In this article I’m going to list and describe how to properly perform the most effective curl bar workouts, explain when it is best to use a curl bar, and give you some tips on how to maximize your results when using this ergonomically designed piece of equipment.
What Exercises Can You Do With A Curl Bar
- stand straight with you feet at shoulder width
- Hold the curling bar in the down position making sure to keep your chin up
- As you bring the bar upkeep your elbows tight to your side
- At the top of the curl take a 1 to 2-second pause and slowly bring the bar back down to the starting position.
- It should take you twice as long to go down (eccentric phase) as it does to bring the bar up (concentric phase)
Preacher curl (biceps)
- Put the bar loaded with the amount of weight you want
- Sit on the bench and with your arms shoulder with apart and grab the bar using a close or wide grip.
- Slowly take the bar off the rack while always keeping your back straight while looking forward.
- Bring the bar up slowly until your forearms are vertical, contract your biceps then slowly bring the bar down to the starting position.
- The eccentric phase (lowering the weight) should take as long or longer than the concentric phase (bringing the bar up)
Twenty One’s (biceps)
- Start by standing straight up with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Keep your chin up and your chest out as you bring the bar up halfway until your forearms are perpendicular to the floor. (you’ll do this 7 times)
- After your 7th rep, you’ll bring the bar all the way up then lower it halfway down again until your forearms are perpendicular with the floor then bring the bar back up (do this 7 times again)
- The last move is a complete curl, bringing the weight all the way down and bringing it back up again. (as expected do this 7 times)
Spider curls (biceps)
- Load the bar with your desired weight then place it on the seat of the preacher bench where you would normally place your butt.
- Now move around the preacher bench and lay your chest and stomach down at a 45-degree angle on the part where your arms would rest when you were doing a preacher curl.
- Make sure your feet are stable and you’re well balanced.
- Your arms should be on the inside pad of the bench
- Now grab the bar with your palms facing up, your grip should line up with your shoulders.
- Now bring the bar upholding it at the top and then let it down.
Tricep Extension Lying Down (triceps)
- Lay on your back on a bench with your knees at a 90-degree angle and your feet completely flat on the floor.
- Hold the bar straight above you with your arms shoulder width, keep your arms straight and your elbows locked.
- Lower the bar until it is almost touching your forehead
- Hold for a second while tightening your tricep muscle then push the bar back to the starting position.
Seated Overhead Tricep Extension (triceps)
- Sit on the bench with a loaded curl bar on your lap.
- Using a medium grip lift the EZ bar directly over your head, make sure your arms are fully extended.
- You want to keep your biceps from moving, only allow your elbows and forearms to lower the bar toward the ground.
- Stop when you’re about to touch your forehead. Move the bar back to the starting position pause for a second then repeat.
Close Grip Curl bar Press (triceps)
- Sit on the bench with a loaded curl bar on your lap
- As you lie down move the bar from your lap to your chest
- Using a narrow grip (hands close together) Lift the bar straight over your torso while making sure to keep your elbows in and your arms perpendicular to the floor.
- Now you want to lower the bar slowly down to your lower chest, this is important to keep the triceps engaged, always keeping the elbows in.
- When you press the bar back up make sure your triceps are doing the work, if they’re not, you have to adjust either your hands or check to see if you’re bringing the bar down at the top of your chest rather than your lower chest.
Curl Bar Upright Row (shoulders)
- Grab a loaded curl bar with a close grip, you want to grab it on the first-hand position so that they are only inches apart.
- You now want to bring the bar up staying close to your body until you almost touch your chin, make sure you’re flaring your elbows up as you come up.
- Slowly lower the weight back down, pause for a second, and repeat.
Can You do Squats With A Curl Bar
If you only have a curl bar at your disposal it is possible to do squats, all you have to do is put the curl bar at your feet already loaded with the weight you want.
The biggest thing you have to remember is it’s going to be hard to do a squat with the normal amount of weight you would use with a barbell. Curl bars can’t hold as much weight as a barbell and you’ll also have to get used to the way you are holding the bar against your chest instead of behind you resting on your shoulders.
- Put the curl bar at your feet already loaded with the weight you want.
- Grip the bar just as you would doing a bicep curl,
- stand up holding the bar at your waist then bring it up to your chest as if you were doing the first move of a curling motion.
- Now you’re going to hold the bar against your chest and lower yourself just like you would while doing a squat with a barbell on your shoulders
- Be careful you’re keeping your back straight and not leaning forward since the weight of the bar is going to try and bring you forward.
- Lastly, you’re going to stand straight back up at your starting point and continue until you reach your set amount of reps.
Is A Curl Bar Better Than A Straight Bar.
The biggest difference between the curl bar and the straight bar is your hand and feet position.
The straight bar weighs more and the weight is out farther to the side which will make your stance wider and it can be tough on your wrists due to the strain put on your wrist when raising the bar up.
The curl bar has an ergonomic grip that diminishes the stress on your wrists especially during curling and tricep extensions, the bar weighs less allowing you to shorten your stance and not focus so much on balance.
Which Muscles Do The Curl Bar Work
The main muscles you will focus on while using the curl bar will be your…
Which Bar Is Best For Bicep Curls
The most common muscle group targeted using the curl bar is the biceps which has led to debates about whether the straight bar or the curl bar is better for bicep curls.
When it comes down to it both bars do an exceptional job of hitting the bicep muscle but I would have to give a slight edge to the straight bar due to how your hand position activates your muscles.
Because of the ergonomic grip on the curl bar, your thumbs are higher than your pinkies changing how your upper arm muscles are used during the movement.
Simply put, this leads to your biceps muscle getting slightly less worked and your brachialis muscle (this is the muscle located under your biceps) getting more work due to the angle of your hands.
When you use the straight bar your hand position is even which allows you to directly hit the biceps muscle but if you are uncomfortable or experience wrist pain while using the straight bar this shouldn’t stop you from using a curl bar.
You can still perform an exceptional upper arm workout and receive great results with the curl bar.
How Should You Place Your Hands When Doing Curls
There are to 2 spots on a standard curl bar where you will place your hands the first being a wide grip and the second being a close grip.
Before we move on you need to understand how each grip will change which muscle your targeting during the curling movement.
The biceps are made up of 2 heads, the long head is on the outside of your arm and this is what makes the sought after hump of the bicep and the short head is located on the inside of your arm and this is what gives your biceps their girth, both of these need to be developed if you want fully developed arms.
When you bring your hands closer together you will create more stress on your wrists and elbows so I recommend that you start off with lighter weights until you find what works best for you.
How Much Weight Can You Put On A Curl Bar
Olympic Curl Bars
- Weigh 15 to 20 pounds
- 52″ long
- 2″ diameter
- Only uses Olympic weights
- 200 pound max
Standard curl bars
- Usually 11 pounds
- 47″ long
- 1″ Diameter
- Uses standard weights (you can get an adapter that will allow you to use Olympic weights)
- 150 to 200-pound max
Can you use a curl bar for a bench press
Like a lot of fitness questions you can receive different answers from different people.
The curl bar wasn’t made with chest workouts in mind, it’s used primarily for smaller muscle groups that need lighter weight but if this is all you have then here are a couple of exercises that you can do for your chest.
Curl Bar Pullover
- Sit on the bench with a loaded curl bar on your lap.
- Lie back on the bench while moving the bar to your chest.
- Using a shoulder-width grip raise the bar over your chest, keeping your elbows slightly bent.
- Lower the bar over and past your head
- If you’re doing it correctly you’ll feel triceps and shoulder muscles tense.
- Pause for a second than using your core brings the bar back up to the starting position.
Close Grip Chest Press
This move is done just like the close grip curl bar press, the big difference is that to stimulate the chest instead of bringing the bar down to your lower chest you want to aim for your upper chest.
Bodyweight Pec flyes
- Put equally loaded curl bars on either side of you while kneeling
- You want to put yourself in a push-up position over top of the bars, make sure to keep your back straight and arms extended.
- Place your hands on the middle of each bar, make sure you’re in the center and balanced well.
- In a controlled slow manner start to push the bars away from you inhaling while you do this.
- Don’t overextend, simply move as far out as you’re comfortable doing then start to bring the bars back into the starting position.
Tips On Proper Form And Technique
When performing the concentric portion of the curl (this is when you’re bringing the bar up towards your chest) do not use your body to complete the move.
If you’re finding yourself doing this you’re probably using to much weight, you want your biceps to do all the work so make sure that you’re standing straight with your biceps in and don’t do any cheat reps.
Support your wrists
The curl bar allows you to keep ar ergonomic grip while isolating the bicep muscles, you’ll want to point your wrists to the inside of your body to essentially stabilize them and keep the wrist joint locked.
As you become more experienced you’ll learn how to move your wrists so that your forearms become less involved and more impact on your biceps.
During the move, your neck and head should never move and they should always stay aligned straight with your back.
The one thing you need to look out for is when the weight starts to get heavy and your pushing for one more rep your chin may start to drop.
Every inch that your head drops adds 10 pounds of force onto your neck and shoulders, that means a 12-pound head held 3 inches past the shoulders places 42 pounds of pressure on the neck and cervical extensors.
Keep Your Arms In
Your goal throughout the curling movement is to make your biceps do as much of the work as possible.
Keeping your elbows tight to your side will put the most tension on the biceps so that you receive the best results.
Push Your Chest Out
If you push your shoulders and chest back it will ensure that your torso stays straight, When your torso becomes angled it diminishes your range of motion and puts unwanted stress on your joints and ligaments.
Conclusion Are EZ Curl Bars Good
When used properly curl bars should have a place in your home gym, they’re great at isolating the biceps and triceps while taking stress off of your wrists.
While having a limited amount of usage they do help limit injury and help you keep proper form.