Curling exercises are awesome for building bulky biceps.
Whether you’re looking to add thickness to biceps, or increase your bicep peak, there’ll be a curling exercise that meets your needs.
Two popular curling exercises are EZ bar curls and cable curls.
If you’re not sure which one to add to your workout, then fear not!
Because in this article, we compare these exercises based on:
- Which is better for building biceps
- Which is better for building forearms
Let’s get started.
What’s The Difference Between EZ Bar Curls And Cable Curls?
As their names suggest, EZ bar curls are performed with an EZ bar, whereas cable curls are performed with a cable pulley attached to handles.
EZ bar curls are done with free weights, while cable curls are a machine based exercise.
The technique in both exercises is very similar, however, the equipment used is very different.
EZ Bar Curls vs Cable Curls: For Biceps
While both EZ bars curls and cable curls are great bicep builders, EZ bar curls just get the nod.
This is because with cable curls, there’s resistance throughout the whole movement. As a result, you’ll have to reduce the weight to keep your form correct.
Less weight means you won’t be able to overload your bicep muscles as much.
Also, EZ bar curls place less stress on your wrists and elbows meaning you can increase the weight while minimising the risk of injury.
More weight means more gains (assuming your form is correct).
EZ Bar Curls vs Cable Curls: For Forearms
In both EZ bar curls and cable curls, your forearms are used as stabilizing muscles.
This means that they’re not being worked very hard and are used to help assist the movement.
So if you’re wanting to build bulky forearms, neither exercise will be sufficient on its own.
That said, EZ bar curls work your forearms more than cable curls do.
EZ Bar Curls
EZ bar curls are relatively straightforward to execute.
The movement involves flexing your elbows, and EZ bars are designed to place less stress on your wrists and elbows.
All these factors make EZ bar curls a simple exercise to perform with little issues.
With cable curls, the weight you’re lifting is fixed to a cable station which means that less stabilisation is needed.
This makes them a great exercise for beginners as it’s hard to use bad form.
That said, the fact that your biceps are under tension throughout the whole exercise can make them slightly challenging.
Both EZ bar curls and cable curls are simple to execute.
I’ve got to give this one a draw, as cable curls place your biceps under constant tension, while EZ bar curls require other muscles to stabilise the movement.
Ease of Access
EZ Bar Curls
Most gyms have EZ bars nowadays.
Since you only need an EZ bar and some weight plates to do the exercise, EZ bar curls are super accessible.
EZ bars aren’t as popular as other gym equipment though, so if your gym only has one and it’s in use, you may have to wait for it to become available.
Most well-equipped gyms will have cable stations required to perform cable curls.
However, they’re expensive pieces of kit. So if you’re someone who prefers working out at home, you may not have easy access to a cable station.
I’d argue that EZ bars are more common in gyms than cable stations.
(Not that I have the data… Just purely from observation.)
Cable stations are much more expensive than EZ bars too, so if you’re working out from home, then EZ bars are a lot more accessible.
EZ bar curls definitely win this one!
EZ Bar Curls
EZ bar curls have been designed to give you different options when it comes to use.
For example, you can change the width of your grip which changes the bicep head that EZ bar curls work.
If you want to focus on building the width of your biceps, you should use a wide grip.
Whereas if you want to build your bicep peak, you should use a narrow grip.
You could also change to a palms-down grip (AKA reverse EZ bar curls) which targets your forearms more.
Cable curls are naturally limited given they can only be performed on a cable station.
That said, you can vary the attachments quite heavily.
For example, ropes, straight bars and single-arm attachments are just a few different bits of kit you can use.
Both EZ bar curls and cable curls are quite variable but in different ways.
You can use many different grips with EZ bar curls, whereas you can use different attachments for cable curls.
EZ Bar Curls vs Cable Curls: Which Is Better?
Based on all the above factors, I’d personally argue that EZ bar curls are a better exercise than cable curls.
Let me be clear though…
I’m not discounting the effectiveness of cable curls by any means.
Both these exercises are great additions to any bicep workout.
But if you’re wanting a more accessible exercise that overloads your biceps better, then EZ bar curls are the one for you.
Hope this helped!
I’ve been in the fitness and strength training industry for nearly a decade. In that time, I’ve gained 30 pounds of muscle, written hundreds of articles, and reviewed dozens of fitness supplements. As for my educational background, I’m a currently studying for my Active IQ Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training.