EZ Bar Curls and Dumbbell Curls are two of the most popular bicep curl exercises. If you’ve been strength training for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard of both of these exercises.
But which one is right for you?
In this article, I’ll explain how to do both EZ Bar Curls and Dumbbell Curls along with discussing the benefits and drawbacks of each exercise. Finally, I’ll try to answer which exercise may be better for some common lifting goals so you can have a better idea of which curl variation you should include in your training.
EZ Bar Curls
- EZ Curl Bar
- Stand tall*, back straight, head up, feet shoulder-width apart.
- Hold the EZ Curl Bar with both hands, palms up (supinated grip).
- Start with the bar at arm’s length against the upper thighs.
- Curl the bar up towards the shoulders until the forearms touch the biceps.
- Keep upper elbows close to the side.
- Lower the bar back to starting position using the same path.
- Continue until all reps are completed.
*Instead of standing, using a Preacher Curl Rack is a very popular variation to use with an EZ Curl Bar. For more details, check out the variations listed below.
By far the most common mistake with any curl exercise, but perhaps even more so with EZ Bar Curls is swinging and rocking in an attempt to lift more weight. If you need to swing the bar, use momentum or generally contort your body to move the weight, it’s too heavy. Lower the weight and use proper form.
Don’t allow the wrists to bow back when holding and curling the bar. Keep the wrist neutral by keeping the forearms engaged. This will take pressure off the wrist that could otherwise lead to them being very uncomfortable on the wrists.
Some potential benefits of EZ Bar Curls include:
- Reduced strain on the wrists: The angled grip of the EZ bar allows for a more natural wrist position, which can make the exercise more comfortable to perform and reduce the risk of wrist strain or injury.
- Improved grip strength: The angled grip of the EZ bar can help to engage the muscles in the forearms, which can improve grip strength and overall hand function.
- Targeted muscle development: The angled grip of the EZ bar allows for a slightly different range of motion than a straight barbell, which can help to target the biceps muscles in a unique way and promote balanced muscle development.
- Increased strength and size: Like other bicep and forearm exercises, EZ bar curls can help to increase strength and size in the biceps and forearms, which can improve upper body strength and function.
Overall, EZ bar curls can be a valuable addition to any workout routine, and they offer a range of potential benefits for both beginners and experienced lifters.
- Start in a standing position with feet shoulder-width apart and a slight bend in the knees.
- Hold one dumbbell in each hand and stand tall with good posture.
- You can start with palms facing forward or facing in toward the body.
- Now, curl both dumbbells up to shoulder level by flexing the biceps hard. Palms should finish up, facing the shoulder.
- Squeeze the biceps at the top of the rep and then lower back down to the starting position.
The biggest mistake I see with Dumbbell Curls is swinging the dumbbells at the bottom of the rep. Lower the weights down under control and do not swing them at the bottom.
The other mistake I see usually comes when an athlete is trying to use too much weight. Instead of keeping the elbow, they allow the elbow to drift back which turns the movement into more of a row than a curl.
Some potential benefits of performing dumbbell curls include:
- Increased upper arm strength and size
- Improved grip strength
- Enhanced athletic performance in activities that require upper body strength
Additionally, dumbbell curls allow for a greater range of motion and variation compared to other upper arm exercises, such as the barbell curl. This makes dumbbell curls a valuable addition to any workout routine.
EZ Bar Curls vs Dumbbell Curls: Which is Better?
Now, let’s do a side-by-side comparison of the two exercises to see if one is better than the other for some common lifting goals.
Better For Strength and Hypertrophy: EZ Bar Curls
I give EZ Bar Curls the edge when it comes to developing strength and muscle mass… but it’s close.
Generally speaking, when comparing exercise variations using a bar and dumbbells, the bar version will allow the lifter to lift more weight. More weight leads to more strength and greater size gains.
However, using dumbbells allows both arms to work independently which will reduce any imbalances and/or compensations.
Ideally, I would suggest using both variations within your training program because both exercises come with their share of benefits for building strength and size.
Better For Beginners: Toss Up
This one is pretty even. I believe both EZ Bar Curls and Dumbbell Curls are good beginner-friendly exercises. They’re both easy to learn and execute. Both also allow for a beginner to be able to start with a light weight and gradually increase in weight as strength increases.
My suggestion here would be to try both! Make sure to learn the proper form and then see which one you like better.
All lifters have their own personal preferences on which exercises they like better and we all differ at least a little bit. The best way to find out which is best for you is to give them a try yourself.
I’ve just spent the last section of this article comparing which is better – EZ Bar Curls or Dumbbell Curls. However, the truth is, there is no reason you shouldn’t have both exercises in your strength training program.
Both are excellent exercises for developing strong biceps and forearms. Incorporating both exercises into your training program can also add variety and keep your workouts from getting stale.
So, my suggestion would be instead of trying to decide between the two exercises, figure out how you can utilize both EZ Bar Curls and Dumbbell Curls in your training plan.
More Links and Info
Check out how EZ Bar Curls compare against some other popular curl exercises: