Biceps Curls: Ez Bar Or Straight Bar?

mike-mentzer-barbell-curl

Mike Mentzer doing heavy barbell curls

The good ol’ biceps curl is the movement of choice when it comes to direct biceps work. Many bodybuilders obsessed with arm training are guilty of doing this movement almost every time they hit the gym.

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

The Straight Bar Curl = Wrist Killer

Did you know that 8 out of 10 report wrist pain from straight bar biceps curls? Ok. I made that up, but wrist pain is still very common during regular barbell curls because the bar puts the wrists in a position that requires flexibility which many don’t have. If that’s you, the first thing to try is a wider grip. It helps a lot.


EZ Bar curls = Wrist Savers

The main purpose of the EZ bar barbell is to allow your wrists to assume a more neutral position. This reduces some of the strain commonly experienced with the straight bar. In most cases, this method works, and the stress on the wrists decreases significantly.

Do straight bar curls build more mass?

There is a belief among the nostalgic bodybuilders that straight bar curls build more muscle mass. After all, the ghost-written articles in bodybuilding magazines and the soulless muscle sites label the straight bar curls as the best biceps mass builder. However, similar statements are backed solely by macho nonsense. The EZ bar curls are just as effective. In fact, they could be even more effective since it’s less likely to experience chronic wrist pain that may force you to take time off.

But my wrists hurt even when I use the EZ bar

Some people will experience wrist pain even with the EZ bar. If you are in this situation, the best option would be to use dumbbells for your curls.

Dumbbells allow the joints to move freely. Definitely, give them a try if you experience wrist pain during biceps curls. As a bonus, your unilateral strength will improve too.

2 comments

  1. Jesse

    So I won’t lose biceps size or wouldn’t gain as much size using a curl bar as opposed to a straight bar?

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