Which Is the Better Option?

I really have a decent perspective on this because I did all of my barbell curling with an EZ curl bar for the first few years of my training, but then switched to the straight bar (after hearing it was "better" for the biceps than the EZ bar) for the next few years.

And at some point over those years on the straight bar, I got hurt (that darn medial epicondylitis I mentioned before).

Granted, it's difficult to state that straight bar curls were the sole cause of this injury. Heavy chin-ups, which utilize the same supinated grip as a straight barbell curl (this is not a coincidence... this totally supinated/underhand grip is a well-known source of wrist, forearm, and elbow pain), were most certainly one of the contributing factors.

Years of curling with a straight bar, on the other hand, would definitely be #1 on a list of those things sorted in terms of which I believe played the most part in producing this injury.

Granted, many people will hear this and think to themselves, "It took you years to develop a problem with straight bar curls, so why should I worry now?" I'll be concerned about it then, provided it ever becomes a problem for me, which it may or may not."


This is absolutely correct.

But, as someone who has been there and done that with straight bar curling, and as someone who has heard from a lot of other people who have been there and done that with straight bar curling, I can only advise you to avoid it entirely.

Stick to the EZ curl bar and/or various dumbbell curls instead (in terms of injury prevention, dumbbells are probably the best option of all).

Simply put, the potential CONS of straight bar curls (injury) far outweigh any potential PROS (the "greater" biceps activation it gives, which is unlikely to matter in the first place).


What are the advantages of using a curl bar?

The barbell curl works your biceps brachii and brachialis muscles, which are responsible for elbow flexion. Barbell curls might help you create bigger biceps with consistent practice. When compared to dumbbell curls, barbell curls allow you to raise more weight.


What exactly is the purpose of an EZ curl bar?

The EZ Olympic Curl Bar is a multi-angled specialty barbell that helps to decrease stress on your elbows and wrists while working your biceps and triceps. The bar's slight 'W' form allows for a variety of grip possibilities, making it a versatile barbell.


Is it better to use dumbbells or a curl bar?

Dumbbells are superior to curl bars for the majority of lifters because they offer a wider choice of exercises, a higher range of motion, and are better at improving balance and stability. Curl bars can help with wrist pain and may activate the biceps more than dumbbells (for certain exercises).


What are the benefits of straight bar curls?

When you do a straight bar bicep curl, you're working both of your biceps. This ensures that the biceps are engaged throughout the whole range of action. You can grab an EZ curl bar without fully supinating your forearms because of the grooves.


Is it possible to bench press using a curl bar?

The middle of the bar is curved, allowing you to angle your hands toward or away from each other depending on how you grip the bar. Even though the bar wasn't designed with your chest in mind, you may use a curling bar to perform any barbell exercise, including pectoral exercises like the bench press.


Is it possible to deadlift with a curl bar?

You won't be able to lift as much weight with an EZ bar as you would with a straight bar, and even if you can, the weight limit of an EZ bar is considerably lower than a straight bar, so you may have to cut your poundages for safety concerns.

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