If you are thinking of buying a curl bar for your home gym but cannot decide if it is worth your money, then this post is for you. Curl bars may seem intimidating to use because of their unusual shape. But how is it different from regular bars?
Unlike regular bars with straight rods, curl bars have an angled grip that aims to provide users with a more comfortable and natural grip.
Get to know more about the what, why, and how of using a curl bar and decide whether buying one is worth the purchase.
What is a Curl Bar?
A curl bar is a type of barbell that is often used for building the muscles on the biceps and triceps. It is also called the EZ bar and was invented by Lewis G. Dymeck. The curl bar is designed to have a curved bar in the grip that lets users’ wrists, and forearms have a more natural position.
The zigzag shape of this bar and its shorter length allows you to have either an underhand or overhand grip on the curl bar with your hands slightly supinated. Curl bars are perfect for people who want to build their biceps and triceps and those with weak wrists.
Who Uses Curling Bars?
The curling bars are used by people who want to work on their smaller muscles such as their triceps and biceps. Since the smaller muscles require less weight, curling bars are much better to use because they are lighter, and you can choose a weight between 11kg to 20kg when doing workouts intended for the said muscles.
Curling bars are also perfect for people with poor wrist strength because the position of the hands is more natural than when holding a straight bar. Using a straight bar can raise the amount of torsion in your wrists.
This is because you always have to level your wrists when they want to effortlessly turn inward or outward, depending on the workout. Doing this may hurt and injure your wrist over time, especially if you are not used to using a straight bar. See the proper ways how to use a curl bar.
Benefits of Using Curl Bars
1. Have better balance, especially when loaded with weight.
The bars of barbells are long, and they could be tricky when you do curling exercises. Most of your effort will be focused on balancing the straight bar instead of working the proper muscles. However, curl bars are shorter, and it’s easier to drive the weight straight up and down for optimal muscle growth and stimulation.
2. Curl bars have a more comfortable and ergonomic grip.
The grip that you use when doing curling workouts is actually the one that is comfortable for you. Dut to the zigzag or angled rod designs, curl bars make it easier for lifters to do curls.
The grip on a curl bar is very close to neutral, which is why doing a semi-supinated position is much easier and more comfortable for the user’s wrists and hands.
3. Curl bars produce more muscle activation and stimulation.
A study was conducted on a group of 12 participants using different types of gym equipment for curl exercises. They used a regular straight bar, dumbbell and curl bar.
The results of this study showed that curl bars generate more muscle activation compared to dumbbells and straight bars. It was also revealed that dumbbells are the least amongst the three gym equipment for curls to help in bicep activation.
4. Curl bars are good for skull-crushers exercise.
Skull crushers exercise or also known as lying tricep extensions, is an exercise that is performed while lying on your back with a dumbbell or a barbell. This type of exercise works on your triceps.
A curl bar is best for this type of exercise since it allows you to have a neutral grip making it much easier to balance the bar while lying down on your back. The short length of the bar also makes it easier when you lower the weight to the bottom of the movement to make it more stable.
Curls bars are also lighter than regular barbells, making them more suitable gym equipment if you are just getting started with skull crushers exercise.
Examples of Exercises Using a Curl Bar
We’ll give you some of the best exercises using a curl bar. These exercises will not just target the biceps and triceps but also build your back and shoulders.
Standing Bicep Curl
The standing bicep curl is an example of a curl exercise that can be done by using a straight barbell, cables, dumbbells, or of course, a curl bar. However, the curl car is the perfect gym equipment to use when you are targeting your biceps.
How To Do It
- Stand with your hands holding the grip with your chest up, elbows in front of your body and shoulders back.
- Try to lift the curl bars using your biceps. Do not allow your elbows to move backwards.
- Curl the bar upwards to the height of your face or your forehead. Just make sure your elbows can move forward while lifting the weight.
- Slowly lower the bar for building muscle and lower all the way down to your first position with your elbows drawn out to increase the extent of motion.
Preacher Bicep Curl
This type of curl exercise is best for training with heavier and moderate loads. This is done while you do your curls seated. Your arms are also placed on a support so that your elbows stay in place.
How To Do It
- Sit down in the preacher curl with your arms leaning over the stand. Your armpits should be resting at the peak of the cushion while you are seated.
- Grab down the curl bar with the grip you are comfortable with.
- Tighten your biceps firmly at the top and lower the weight slowly. Always make sure that the back of your arms is resting on the pad the whole time.
Varied Grip Bicep Curl
One good thing about curl bars is that you can do bicep curl exercises with diverse supinated grips. You can hold your bar with a narrow or wider grip. When you use the narrower grip, the part of the bicep that will train will be the outer head, and the wider grip will build more of your inner bicep.
How To Do It
- Hold the grip either narrower or wider and do any curl workouts.
- Change grip positions to make your training more fun and effective.
Spider Curl Up
This exercise is perfect for you if you do not have access to an arm blaster or preacher curl. The spider curl exercise can help in building bigger biceps and allows for a full range of motion. This also keeps your muscle under continuous tension.
How To Do It
- Lie with your chest down on a slightly inclined bench.
- With your arms hanging downwards, grab the curl bar and move the hands an inch in front of your body. Make sure you keep your elbows steady when you curl upwards to your face or forehead.
- Then, lower the bar slowly and ensure that your elbows stay in the starting position.
Note: It is important to remember that in order to do this exercise correctly, your elbows should not move backwards as you are curling up and down.
Difference Between a Straight Bar and a Curl Bar
The main differences between a curl bar and a straight bar are in their shape, weight and hand positioning. Straight bars are heavier than curl bars typically due to their length.
Straight bars are longer than curl bars which makes them weigh heavier. A typical straight will weigh around 20kg, while a curl bar often weighs approximately 11 to 15kgs
There is also a big difference between their shapes. As the name implies, the straight bar has a cylindrical rod with a straight shape. On the other hand, a curl bar has a zigzag shape and is much smaller than a regular straight bar.
Lastly is its hand positioning options. There is a difference in how your hands are positioned on the bar. With a straight bar, the angle of the position of your wrists is straight while with curl bars, your wrist will be a little angled.
Curl bars are the better option if you have poor wrists and can adjust your grip according to what you feel comfortable with.
Some of the Best Curling Bars in Australia
We know how difficult it is to find the perfect curling bars. That’s why we are here to help you by giving you a list of some of the best curling bars in Australia.
Olympic EZ Curl Barbell
The Olympic EZ Curl Barbell is made of first-rate steel that can support up to 200kg of weight. It comes with two different finishes, which are black phosphate and hard chrome. It is specially designed to minimize tension on your wrists and guarantees no sweating, according to Synergee.
This is your perfect companion when doing biceps and triceps workouts and other upper body strengthening exercises such as rowing, pull-ups and climbing.
Meteor Olympic Curl Bar
The Meteor Olympic Curl Bar is is a very popular EZ curl bar available in the Olympic version and compatible with 50 mm Olympic plates. The handles are made of a standard diamond knurling with good grip and comfort.
This alloy-type curl bar with 90,000 PSI Tensile Strength is perfect for training your biceps and triceps. This is an excellent curl bar choice for people looking for outstanding performance and affordability.
1. Is a curl bar better than dumbbells?
If you are a lifter, dumbbells will be your best option if you want to strengthen your biceps and build your muscles. They are better at improving your stability and balance and offer more exercise variety.
However, for some exercises, curl bars reduce wrist pain and stimulate the biceps more than dumbbells. It is also good if you want to diversify your training and if you want to switch up from your usual drill.
2. Is a curl bar the same as an EZ bar?
Curl bar and EZ bar are just the same. They are used interchangeably in the fitness community. EZ bar came from the word easy and was invented by Lewis G. Dymeck.
Curl bars or EZ bars have bends in the shaft to provide less stress for your wrists. This position will minimise the risk of injury to the wrists. The narrow grip allows for more internal rotation, which is also great for building up the peak.
3. What is the difference between an EZ curl bar and a barbell?
The first obvious difference between an EZ curl bar and a barbell is their shape. A barbell has a straight bar, while an EZ curl bar is zigzag in shape. The EZ curl bar provides less pressure and tension to your wrists and forearms.
They are also lighter than regular barbells. Barbells are also longer than curl bars which is why they have a heavier starting point. One key difference between these two pieces of equipment is their hand positioning dissimilarities.
Your hand position on the bard with EZ curls bars is slightly angled, which makes it more comfortable for your wrists, while a straight bar can be a little tough for your wrists, especially if you are not used to using barbells.
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