Biceps Curls: Ez Bar Or Straight Bar?

The bicep curl is as old as the squat. It’s been around since forever and is the movement of choice when it comes to direct biceps work. Most bodybuilders obsessed with arm training are guilty of doing this biceps curls almost every time they hit the gym.

What’s better – EZ bar curls or straight bar curls?


Mike Mentzer doing heavy barbell curls

The Straight Bar Biceps Curl = Wrist Killer

Did you know that 8 out of 10 report wrist pain from straight bar biceps curls? Ok. We made that up, but wrist pain is quite common during during regular barbell curls.

That’s because the straight bar requires your palms to be always facing away from you. Also the bar forces your wrist in a position that requires active flexibility which many don’t have.

One thing to try is to use a wide grip for your straight bar barbell curls. In many cases that helps quite a lot but you never know and there are no quick fixes.

EZ Bar curls = Wrist savers

The whole point of the EZ bar barbell is to allow your wrists to be in a more neutral position and reduce some of the strain commonly experienced with the straight bar.

The amazing thing is that in many cases this method does work and the stress on the wrists decreases significantly. That’s why the EZ bar curls are considered to be wrist saviors.

Do straight bar curls build more mass?

There is a belief among the nostalgic bodybuilders that straight bar curls build more muscle mass. That’s why the ghost written articles you see in the bodybuilding magazines and the soulless muscle sites label the straight bar curls as the best biceps mass builder.

However, similar statements are absolutely not backed by anything other than macho nonsense.

The EZ curl biceps curls are just as effective. In fact, they could be even more effective since it’s less likely to experienced chronic wrist pain and take time off.

But my wrists hurt even when I use the EZ bar…

Without a doubt some people will experience pain even during EZ bar curls. If you are in this situation, the best option would be to use dumbbells for your curls.

That way the joints are allowed to move freely without restriction and can assume painless positions. Definitely give them a try, if you experience wrist pain during biceps curls.

An added benefit is that dumbbells allow you to develop your unilateral strength.

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