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How to do a wide EZ bar curl

Blast your biceps, not your wrists, with the wide grip EZ bar curl.
Written By  Liam Brown
Last Updated on 10th August 2021
A man performing a wide EZ bar curl

Due to the origin and insertion of the biceps brachii, you can shift more of the tension onto the inner muscle fibers of your biceps by performing a wide EZ bar curl.

The movement is very similar to the standing EZ bar curl, except that you're using slightly wider hand spacing. There's no need to exaggerate your grip by holding the bar at its ends. Less is usually more when it comes to modifying your grip to target different regions of the biceps.

Related: Inner bicep workout

Wide grip EZ bar curl exercise details

  • Also Known As: Wide grip easy bar curl
  • Main Muscles: Biceps brachii
  • Secondary Muscles: Brachialis, brachioradialis, forearm flexors
  • Exercise Type: Strength
  • Exercise Mechanics: Isolation
  • Difficulty Level: Beginner
  • Equipment Needed: EZ bar, weights

How to do wide grip EZ bar curls

  1. Load some weight onto an EZ bar.
  2. Grab the bar just outside shoulder width.
  3. Stand up straight and let the bar rest against your thighs.
  4. Curl the weight toward your shoulders by flexing your biceps.
  5. Keep lifting until your forearms press up against your biceps.
  6. Hold the contraction for a second and then lower the weight under control until your elbows are completely locked out.
  7. Repeat for 3-5 sets of 6-12 reps.

Wide EZ bar curl pros and cons

EZ bar wide grip curls are, in general, a brilliant exercise for building your biceps, especially if your goal is to gain mass. However, there are also a few downsides to the movement that you need to be aware of, hence why we created this list of pros and cons.

Pro: You can lift heavier weights

A man performing wide grip bicep curls with an EZ bar

The wide grip EZ bar curl enables you to curl heavier poundages than the narrow grip EZ bar curl by putting your biceps in a stronger position to contract.

This makes the wide grip version particularly effective if you're trying to bulk up your biceps because you'll be able to overload your muscles with more resistance and stimulate greater hypertrophy.

Just remember that it's not a case of the wider, the better. Use a moderately wide grip rather than an extra-wide grip to prevent your biceps from falling into a weaker position (extreme grips reduce a muscle's ability to produce force).

Similarly, don't let the extra weight that you'll be able to lift on wide grip EZ bar curls turn you into an ego lifter. Always perform a full range of motion so that you recruit the most amount of muscle fibers possible. This entails lifting the bar until your biceps are maximally contracted and then lowering it until your elbows reach full extension.

Pro: It stresses the short head more

The short head of the biceps brachii muscle

Many lifters obsess over building their bicep peak before they've developed a solid foundation of muscle mass.

This is a mistake.

While the long head will make your biceps appear wider and taller from certain angles, the short head contributes a lot of size to your overall bicep mass. Therefore, you should focus on exercises that enable you to lift the heaviest weights possible so that you can overload your biceps with more resistance and make them grow larger.

Performing a barbell curl with a wide grip is a good idea in this regard. This movement puts your biceps in their optimal supinated position, which increases their ability to produce force, thus enabling you to lift more weight than the EZ version.

The downside is that barbells can often place excessive strain on your wrists and forearms, especially as your biceps become stronger. As such, doing preacher curls using a wide grip is another good option if you have access to an EZ bar.

Con: It can feel unnatural

A man performing a wide grip EZ bar curl

A lot of gym-goers do the wide EZ bar curl for the first time and then complain that the exercise feels strange, almost as if their hands shouldn't be in such a wide position.

Well, they're right; your hands shouldn't be in an extra-wide position.

Many people incorrectly interpret the word wide in the context of curls.

Remember, you can't completely isolate regions of the biceps. Rather, you can only emphasize the different heads by slightly altering your grip.

So if wide grip EZ bar curls feel weird, then there's a good chance that you're using an excessively wide grip and thus reducing the ability of your biceps to produce force.

Related Exercise: Reverse grip E Z bar curl

Conclusion: Are wide EZ bar curls worth your while?

The wide EZ bar curl is a great overall mass builder for the biceps. Although this exercise biases the tension toward the short (inner) head, the movement is still highly effective for increasing the size of your arms as a whole.

The trick is to use a comfortably wide rather than an excessively wide grip. Holding the bar just outside shoulder width is the perfect hand position to take because it emphasizes the inner muscle fibers of your biceps without limiting your strength, which is what extreme grip widths do.

Perform the wide grip EZ bar curl for 3-5 sets of 6-12 reps so that you can focus on the fast-twitch muscle fibers (the fibers that grow the biggest) while still doing enough repetitions to get plenty of training volume.

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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