Sometimes, body workout becomes quite confusing for the athletes. Because a single workout may require various kinds of moves and different equipment.
The same confusion is faced by the bodybuilders when they come across the right selection in between EZ curl bar vs dumbbells workout. It was the same challenge that most people have that made me share my thoughts on barbell and Kettlebell deadlifts
The truth is, apparent differences between a curl bar and dumbbells are easily noticeable.
Though they’re both resistance-training types of equipment — yet the size, shape, and structure of the dumbbells are enormous compared to the one variety of curl bar.
However, the workout difference is more eminent as their structure leads to training variations. Of course, these variations include the type of exercise and the workout.
So, what are the apparent differences that they hold? Yes! They have structural differences that are noticeable in the first go.
Commonly used curl bars hold a 2 inches diameter which holds the weights on both ends. However, the middle of the bar has 1 inch diameter which is designed for an easy fit in your hands.
On the other hand, a dumbbell is some weights are affixed at each end of the bar. They are either detachable or fixed. The shaft is up to 12 inches long.
The bar offers you a 6 inches space to hold the dumbbell when you exercise.
Another structural difference is their weight variations. Curl bars come in various weights depending on the manufacturers as well as the trainer’s suggestions.
Usually, an Olympic curl bar comes with a typical weight of 18 pounds.
However, you can add further weight plates to enhance the amount of resistance. These weight plates add an increment of 2.5 pounds on either end.
Dumbbells also come in various styles and structures. An adjustable dumbbell is a simple handle on which you can slide weight plates.
The dumbbell shaft/bar varies in weight from 1.5 to 7 pounds.
Dumbbell weight plates weigh between 1 to 100 pounds. Bodybuilders select them as per their work out demands.
Typical curl bar allows you to have more neutral positions which build your muscles in a certain proportion eventually. This keeps your biceps and triceps muscles in a proper symmetry.
Semi “w” shaped bar is more convenient for the wrist to hold it firmly and perform workout confidently.
Moreover, you use both hands on the same curl bar, this option allows your both wrists to get developed in the same manner at the same rate.
Dumbbells also come in various symmetries and structures. You can have them as hexagonal, round-shaped or with adjustable weight plates on either end.
A curl bar does not offer you enough options for the dynamic workout. You can either perform a few hand positions: up, down or slightly turned in.
That’s why the bar is beneficial only for those exercises in which you have to lift heavy weight and need both hands support.
On the other hand, dumbbells offer a wide range of moves and various types of workouts. For example, you can perform dumbbell chest fly, but not a curl bar chest fly.
Moreover, dumbbells allow you a number of single hand exercises. You can use them for the shoulder presses, back rows, and triceps kickback etc.
Dumbbells are ideal for the single leg deadlift as well.
However, you can perform some workouts with the help of either equipment.
For example, lower body exercises, like squats, lunges, and calf raises, are possible either with a curl bar or a set of dumbbells.
So, dumbbells provide more feasibility to perform various types of exercises and the curl bar offers you a more supportive mechanism to do a certain move with enhanced comfort.
Dumbbells: you need to be more attentive
Dumbbells require your enhanced attention. You are required to perform each and every movement with utmost concentration.
For example, when you go for the biceps development you should hold dumbbells in your hands lowering them toward the ground.
Now, face your palms toward your shoulders and slowly lift the dumbbells by bending your elbow.
Meanwhile, make sure that your upper arms are pinned to your sides.
Squeezing upper arm muscles gradually and then relaxing them back to bring dumbbells in the starting position completes one round.
So, you need extra attention and focus when you are using dumbbells for any move.
Best for biceps workout
When it comes to developing biceps, a lot of people get confused as to which is better to choose: either an EZ curl bar or a dumbbells set.
The curl bar is ideal just because of its easy grip and holding capability.
This feels more natural and more comfortable on the wrists and elbows. This is the reason that beginners like to choose an EZ bar for the workout.
However, the EZ bar does not allow you to develop your biceps and triceps beyond a certain limit.
When you use a dumbbells’ set, it offers you a number of positions at a time to perform workout properly and in the right way.
That’s why I would like to recommend you to choose dumbbells if you want to build something big.
To show you what I mean, just lift a 10kg household item right now while you are reading this article.
Now, try to perform some up and down movements. You will feel that you have to ensure the balance of that thing along with performing that movement.
So to get the most bang for your buck when going for the bicep workout, choose the dumbbells rather than EZ curl bar.
Though it will feel a bit difficult in the beginning, the size you gain on your arms will be worth the effort.
Comparing EZ curl bar and dumbbells
Comparing EZ bar and dumbbells is more likely to comparing unilateral and bilateral movements.
Dumbbells have certain benefits like you can correct your muscles symmetry and the length of the limb with the help of appropriate dumbbells.
However, EZ curl bar has no parallel when it comes to lifting heavier weights. It develops muscles to their maximum extent imparting them strength and not shape.
Conversely, the dumbbells help to shape the upper arms and wrist muscles. So, they both have some benefits as well as some drawbacks.
It’s up to you to choose the right equipment for a certain type of workout. You cannot sharpen a pencil with a hammer.
Other important factors
However, lack of physique and muscles progression can be attributed to the poor training and the wrong selection of equipment.
Sometimes, a bodybuilder invests his full input in terms of workout frequency, intensity and duration, yet the output is discouraging.
Dumbbells can only make your muscles symmetry and give them a proper shape. On the other hand, EZ curl bar provides maximum muscles strength.
And finally, there is the efficiency equation. Bilateral as well as unilateral movements have their own benefits.
More so, you have to spend almost twice the energy when performing unilateral — rather than bilateral movements.
So, it would be better to adopt an appropriate combination of alternative moves and equipment.
I suggest you perform 3-4 sets of dumbbells and then shift to the EZ curl bar workout for maximum output.
In this way you will increase your efficiency as well as the right selection will lead you to a perfect physique; thus preventing you from injuries.
Why people like EZ curl?
As it feels better to hold and perform, beginners mostly prefer to adopt EZ bar workout in the beginning. To some, it is not a big deal as it does not force your wrists outward and offers a comfortable grip.
However, in the long-run, the bar does not generate the required results solely. You have to go against what feels comfortable.
Either you have to shift to dumbbells or to hold bars from the “wrong” place.
This will develop your muscles as well as improve better mechanics for your kinetic chain.
The method you use for gripping the dumbbells is different as compared to the method for gripping EZ curl.
That means when exercising with dumbbells, your palms are in a position which is called full supination.
While in the case of a bar, your palms are a bit tilted and are in a semi-supine position. In this scenario, your palms are near to neutral position which offers more comfort eventually.
Besides apparent differences in shape, size, and gripping methods, they both have a prominent difference in terms of their muscle development.
For example, dumbbells require a wider palm grip on shafts, which makes biceps to work overwhelmingly.
On the other hand, a narrower grip of palms on the EZ curl bars develops brachioradialis muscles more and biceps less.
This is due to the grip position that is placed in between neutral and a full-spine position.
However, this semi-spine gripping method will offer a comfortable stature to your wrists and arms keeping them in a neutral position.
This reduces the risk of common injuries that many people get developed from the dumbbells overwhelming workout.
“Aka” is a much annoying injury which affects your elbow’s inner and this is caused by the wrong gripping for a longer span.
So basically, one exercise might hit your biceps slightly more but increase your risk of injury, and the other might hit your biceps slightly less but decrease your risk of injury.
Now, we have another question to answer:
Which Is Better?
Simply put, potential cons of dumbbells are more than the potential pros. That means injury due to dumbbells can prevent you from gaining better biceps activation.
However, both routines have their specific benefits, which cannot be replaced by the other one.
You cannot perform better with dumbbells, moves that are specified only with EZ curl bar and vice versa.
DO not forget to check more arm exercises in our Bicep Exercises article