21 EZ Curl Bar Exercises: Upper & Lower Body

EZ Curl Bar Exercises

If you are new to the gym, you still may be familiar with the words dumbbells and straight bar, but you may wonder what the funny-looking zig-zag-shaped bar is used for. Even for those who are relatively experienced in the gym, using an EZ curl bar might be something new. Adding EZ curl bar exercises will not only help with certain joint problems you may have in your wrists and hands, but they will also help target certain muscle groups a lot more than other pieces of equipment.

1. Standard Bicep Curl

Steps:

  • Standing with your knees bent slightly, hold the EZ curl bar with an underhanded grip.
  • Make sure your arms are in line with your shoulders and your elbows do not fly out to the sides. Engage your biceps, begin lifting the bar, curling at the elbow to raise the bar to your chest.
  • Slowly lower the bar at the same tempo as you raised it.

Benefits:

  • Performing this EZ curl bar exercise will put your hands and wrists in a natural grip position.

Training Tips:

  • Focus on using your arms for all the work. Do not sway back and forth at the hip to lift a heavier weight or hunch your shoulders, both of which will take the focus off of your biceps and potentially cause injury.
  • Make sure your wrists are strong and straight. Do not allow them to “break”. If they do, lower your weight.

2. Preacher Curl Bar Exercises

Curl Bar Exercises

Steps:

  • Using an EZ curl bar and a preacher bench, set the platform to sit comfortably under your armpits as you lean over it.
  • Grip the bar palms up at standard width and extend your arms down.
  • Keeping your back straight, curl the bar towards your chest, aiming to bring your hands to shoulder height.
  • Slowly return the bar to the starting position.

Benefits:

  • Because of the position of the preacher bench pad, the major muscles in your bicep (brachioradialis) will be the main target muscle.
  • Ideally, preacher curls, because of the setup, will lead to faster muscle growth than other curl exercises.

Training Tip:

  • Make sure the backs of your arms remain intact with the preacher bench pad so that your biceps are doing 100% of the work.

3. Overhead Triceps Extension

Steps:

  • While standing upright, feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, grab the bar with a close overhand grip
  • Lift the bar up and over your head
  • Bending your elbows, slowly lower the bar behind your head.
  • Keep your elbows tucked tight to your head. Do not allow them to flare out.
  • Return to the starting position with the same smooth tempo

Benefits:

  • Intense focus on your triceps

Training Tips:

  • Be careful not to lift too heavily as it will put stress on your elbow ligaments.
  • Keep your core engaged and back straight. Let your arms do the work, not your body.

4. Front Squats

Curl Bar Exercises

Steps:

  • With the EZ curl bar resting on the floor, load it with weight.
  • Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, hold the bar with an overhand grip, palms facing you
  • Perform a “power clean” lift to get the bar off the ground and to rest on your shoulders
  • With the bar at the peak of the power clean position, perform a squat aiming to have your thighs parallel with the floor.

Benefits:

  • One of the best EZ curl bar exercises to focus on your quads, core, and lower back

Training Tips:

  • As you do not have the use of a squat rack, you cannot load up the bar with as much weight as you would a basic back squat.

5. Reverse Grip Curl

Steps:

  • Grab the bar with an overhand grip, keeping your hands in line with your shoulders.
  • Focus on using just your forearms. Bend your arms and raise the bar upwards, attempting to bring it up to shoulder height.
  • Freeze the bar at the height of the lift for a count and then return to the starting position at waist height.

Benefits:

  • One of the best EZ curl bar exercises to target muscles in your forearms that traditional curls do not engage.

Training Tips:

  • Keep your wrists neutral. Do not allow them to bend down as you fatigue.
  • Keep your elbows pointed straight to the ground at your side

6. Close Grip Bench Press

Curl bar exercises

Steps:

  • Using a bench and the EZ curl bar, lay on your back while holding the bar with a close overhand grip.
  • Keep your hands a short distance apart
  • Lower the bar towards your chest, bending at the elbow, keeping them tight to your body
  • Raise the bar back up to the starting position. Focus on using your triceps to do the work.

Benefits:

  • Besides working out your triceps, the close grip bench press will also target your chest.

Training Tips:

  • Do not allow your elbows to lock when you straighten your arms as you push the bar upwards.
  • Focus on keeping the bar balanced, which can be a challenge when using a narrow grip.

7. Close Grip Curl

Steps:

  • With a neutral stance, grab the bar with an overhand grip, hands close together
  • Using a traditional curling movement, squeeze your biceps as you lift the bar towards your chest.
  • With the same tempo, lower the bar and repeat

Benefits:

  • With a close grip, your biceps will be engaged more as you combine lifting and stabilizing the bar.

Training Tip:

  • Focus on keeping your elbows tucked to the sides of your body, using just your arms to do the work

8. Overhead Squat

Curl Bar Exercises

Steps:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and drop into a squat position
  • With the EZ curl bar on the ground, pick it up with a wide overhand grip
  • Perform a “clean and press” lift to raise the bar from the ground to over your head
  • Make sure that you extend your arms, but don’t lock them. With your core engaged, maintain your balance as you perform a regular squat while holding the bar overhead.

Benefits:

  • Not only will you work the traditional squat muscles in your lower body, but you will also get a shoulder and upper back workout at the same time.

Training Tips:

  • As you are picking up the weight from the ground, rather than a squat rack, perform this EZ curl bar exercise with less weight, but possibly more depth than you would a traditional squat.

9. Upright Row EZ Curl Bar Exercises

Steps:

FAL
FAL
  • Stand in an athletic stance. Shoulders back and down, core engaged.
  • With an overhand grip, hold the EZ curl bar at waist height, keeping your hands in line with your shoulders.
  • Keeping the bar close to your body, bend your elbows and pull the bar straight up towards your chin.
  • Lower the bar at the same tempo to your waist

Benefits:

  • One of the best EZ curl bar exercises to focus on your entire upper body. Not only will your triceps be engaged, but so will your shoulders, core, and upper back.

Training Tips:

  • As you pull the bar upward, allow your elbows to flare out above shoulder height.

10. Standing Reverse Grip Overhead Press

Steps:

  • Beginning in a stance with your knees slightly bent, grab the bar with an underhand grip.
  • With your elbows tucked in, hold the bar at chest level
  • Extend your arms upward, pushing the weight above your head. Do not let your elbows lock.
  • Lower the bar down to your chest

Benefits:

  • A calorie burning compound exercise that engages your upper body while focusing on your shoulders

Training Tips:

  • Make sure your wrists and forearms stay strong and do not bend
  • Be cautious of your head and face

11. Drop Set EZ Curl Bar Exercises

Steps:

  • If you have access to multiple EZ curl bars, set each one at a different weight. With your first loaded at the maximum weight, you can curl for six to eight reps. With an underhand grip, perform a set of standard curls.
  • The second bar or set will be roughly 20% lighter than your first set, repeat for reps or until failure.
  • Repeat for the third bar or set at 20% lighter than the second set for reps or failure.

Benefits:

  • A great EZ curl bar exercise for improving your muscular endurance and cardiovascular fitness

Training Tips:

  • A great exercise for improving your muscular endurance and cardiovascular fitness.
  • Perform all three sets with a minimal break (if at all).

12. Bent-Over Row EZ Curl Bar Exercises

Steps:

  • Standing with your feet in line with your hips and a slight bend in your knees, hinge at the waist to grab the bar with an overhand grip
  • Push your feet into the floor as you pick up the bar, holding it just below your knees with your arms extended.
  • Pull the bar upward towards your waist. Keep your elbows tucked at your side and send them backward.
  • Lower the bar to your knees and repeat

Benefits:

  • A great curl bar exercise to increase strength in your posterior chain

Training Tips:

  • As you lift the bar, squeeze your shoulder blades together and be aware not to let your elbows flare out.
  • Keep a neutral spine.

13. Deadlift Bicep Curl Combo

(note, the video is using a barbell, but an EZ curl bar can be used as well)

Steps:

  • As you bend over to grab the curl bar with an underhand grip, make sure your feet are roughly hip-width apart.
  • With a slight bend in the knees, sit your hips back and keep your back straight as you pull the bar up in line with your shins.
  • Return your hips to be in line with your shoulders while you pull the bar up to waist height
  • With your elbows tight to your body, execute a regular curl
  • Slowly lower the bar back down to waist height and then to floor level.

Benefits:

  • A great lower/upper body combination curl bar exercise

Training Tips:

  • While you will most likely want to deadlift a heavy weight, keep in mind that you also have to curl the same amount.

14. Skull Crusher Curl Bar Exercises

Curl Bar Exercises

Steps:

  • Using a bench and an EZ curl bar, lay flat on the bench, holding the loaded bar above you with a narrow overhand grip and straight arms.
  • Slowly bend your elbows, lowering the bar towards your forehead
  • Slowly straighten your arms to the starting position

Benefits:

  • Your triceps are the focal point of this exercise, moving the weight almost on their own.

Training Tips:

  • Focus on keeping your elbows tucked in line with your body as you lower the bar, not allowing them to flare out.
  • Make sure you can lift the weight for rep count as you do not want the bar to smash your forehead!

15. Split Squat EZ Curl Bar Exercises

Curl Bar Exercises

Steps:

  • Depending on the position you are holding the bar, load the weight accordingly. Remember, the Zercher position will allow you to load more weight than the front or overhead squat.
  • While holding the bar, step one leg backward and settle into a lunge position with your front knee in line with your ankle and back knee dropped towards the ground.
  • Rise from the lunge position using your front leg to drive you upward.
  • You may perform an entire set of reps on one leg and then switch, or you can choose to alternate reps.

Benefits:

  • A great EZ curl bar exercise to increase the strength in your knees, glutes, and quads. A wonderful exercise for those dealing with a lack of mobility.

Training Tips:

16. EZ Curl Bar Exercise 21’s

Steps:   

  • Being the first stage while holding the bar with an underhand grip
  • Curl the bar until your forearms are parallel with the ground. Repeat this curl for seven reps.
  • Starting with the eighth rep, curl the bar to your chest, but only lower it down until your forearms are parallel with the floor.
  • For reps fifteen through twenty-one, do full bicep curls with the bar beginning from your thighs and ending at your chest.
  • Each group of twenty-one reps is 1 set.

Benefits:

  • With three distinct movements and ranges of motion, this trio of curls will target different areas of your biceps.

Training Tips:

  • As with all bicep curls, make sure you lift with your arms, not your shoulders or back. Do not rock forward and backward to complete the lift, instead, drop to a lighter weight.

17. Prone Incline Front Raise

(note, the video is using a barbell, but an EZ curl bar can be used as well)

Steps:

  • Set the bench at a 45-degree angle and lay on it chest first with your feet placed firmly on the ground. Your upper torso should be just above the top of the bench.
  • With your arms hanging straight down, hold the bar with an overhand grip
  • Keeping your arms straight, lift the bar until it is in line with your shoulders.
  • Slowly lower the bar and repeat.

Benefits:

  • By using the bench for support, you will can load the bar with a decent amount of weight to target your upper back and shoulders.

Training Tips:

  • Do not let your back arch, keep your chest pressed firmly against the bench pad.

18. JM Press EZ Curl Bar Exercises

Steps:

  • While holding the EZ curl bar with a close overhand grip, lie down on a flat bench
  • Keeping your shoulder blades retracted, press the bar upward while holding it at mid to upper chest level
  • With your elbows pointed forward, slowly bend them, lowering the bar down, aiming towards between the top of your chest and your chin.
  • As your forearms and biceps touch, extend at the elbows and press the bar back up to the starting position.

Benefits:

  • With a focus on your triceps, this compound movement exercise will help you achieve a more powerful bench press.

Training Tips:

  • Picture this exercise as a combination of a close grip bench press and a prone triceps extension.
  • Start with light weights until you become comfortable with the proper movements.

19. Romanian Deadlift EZ Curl Bar Exercises

Steps:

  • Standing with your knees slightly bent and using an overhand grip, hold the bar at waist height
  • While keeping your back straight, slowly hinge forward at your hips as you lower the bar down your legs until roughly shin height or when you feel the stretch in your hamstrings.
  • Squeeze your glutes and drive your hips forward as you pull the bar back up to the starting position.

Benefits:

  • A great lower body exercise that targets your posterior chain, hamstrings, glutes, and also your arms

Training Tips:

  • Be aware of your range of motion. Once you feel the pull on your hamstrings, you have gone far enough.

20. Zercher Squat

Steps:

  • Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width
  • Place the “W” part of the bar in the crooks of your elbows
  • Fold your arms inward towards your chest and clasp your hands together
  • Lift the bar from its resting place
  • Perform a traditional squat movement with the weight balanced in front of you

Benefits:

  • This squat variation allows you to lift a heavier weight while using the EZ curl bar without having to do an overhead lift or power clean

Training Tips:

  • As you are not lifting the bar overhead, you can load the bar while balancing it on a rack, bench, or platform. Use a towel or pads for your elbows, rather than resting the bar directly on them.

21. Hack Squat EZ Curl Bar Exercises

(note, the video is using a barbell, but an EZ curl bar can be used as well)

Steps:

  • Stand in front of the loaded bar, feet shoulder-width apart in a deadlift stance
  • As you lower into a traditional squat, reach behind and grab the bar, palms facing away from you.
  • As you lift from the squat position, hold the bar closely behind your legs, following your legs all the way up, engaging your hip flexors and glutes.
  • Slowly lower back down until the weights hit the ground
  • Focus on balance and stability, as holding the weight behind your legs while you lift can take some getting used to.

Benefits:

  • You can load up the EZ curl bar with as much weight as you can hold, as you will not be holding the bar overhead or on your shoulders. Your quads will receive most of the work in this exercise.

Training Tips:

  • Use a squat platform or rubber mat as it will help cushion the weight and also protect the gym floor.

Photo of author

Steve Lee

I am a former certified personal trainer, sports conditioning coach, certified basketball and softball coach. Whether you are in the weight room, on the court or on the field, it doesn’t matter how good you are, it’s that you enjoy doing what you are doing and try your best.
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