Ez curl bar or straight bar? Good question!
If you spend any amount of time at the gym or even if you lift at home, I’d wager at least one-quarter-to one-half of your workout is spent on your arms. If you’re totally gonzo you might find yourself devoting an entire workout to your biceps. Nothing wrong with that, you just need to know how to spread out your energy and intensity to cross the spectrum of multiple biceps exercises. With that in mind you may wonder then, which is better for biceps curls: theE-Z curl bar or the straight barbell? Kind of like asking which came first, the chicken or the egg?
This is a valid argument and each type of curling bar has its pluses and minuses. The main difference between the EZ and the straight bar for curls is that with the EZ bar your hands are turned slightly in, pretty much allowing for the natural position of your wrists and upper arm. Here’s a quick test: sit down at a table and extend your arms. The natural position of your arm is palms down or palms facing in. If you turn your palms facing up you will feel the twist in your wrist and biceps. The EZ curl bar lets you maintain the natural linearity of your wrist and arms when doing curls.
I can tell you, curls are not “EZ’er” when using the EZ-curl bar. You will enjoy significantly less stress on your wrists which is always good (In fact, the EZ curl bar was actually designed for this purpose) and personally I can hoist more weight when I curl EZ vs. curling with a straight bar.
If you’re intent on using the straight bar for your curls then more power to you. Lots of gym-rats pledge allegiance to straight barbell curls saying the straight bar significantly works the bicep more. I’m not sure I agree. I WILL say that regardless of straight or EZ, you can work your biceps better if you maintain a close grip (This means gripping the bar just inside shoulder-width). The EZ curl bar has “built-in” grip for close and wide grip curls. You’re not so lucky with the straight bar.
Mix it up
Your biceps will thank you for switching bars. I generally use the EZ curl bar for my preacher curls and when I do standing barbell curls with heavy weight. I will often super-set with the straight bar and use lighter weight at the same time. Less havoc on the ‘ol wrists. No matter what do it’s always good to change your routine lest your muscles get bored from doing the same thing.
Here’s a typical workout (for me):
EZ Curl Preacher Curls: 3 x “21”-reps (that is seven reps all the way down, seven half-way up and seven half-way down) x 40 pounds.
Super-set with the straight bar: 3 x “21” standing reps but with only 20 pounds.
That gives you 6 sets of 21’s. Sometimes I will throw in a Tri-set and knock out 40 push-ups after my straight bar curls. Talk about a pump!
If you judge your workouts by longevity I’d say you will get a longer shelf-life out of your wrists, forearms and biceps using the EZ-curl bar. However hard you are lifting at 25 you want to be able to keep doing that at 40, 50 and beyond. A few tweaks with the right equipment ensure you keep making gains while at the same time protecting your body.