When it comes to building muscle, the exercises you do and the diet you eat are not the only things of importance. The tools and equipment you utilise can and does have an impact on your workout effectiveness. EZ curl bars and Super EZ Curl bars allow for greater versatility in your workouts due to its undulating handle and ability to hit specific muscles within a group.
According to a recent study in PeerJ, EZ Curl Bars stimulate greater muscle activation during a Bicep curl, in both bicep brachii and brachioradialis, compared to a barbell or dumbbell.
But there are two types of EZ Curl Bars, so which one is better?
EZ Curl Bars are angled, zig-zag style bars that are designed mainly for bicep and tricep exercises. With numerous angles on the bar it gives you a range of different grip options.
Where a trap bar can be used for a fully neutral grip, and barbells can be used for straight over or under grips, an EZ Curl Bar gives you angled grips, which can alleviate stress from the shoulders, wrists and elbows.
Standard EZ Curl Bars
Both EZ Curl Bars are designed to reduce stress on the forearm and wrist and provide a more comfortable grip while focusing on different bicep and tricep areas (but they can also be used on other body areas). In using an EZ Curl Bar for curls, your hands are slightly pronated (thumbs are higher than your little finger), which changes how the upper arm muscles are used (over just using a straight bar). It also tends to work your brachialis muscle more than normal.
We’re all built differently, with different anatomical idiosyncrasies, so certain grip types are going to suit certain people. Some people find a straight barbell comfortable to hold, and for others it can cause discomfort and pain, especially if you’ve suffered a wrist, elbow, or shoulder injury in the past.
The angled grip on an EZ Curl Bar can help remove some of the stress that can be felt through the wrist, forearm, elbow, and shoulder while using a straight barbell by avoiding the external rotation which is required on a straight bar. The semi-supinated position you use to grip the bar is simply more comfortable in most lifters' hands and wrists, and while the position isn’t fully neutral, it is very close.
EZ Curl Bars are generally shorter, and lighter than standard bars. Measuring in at an average of 5ft long means that Curl Bars bring the weight plates closer to your centre of gravity, so you’re better able to focus on lifting the weight straight up and down instead of needing to focus on keeping the bar balanced.
In the aforementioned study from PeerJ, which looked at the differences in electromyographic activity of biceps and triceps while doing three types of curls (EZ, Straight, and Dumbbell), the participants were asked to perform one set of ten reps at 65% of their 1-RM for each variant of curl. The results showed higher levels of activation in the brachii and brachioradialis during the concentric and eccentric phase of the curl.
When you’re looking for bang for your buck, the EZ Curl Bar is a clear favourite when it comes to muscle stimulation and growth.
Whether you’re just starting out in the gym or you’re an experienced lifter, EZ Curl Bars are a great go to when it comes to working out your arms. When you’re just starting out they can be a great introduction to curls, especially due to them generally being lighter and less cumbersome than straight bars. And if you’re experienced they can be used in a variety of ways to work specific parts of your biceps and triceps, giving you the variety you need to build strength and progress.
The difference between an EZ Curl Bar and a Super EZ Curl Bar comes down to the shape of the bars. The Super EZ Curl Bar has a deep U shape at the centre of the bar, which provides an additional neutral grip curl with your palms facing inwards. The EZ Curl Bar however has a shallow W shape, so that both your close and wide grip curls are slightly angled, putting less strain on elbow joints during curling.