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This article will focus on specific shoulder workouts with EZ bar’s only. Whilst an EZ curl bar is typically used for building bigger biceps, it can also be used to work the different muscles of the shoulders. What’s more, it allows for a comfortable grip when compared to performing the same exercises with a standard barbell.
The main differences between an EZ bar and a straight bar is that each allows for a different grip. The zig-zag shape of the EZ bar allows a user to grip the bar with a slightly neutral grip (palms facing inwards). By comparison, the straight bar is a supinated grip (underhand grip with palms facing up). Either bar can allow for a wide grip or a narrow grip.
Whilst use of the EZ bar is great for working the bicep muscles, it’s a versatile piece of equipment and can also be incorporated into your shoulder training. This article looks at some ez bar exercises that can target the shoulders with an overhand grip.
- Recommended Reading – What Is An EZ Curl Bar And How Is It Used?
Strong and shapely shoulders not only help with day-to-day arm movements, they also help with building a muscular physique. By incorporating shoulder specific exercises into your strength training, not only will you increase strength and size to your shoulders you’ll also help build bigger arms, this is because many exercises target different muscle groups including the biceps.
The shoulders themselves are made up of several muscles: the anterior deltoid, the middle deltoid and the posterior deltoid. Increasing muscle mass to the deltoids will help to stabilize the shoulder joint.
The shoulder joint, a ball and socket type joint, allows the arm to move through a wide range of motion. The joint itself is relativity unstable, this is due to the shallowness of the ball part of the joint making shoulder workouts all the more important.
Building the shoulders requires exercise variation and high repetitions. This often raises the likelihood for injury. That being said, shoulder injuries are typically not muscular tears or pulls with most injuries being caused by poor technique or overuse of the tendons.
To effectively target the muscles will mean performing different exercises.
Benefits Of Shoulder Workouts With EZ Bar Grip
By specifically targeting your shoulders with overhand EZ bar grip exercises, you can expect several benefits. Not only will you increase strength and muscle mass to the deltoids and surrounding muscles, but this will also aid with stability of the shoulder joint and range of motion of the arm. This in turn, will reduce the risk of injury and make many day-to-day activities easier.
Adding lean muscle will also result in an increase to your metabolism, which helps you burn more calories promote overall health.
When it comes to training with an overhand grip, sometimes called a pronated grip, most people tend to find it a more joint-friendly grip option and those with shoulder pain may notice exercises being more comfortable to execute.
Tips On Proper Form and Technique
To avoid injury and achieve best results, it’s critical to maintain perfect form and technique when performing ez curl bar workouts.
When doing any of these workouts, remember to:
- Maintain a neutral posture
- Keep your back straight
- Keep your core engaged to provide stability
Always allow for rest periods in between sets so that your muscles have time to recover, aid with muscle hypertrophy and maintain strength for the next set . When performing these exercises, always pay attention to your body and make any necessary adjustments to ensure you perform any exercise properly and with full range of motion.
Best Exercises for Shoulders with an Overhand Grip
If you want to build your shoulder muscles with overhand EZ bar grip exercises, there are several for you to consider that will help you to build strong arms.
Below we’ve listed some of the most popular exercises that you can perform with your EZ bar.
Overhead Shoulder Press with EZ Bar
Using an ez bar when undertaking the overhead press is a great way of limiting stress to the shoulder joints whilst placing most of the weight load onto the front deltoids. If you’re new to this movement, start with a light weight. This exercise can be done either seated or standing.
How to perform the seated variation:
- Load up any weight on to your bar and take a seat on a weight bench. Keep your feet flat on the ground for stability.
- Hold the bar in front of you at around chin level. This will be your starting position.
- Push the weight up to the ceiling, exhaling as you go.
- Squeeze the shoulders at the top of the movement, before lowering the bar back to the starting position. Repeat number of chosen reps.
Common mistakes when doing the overhead press:
- Locking out at the elbows is a common mistake and you should avoid doing this as it can put stress on the joints which may cause injury.
- When performing the standing variation, often a person will use their lower body as momentum to push up the weight. Doing this will take emphasis away from the shoulders.
- Not lowering the bar enough. Make sure to lower the bar all the way back to the starting position to ensure full range of motion.
Bent-Over Rows with EZ Bar
Because they work the upper back, rear shoulders, and arms all at once, bent-over rows are an excellent exercise for working multiple muscle groups.
How to perform the exercise:
- When doing bent-over rows with an EZ bar, start by standing with your feet around shoulder width apart.
- Next, grab the EZ bar with an overhand grip (your palms will be facing you).
- Hip forward at the hips so that your torso is almost parallel to the floor.
- Keeping your spine neutral and head up, pull the weight up towards your belly button, squeezing the shoulders as you go.
- Pause briefly at the top, before lowering the weight back down and repeat.
Common mistakes when doing the bent over row:
- Rounding of the lower back. If you find you are losing form, the weight may be too heavy so drop it back a little.
- Adding too much weight resulting in you having to use momentum to pull the weight up.
- Rowing the weight up too high. By pulling the weight too high up on the body can take emphasis away from the muscles you are trying to work and instead activate more of the biceps.
Upright Rows with EZ Bar
Another compound exercise, the upright row will work the upper back, delts and traps.
How to perform the Upright Row
- When doing upright rows with an EZ bar, start by standing with your feet around shoulder width apart.
- Take hold of your bar with an overhand grip. Your hands should be positioned just outside of your thighs.
- Raise the barbell up towards your chest by bring your elbows up and out. The bar should remain close to your body throughout and your elbows should always be higher than your forearms.
- Once you’ve reached chest level, pause for a second or two before lowering the weight back down.
Common mistakes when doing upright rows with an EZ bar:
- Raising the shoulders too high, doing so can increase the chance of shoulder impingement issues.
- Lifting too heavy can result in poor form making injury more likely.
EZ Curl Bar Front Raise with Overhand Grip
The front raise is an isolation exercise that will work the deltoids. When doing this movement with an EZ bar, there is much less stress placed on the wrists when compared to using a standard barbell. Avoid doing an overhand variation of this exercise if you have an existing shoulder injury.
How to perform the exercise:
- Standing upright with feet should width apart.
- Take hold of the EZ bar with a grip around hip width wide, or slightly wider if you prefer.
- Brace your core and be sure to keep everything tight throughout the exercise.
- Slowly raise the bar out in front of you whilst keeping your arms straight.
- Pause once your arms are approximately parallel to the ground.
- Lower the bar back to the starting position before repeating.
Common mistakes when performing a front raise:
- Leaning back when lifting the bar. This usually happens when the weight load is too heavy resulting in poor form and the weight load being transferred from the shoulders to the lower back.
- Retracting the shoulders. Doing this will result in a transfer of weight from the delts to the upper chest. Be sure to keep the shoulders protracted throughout the exercise to ensure correct form.
Alternating Press with EZ Bar
The alternating is a variation of the overhead press but will work each shoulder in turn allowing for equal muscle strength and symmetry.
How you should execute the Alternating Press:
- When doing an alternating press with an EZ bar, start by standing with width shoulder width apart and holding the bar with an overhand grip.
- Raise the bar up and overhead, don’t lock out at the elbows.
- Slowly lower one side of the barbell down towards your shoulder, before push back up to the top of the movement.
- Alternate this by doing one side at a time for the desired number of reps.
- Throughout the action, maintain a straight spine and keep your abs tight.
Common mistakes when doing alternating presses with an EZ bar:
- Arching the lower back. Usually because of the bar being loaded with too much weight causing you to lose form.
- Locking out at the elbows. This can put stress on the joints, potentially resulting in injury.
If you’re after shoulder specific exercises that you can perform either at the gym or your home with an ez curl bar, the exercises mentioned in the article are worth a go. As mentioned, developing strength to your shoulder muscles will help to protect the shoulder joint lessening any likelihood of injury which can be common amongst bodybuilders.