It can be pretty intimidating going to the gym for the first time with a whole range of equipment laid out before you. If you are wanting to workout to get stronger, then a piece of equipment you may want to get friendly with is a EZ bar.
An EZ curl bar will be located with the strength building equipment in the gym as it is designed to build your bicep and tricep muscles. They differ from straight bars as they have a zig-zag shaped middle.
This zig-zag shape can come in a variety of sizes which in turn ups the intensity of the lift due to you needing to grip the bar tighter.
The type of bar you use to lift completely depends on what you are comfortable using or what suits your style better. The unique angle of the EZ bar can help take some of the pressure off of your wrists and shoulders depending on your physical build and so some people opt for the EZ bar for comfort reasons.
The EZ bar is suitable for anyone new to lifting or just starting out at the gym as they are designed to be light and not add any extra strain to your exercise, allowing you to control your lift better. Because they are a basic tool, more intermediate lifters are also able to use the EZ bar for a whole range of exercises due to the versatile nature of the bar.
If you find gyms intimidating, then EZ curl bars are great for home exercises. They are convenient to store and small enough to be able to use in any space available to you, so you can maximise your muscle strength all while using professional gym equipment at home, something that is not always possible with other strength based workout equipment.
So you pick up an EZ curl bar... now what? What exercises will help a beginner make the most of this versatile muscle focused equipment and how can you do so without injuring yourself? Here are the top exercises that you can use a curl bar for:
The most common type of bar exercises is a bicep curl which can be easily modified in a way you are more comfortable with when using a EZ bar. Likewise, you can change your hand positioning when using a EZ bar to do a bicep lift, which will help you target different parts of your upper body.
Start with your arms extended directly downwards holding the EZ bar and stand with your feet shoulder width apart. This will help stop you from using your hips to help you with the curl which would decrease the muscle build you get from the exercise.
As you curl up, make sure to keep you upper arms still and only lift with your forearms. When curling up you will then feel the pull of your biceps once the bar reaches as high as it will go with your upper arms still.
Stay with the bar raised up for a few seconds and then slowly uncurl your arms, bringing the bar lower. Do not rush to lower the bar as you could pull or damage a muscle on your way down. Instead, control the descent and you will feel your biceps gaining strength in no time.
This is the most standard type of bar grip and requires you to hold the bar from underneath with your hands lining up with your hips on the bar. If you are performing the underhand grip correctly then your palms should be facing inwards a little so that you do not pull an unnecessary muscle when you go to lift the bar.
When you are ready to perform a rep, you need to keep your elbows tucked in to initiate the right type of muscle movement and make the curl more effective. This way you will be able to target the outside of your bicep aka the long head.
By holding your hands over the bar and holding it as if it were a bag, you are able to perform a reverse bicep curl. Essentially, this type of grip is the exact same as the overhand grip but aims the inside of your bicep. Therefore it is best to incorporate both of the overhand grip and the underhand grip into the same workout making sure to alternate between the two.
The overhand grip does require a stronger grip due to the angle of the hold so start with the underhand grip first to warm up and then move onto the slightly more strenuous overhand grip.
Taking the typical underhand grip and changing how far apart your hands are on the bar challenges your muscle strength by making the bar harder to grip due to the angle of your wrists.
As with the underhand and overhand grip, it is best to include both of the narrow and wide underhand grip exercises in your strength workout as they work with each other to build your bicep up in different ways. The narrower grip targets your outer bicep while the wider grip aims at the inner bicep.
Some people may not feel comfortable with the angle that the wider and narrower grip provides which is more than okay. Just make sure to interchange the underhand and overhand grip and you still get the same results.
This type of exercise is traditionally done with a straight bar but can be easily translated and used with an EZ bar. It is worth noting a seated military press focuses on working your shoulders and triceps and as such if you already suffer from shoulder pain then it is best to skip this exercise.
As long as you have a sturdy chair that you can sit straight back on then you will still be able to do this exercise at home. Just make sure to do it with the proper form otherwise you will do your shoulders damage which would not be fun.
Put your hands shoulder width apart on the bar in an overhand grip. For most people, this will mean that your hands lay on the outermost part of the bar. Make sure you can comfortably grip the bar and support it with this wide a grip, especially if you are by yourself as you do not want to drop the EZ bar from the angle you will be lifting.
Start by bringing the bar up to your chest with your elbows directly in line with your hands. When you are sure you can support the weight, push your arms straight up until you are fully extended and hold for a few seconds before lowering the bar back to your chest.
If you are feeling too much strain on your shoulders, then take some weight off of the bar otherwise the exercise will stop being effective and will start being harmful.
As dangerous sounding as this exercise is, it is actually a very effective method to build your triceps. By working your triceps you will actually be helping yourself in other areas of exercise as stronger triceps will help you bench press better. Ideal for those of you who want to get better in more than once area of exercise.
To do the skull crusher, you will need a bench press so that you can lay back. As you do so, keep the bar to your chest. Once you are in position, extend your arms up and lock your elbows so that the EZ bar is above your chest.
When you are comfortable, unlock your elbows and lower the bar towards your head so that your forearms are on either side of your head and the bar is just above. Then bring the bar back up and over your check locking your elbows once more.
As mentioned, you will need a bench press of this exercise and preferably somebody who can help you if your arms give out otherwise you could cause serious damage to either your chest or your head.
Once again aimed at building up your triceps, this exercise is also great at targeting your core as the rest of your body fights to keep standing still while your arms move the EZ bar. The only part of your body that should be moving is your arms and it is best you keep your torso and legs still as well as keep your head in a neutral position, both for safety and as a whole-body exercise.
You will need to stand with your legs shoulder-width apart and start with your hands in an overgrip position on the EZ bar. Next, you need to perform a reverse curl so that the bar is at your chest so that you are in the starting position.
When you are ready, lift the bar above your head and curl the bar behind your head so that your elbows are next to your face and your forearms are parallel. Hold for a few seconds then bring the bar back up over your head, repeating the motion as many times as you wish.
By slowing down the reverse curl behind your head, you can up the intensity of the exercise as you are having to control the weight mid-flex for longer, leading to a better build up of tricep strength.