WHAT IS AN EZ CURL BAR AND HOW IS IT USED?

October 07, 2021 9 min read

WHAT IS AN EZ CURL BAR AND HOW IS IT USED? | Kustom Kit Gym Equipment

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    What is an EZ Curl Bar?

    The EZ Olympic Curl Bar is a multi-angled speciality barbell designed to work your biceps and triceps whilst helping to reduce stress from your elbows and wrists.   The subtle ‘W’ shape of the bar gives you multiple grip options making it a versatile barbell.   The EZ curl bar is a very efficient bar for adding mass and strength to your biceps. 

    One thing you will notice about the EZ curl bar is that it is significantly shorter than a standard Olympic barbell which typically sits at around 7 feet in length whereas the EZ curl bar is approximately 4 feet. 

    The length of the curl bar ensures that any plates that are loaded on are kept closer to you making it easier to undertake the bicep curl movement. 

    How much does an EZ Curl Bar weigh?

    The average Olympic curl bar is much lighter than a standard barbell and can weigh anywhere between 18 to 25lbs (8 to 11kg).  It can be useful to know the weight of your curl bar, especially if you are tracking your progress when training. 

    Its lighter weight is simply down to being a much shorter bar.

    It the EZ Curl Bar better than an Olympic Straight Bar?

    If you happen to suffer from any wrist or elbow pain when undertaking bicep curls then yes, use of the EZ curl bar will be significantly better for you than that of a straight bar. 

    To some degree, curling with a straight bar can offer better biceps activation.  This is because, when gripping the barbell, the palms of your hands are facing upwards.  This is what’s known as a supinated grip.  However, this movement can put a lot of stress on your elbows making it more likely for injury, especially when there is a lot of weight on the bar. 

    When using the EZ bar the palms of your hands are in a semi-supinated grip.  Facing both upwards with palms facing slightly inwards.  This is a much more natural position for your hands, wrists and elbows when curling thereby making it much more comfortable.   

    Overall, you’re unlikely to see much, if any, difference to muscle size and strength if choosing to use a straight bar.  This is because the range of motion using either barbell is the same.  So, on that basis we would opt for biceps isolation by using the EZ barbell.

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    What muscles does the EZ Curl Bar target?

    The main muscles targeted with barbell curls are the biceps (or biceps brachii).  It is one of the main muscles of your upper arm and lies between your shoulder and elbow.  It is also the largest muscle of your arm.

    Other muscles that come into play are the brachioradialis, this is a smaller muscle located in your forearm and is responsible for forearm flexion at the point of your elbow and also the brachialis, an upper arm muscle located under your biceps.  The brachialis is the largest elbow flexor.  

    How should you use an EZ Curl Bar?

    Using the EZ Curl Bar in a standing position

    When doing standing bicep curls you want to stand with your feet shoulder width apart with knees slightly bent, this will help with stability. 

    With your elbows tucked in, hold on to the bar using an underhand grip, so palms facing away from you. 

    Keeping your chest out and shoulders back, curl the bar towards you using a slow and controlled movement, making sure your elbows remain tucked in throughout and then return back to the starting position.  Repeat sets as required.

    Using the EZ Curl Bar in a seated position

    Sit on the end of a workout bench, either a flat bench or an adjustable bench will work fine and give you ample stability during the exercise.  Keep your feet directly under your knees.

    Start with the bar placed on your thighs and grip the bar in the exact same way as with the standing version with your hands shoulder width apart. 

    With your spine neutral, curl the bar towards your chest keeping your elbows tucked in, this will eliminate any momentum ensuring all the weight remains on your biceps.  Return back to the starting position. 

    Using the EZ Curl Bar with a Preacher Bench

    Using a preacher curl bench allows you to isolate your biceps even more as you won’t be activating muscles such as your core for stabilisation.   

    Position yourself on the bench by keeping your chest against the flat pad and armpits resting on the top of the pad with the back of your arms flat on the sloped pad. 

    Hold the EZ bar with an underside grip (palms facing upwards) and curl the bar towards you keeping your elbows tucked in at all times to ensure complete isolation of the biceps.  Return back  to your starting position.

    If you want to learn more about the preacher curl please head on over to this article. 

    What exercises can I do with an EZ Curl Bar?

    The EZ curl bar is a very functional barbell and can used for many different exercises and not just those that target your biceps.  Below is a list of some of the other exercises that can be undertaken with the EZ  bar:

    • Spider Curl
    • French Press
    • Bent Over Rows
    • Overhead Tricep Extension
    • Upright Rows
    • Drag Curl
    • Skull Crushers
    • Close Grip Curl
    • Reverse Grip Curl
    • Hip Thrusts

    The above list is by no means exhaustive and there are many other ways in which to utilise this bar for great muscle and strength gains.

    Is an EZ Curl Bar better than a single arm dumbbell curl?

    An EZ bar curl is better than a single arm dumbbell curl. 

    The barbell curl is a bilateral movement, this means both arms work in unison whereas a dumbbell curl is a unilateral movement, arms working independent from on another. 

    Because of this, you’ll be expending far more energy with single arm dumbbell curls than you would by using an EZ bar. 

    Not only that, muscle overload with either method equates to the same so to preserve energy and complete more repetitions it would be more beneficial to undertake bar curls. 

    Are there exercises that are best avoided with the EZ Curl Bar?

    It’s best to avoid heavy compound lifts with an EZ Curl bar such as Squats and Deadlifts.

    Whilst it’s certainly possible to undertake the movements using the EZ Curl bar it is best suited to isolation exercises such as skull crushers or bicep curls due to its small frame and lightweight design.

    Squatting with an EZ Curl Bar

    With squatting, the bar should rest on your upper back and the shape of the EZ bar is probably going to cause some discomfort. 

    Not only that, when squatting it is usual to unrack your bar from either a power rack or monolift from shoulder height.  The width of an Olympic EZ curl bar will not allow for this. 

    Furthermore, the EZ bar is not designed to hold a significant amount of weight making it rather limiting when it comes to squatting.

    Deadlifting with an EZ Curl Bar

    Deadlifting with the EZ bar is certainly easier when compared to squats but is met with some limitations. 

    Pulling an EZ bar up from the ground to waist height can feel slightly unnatural when it comes to grip making it more difficult to deadlift correctly. 

    Most people who deadlift tend to be pulling a fairly significant amount of weight, the downside of the EZ bar is that it cannot accommodate as many weight plates than a standard Olympic barbell.   This is because the sleeves are not as long and the tensile strength is not as high. 

    What should I look for when buying an EZ Curl Bar?

    With a wide variety of EZ curl bars on the market, it can be difficult to choose.

    Each EZ curl bar can vary when it comes to the overall bar length, length of collars, weight and the angle of the grip meaning you may prefer one bar over another. 

    When it comes to the finer details it’s worth paying attention to these.  For optimum grip ensure that the bar you choose has a good knurling with adequate depth.  When you train, you sweat and you don’t want your training to be impeded by poor grip when you have sweaty hands. 

    When looking to invest in a EZ bar, make sure the sleeves are good quality.  Ideally, you’ll want sleeves that are nickel plated as opposed to powder coated.  As soon as you begin sliding plates onto the bar, the powder coating will likely chip leaving your bar susceptible to rusting.  You shouldn’t have this problem with plating. 

    The sleeves on an EZ curl bar are shorter that those on more standard barbells.  As EZ bars are a speciality barbell especially designed for barbell curls, the likelihood of needing to load as many plates on when compared to a 7ft barbell is very slim. 

    Not all plates will fit an EZ curl bar.  In terms of the sleeve sizes, there are generally two different sizes available.  A 50mm sleeve or 25mm sleeve.  The 25mm sleeve will accommodate standard 1 inch (25.4mm) plates with the 50mm sleeve allowing for Olympic plates at 2 inches (50.8mm). 

    Also check the ends of the sleeve, you may notice some have bare welds on show.  Not only does this look unsightly but it can prevent your plates from sitting flush. 

    Some EZ bars are manufactured with rotating sleeves.  However, we believe this to be an unnecessary feature on this kind of bar. 

    All Olympic barbells have a rotating sleeve.  Each end rotates by way of a linear ball bearing which allows for spinning of the sleeves.  This is especially important when undertaking explosive movements such as clean and jerk, snatch and deadlift.  The spin on the sleeves allow the plates to rotate, not only does this make for a smoother lift, it also helps to prevent injury by limiting the centrifugal force. 

    Typically, when EZ curl bars feature rotating sleeves they will use a bush instead of a bearing.  This is usually because they are cheaper than linear ball bearings, in some cases up to 10 times less the cost.  The main difference is that a bush will slide instead of roll, meaning it has static friction to overcome, this results in a much less smoother rotation.

    As an EZ curl bar’s primary function is for bicep curls, the range of motion with this movement is very limited.  So much so, that a user is unlikely to notice any benefit by having rotating sleeves. 

    If you are the owner of a preacher curl bench than you’ll want to be sure that your EZ curl bar will fit.  You need to measure from the inside of one sleeve to other inside of the other sleeve, as shown below. 

    ez curl bar drawing

    There are also options for a thicker grip on the EZ curl bar, known as fat grip or thick grip EZ bars. 

    By incorporating bar curls with a thicker grip you’ll see big improvements with grip and forearm strength, this offers fantastic carry-over to movements such as deadlifts when grip strength is incredibly important. 

    There are some fantastic products out there which will help you to convert your regular grip EZ curl bar into a fat grip bar in a matter of seconds.  These Fat Gripz are ideal if you want to be able to switch up your barbell curls without having to invest in two different barbells.    

    Who invented the EZ Curl bar and how did it get it's name?

    The EZ bar is a revolutionary innovation that was invented and patented by weightlifter and engineer, Lewis Dymeck.

    Lewis was a keen weightlifter but didn’t particularly enjoy bicep barbell curls due to the stress being placed on his wrists.  As an engineer by trade, Lewis began working on the design of a bar that would eliminate that stress to prevent injury and allow for a better isolation of the biceps. 

    Shortly thereafter, the Dymeck Curl Bar was born and subsequently patented in 1950.  Lewis teamed up with Andy Jackson, founder of the Jackson International Barbell Company.  Andy had his own machine shop where he manufactured Olympic barbells, collars and calibrated plates. 

    For reasons we don’t know, the bar was rebranded as the Jackson curl bar between 1954 and 1964 when the rights of the patent were sold to Bob Hoffman, founder of the York Barbell Company which is still in existence today.  It was Bob Hoffman who changed the name to the EZ Curl Bar, EZ being an abbreviation of the word ‘easy’. 

    Whilst the Jackson Barbell Company closed down in 1975, back in 2000 Ivanko acquired the assets which had been discovered in archives.  These assets consisted of blue prints, lesser known technologies, patterns and some trade secrets!


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