Skip to Content

What Head Do EZ Bar Curls Work? (Long or Short)

EZ bars are common in many gyms.

They tend to be popular with gym-goers who are trying to increase the size of their arms.

If you ask an experienced gym user what they would recommend for building those bulging biceps many of us dream of, the chances are, they’ll recommend EZ bar curls.

But are EZ bar curls good for building your bicep peak?

Or are they better at adding width to the muscle?

Knowing which bicep head EZ bar curls work can make a difference as to whether they’ll be beneficial to you and your fitness goals.

That’s what this article is all about – it looks at the anatomy of your biceps and how EZ bar curls work each head.

The Anatomy Of Biceps

Your biceps are made of two heads – the long head and the short head.

The long head of your biceps is located on the outer part of your arm (lateral), while the short head is on the inner part (medial).

As your biceps are made from two heads, it’s useful to know which head is responsible for different appearances.

The long head of your biceps is what gives you the famous bicep peak, whereas the short head is the one that adds width or thickness to the muscle.

Which Bicep Head Do EZ Bar Curls Work?

EZ bar curls can work both the short head and the long head of the biceps.

When performing a standard EZ bar curl (with a supinated, shoulder-width grip), both heads have to activate at various points in the exercise, although the long head activates more.

One of the best things about EZ bars curls is that they encourage more activation of your biceps than standard barbell curls.

This is obviously awesome if you’re trying to build big, strong upper arms.

Depending on the grip you use for EZ bar curls and the location of your hands on the bar, you can target a specific head or bring in other muscle groups too. 

How To Target The Inner Head More

The inner head of your biceps is the one that adds width or thickness to your arms.

Many people get caught up in building their bicep peak that they neglect their inner head and end up with tall thin biceps.

To avoid this look, you can target the inner head of your bicep more simply by changing your hand position on the EZ bar.

Adopting a wider grip on the bar when performing EZ bar curls will help build the inner head.

An easy way to remember this is to think that a wide grip adds width to the muscle.

It’s worth noting here that wide grip EZ bar curls tend to be a little more challenging as your wrists are at a more uncomfortable angle during the movement.

How To Target The Outer Head More

The outer head is the one that a lot of gym-goers spend a lot of time working on as this is the one that builds your bicep peak.

When doing EZ bar curls, having a narrower (or closer) grip on the bar will bring the outer head of your biceps into play more.

For close grip EZ bar curls, your hands should be positioned close to each other but they shouldn’t be touching.

This’ll be a very effective position for engaging the outer head.

What Other Muscles Do EZ Bar Curls Target?

EZ bar curls predominantly work your biceps.

However, they cause activation in other muscle groups too which can be beneficial for muscle-building and weight-loss programs.

As well as your biceps, EZ bar curls also target your forearms, shoulders, and core to varying degrees.

Your forearms not only act as stabilizing muscles throughout the exercise, but they also activate quite a lot when using a supinated (palms-up) grip.

Your shoulders shouldn’t activate too much in EZ bar curls but stabilization is required by the shoulders.

Core muscles are used to keep you upright and balanced while performing EZ bar curls.

Although your core muscles won’t get much of a workout, keeping you stable while moving a weighted bar puts them under a little bit of stress.

That’s all for this article, but how many EZ bar curl sets and reps should you do? Or perhaps you’re interested in cable curls vs EZ bar curls?

Hope this helped!


Biceps Anatomy