EZ Bar Vs. Barbell: Which is Better?

Using the EZ bar for bicep curls makes the exercise easier - but less effective.

Barbell bicep curls are the most effective bicep exercise that you can do. Period. But what’s the difference between doing the curls with a typical straight barbell or the EZ bar?

EZ bars look like curved or bent versions of a typical barbell; they allow the palms to take a less supinated (upward), more natural position when curling. This helps ease the wrist or elbow pain that some lifters experience on a typical barbell. In short, the EZ bar makes curling a bit easier and less painful.

However, it comes at a price. As an experiment, make a fist with your right hand, palm facing upward. Hold your arm as though you were about to do a curl with a 90 angle in your bent elbow. Look at your bicep. It should be flexing. Now slowly rotate your palm inward about 45 degrees – mimicking the grip on an EZ bar. You’ll notice that the bicep flexing decreases, and that some of the contraction moves into your forearm. This is precisely the problem with the EZ bar; it’s not as effective for bicep curls.

If using the typical straight barbell doesn’t result in wrist or elbow pain during your workout, stick with it. The straight barbell will give you a better workout – and better results. But for those individuals experiencing discomfort, the EZ is a great alternative.

About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.


  1. I use the e-z curl bar for seated curls elbows on the curling bench pad. Straight bar for standing barbell curls. Dumbbells are probably better than either, as they prevent cheating with the dominant arm.

  2. christopher says:

    tried the experiment and your right about it.dumbbell curls-the short bar is straight.ez curl bars are one way-straight bar barbell curls-a more but difficult curl-but most effective movement-just harder.thanks for pointing this out.ez-curl vs straight bar -two different movements.got it.

  3. connor axelso says:

    I’m not so sure because I think it starts to involve the 2nd bicep head (the one used to twist the wrist), for this reason with the added benefit of reducing strain on the wrist I always stick to them. Tension is kept on the biceps and utilising the forearm in the curl is hardly a big problem, who doesn’t want more grip??

  4. Hi there i am kavin, its my first time to commenting anyplace,
    when i read this article i thought i could also maake comment due to this sensible paragraph.

  5. Hi,
    I would like to know which is more effective between Dumbell and Kettlebell.

  6. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied
    on the video to make your point. You obviously know
    what youre talking about, why waste your intelligence on just posting videos to your blog when you could
    be giving us something enlightening to read?

  7. EZ- bar or dumbbells for me. Way more natural.
    For both curls and triceps extensions.
    The straight bar is only hurting the wrist and elbows.
    Straight bar for shrugs, bench press , squat etc.

    The biceps will grow bigger and stronger with the ez-bar.
    Personally I think that the thought of twisting the wrist making the exercise more effective for the biceps not so much true.
    Which muscles do the work when curling the EZ bar up?
    The biceps.
    The shape of your muscles are the way they are.
    That’s genetics.
    They either grow or don’t grow.