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Reverse grip EZ bar curl tutorial and advantages

Blast your brachioradialis—not your wrists—with the reverse EZ bar curl.
Written By  Liam Brown
Last Updated on 11th June 2021
A man performing the reverse grip EZ bar curl

The bicep anatomy is surrounded by other important arm muscles, such as the brachialis and brachioradialis, which are, at best, an afterthought for most weight lifting enthusiasts. However, by doing EZ bar reverse curls, you can build more proportional arms by improving the muscles that are currently lagging behind your biceps in development.

This guide shows you how to do EZ bar bicep curls with a reverse grip so that you can preferentially target your brachioradialis and brachialis muscles by placing your biceps in a position of mechanical disadvantage.

Reverse EZ bar curl exercise details

  • Also Known As: Pronated EZ bar curls, overhand EZ bar curls
  • Main Muscles: Brachialis, brachioradialis, biceps brachii
  • Secondary Muscles: Forearm extensors
  • Exercise Type: Strength
  • Exercise Mechanics: Isolation
  • Difficulty Level: Beginner
  • Equipment Needed: EZ bar, weights

How to perform a reverse grip EZ bar curl

  1. Load a suitable amount of weight onto an EZ bar.
  2. Stand up straight with your feet hip-width apart.
  3. Grab the bar with an overhand thumbless grip at shoulder width.
  4. Curl the bar toward your front delts.
  5. Keep curling until the tops of your forearms touch your biceps.
  6. Squeeze your arms for a second, and then lower the weight under control until your elbows are fully locked out.
  7. Perform 3-5 sets of 6-12 reps in total.

EZ bar reverse curl advantages

The reverse EZ bar curl has many of the same advantages as exercises like the reverse kettlebell curl. However, there are also some unique plus points to this movement that the other variations simply don't provide.

Reduces wrist discomfort

A man showing the correct grip for the EZ bar reverse curl

The regular reverse curl can often hurt your wrists because you're forced to hold the bar with a fully pronated grip, which is a very unnatural hand position. After all, we don't walk around with our knuckles pointing straight ahead. [1]

If you observe the position that your hands and wrists naturally fall into when you relax your arms, you'll see that they're in a neutral or semi-pronated position. The latter is the exact position that your hands are in during an EZ-bar reverse curl; hence, it's an effective exercise for reducing your wrist discomfort.

Also, try to use a thumbless grip if you can. While this does make the easy curl bar harder to hold onto, such a grip also forces your brachioradialis to work harder because the bar can't rest on your thumbs.

You can also see our wide grip EZ bar bicep curls guide if you want to learn more about how different grips affect muscle recruitment.

Promotes proportional arm development

A bodybuilder flexing his muscles outside

A high proportion of strength trainees have decent biceps but much weaker brachialis and brachioradialis development. This results in arms that look unsymmetrical and unaesthetic. [2]

Luckily, reverse grip EZ bar curls can help.

You can bring up your brachialis and brachioradialis by doing more reverse EZ bar curls than supinated curls. This will give your lagging muscle groups a chance to catch up in both size and strength while also preserving the bicep mass that you currently have (the reverse EZ curl still works the biceps quite a bit).

While you can still do exercises like close grip EZ bar bicep curls to target the biceps directly, it's recommended to perform more sets of the reverse grip EZ curl—at least until your arms become more balanced—so that the gulf in size between your biceps and brachioradialis doesn't become too large.

It's highly convenient

A man doing the reverse EZ bar curl

The reverse EZ-bar curl is a valuable exercise if you train at home because you only need access to a few free weights and a small amount of workout space.

On the other hand, if you have very limited equipment, you can do the resistance band reverse curl instead, which you can literally perform anywhere.

The reverse grip E Z bar curl, however, offers more room for progression because you can increase the weight in manageable increments. Microplates are helpful here because they enable you to gain strength faster by allowing more frequent weight jumps, which will ultimately enable you to overload your arms with higher resistance levels and trigger more muscle growth.

Related Exercise: TRX reverse curls

The verdict: Are reverse EZ bar curls better than the regular version?

The reverse EZ bar curl should be the default reverse curl variation for anyone who feels wrist discomfort when they grip a regular barbell.

This is because the easy curl version places your hands in a more natural position that enables you to focus on getting a great workout rather than on the annoying ache in your wrists that would otherwise occur from the barbell version.

Your best bet is to perform the reverse grip EZ bar curl for a mixture of high and low rep sets. This approach ensures that both the fast and slow-twitch muscle fibers receive enough stimulation to grow at their optimal rates.

References

  1. Adams, C. (2019, April 28). What Is the Natural Wrist Position According to Ergonomics? ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/natural-wrist-position-in-ergonomics-1206560
  2. Lind, J. (2017, October 6). Finding Your Asymmetries and Fixing the Uneven Body. Breaking Muscle. https://breakingmuscle.com/fitness/finding-your-asymmetries-and-fixing-the-uneven-body
Liam Brown
Liam Brown has been coaching clients as a personal trainer for more than 12 years. Raised by his athlete mother and physiotherapist father, he understands the critical importance of learning the proper technique for both avoiding injury and building muscle.
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