Curling exercises are fantastic for building size and strength in your biceps.
Whether you’re looking to increase your bicep peak or make your arms wider, there’ll be a curling exercise that fits your needs.
Two examples of curling exercises are EZ bar curls and dumbbell curls.
These two arm-building exercises have some things in common, but they also have some key differences which can lead you to favor one over the other.
In this article, we compare EZ bar curls and dumbbell curls in terms of the muscles they work, their difficulty level, ease of access, and variability.
At the end of our comparison, you should have a much better idea of which of these two exercises is better for you.
What’s The Difference Between EZ Bar Curls And Dumbbell Curls?
As their names suggest, the main difference between EZ bar curls and dumbbell curls is the equipment you use to perform each one.
EZ bar curls are done with a weighted EZ bar while dumbbell curls use appropriately weighted dumbbells.
While the movement in both exercises may be quite similar, the equipment used looks very different.
Which Is Better For Building Biceps?
While both EZ bar curls and dumbbell curls are performed as part of a bicep-building program, EZ bar curls are a bit better at building your biceps.
This is mainly because EZ bars are designed to reduce the stress placed upon your wrists, elbows, and stabilizing muscles.
As less stress is placed on these, your biceps are able to work harder in a safe, controlled way.
Which Is Better For Building Forearms?
Dumbbell curls are a great exercise for working multiple muscles in your arms with one movement.
Although your forearms are used as stabilizing muscles (so aren’t the primary muscles being worked), dumbbell curls place more stress on them than EZ bar curls.
It’s worth bearing in mind though that neither of these exercises primarily work to build your forearms, but dumbbell curls can certainly help as part of an all-round arm-building program.
EZ Bar Curls
EZ bar curls have a low difficulty level.
The movement is a basic one coming from flexion of the elbow, and the way EZ bars have been designed means that less stress is placed on your wrists, elbows, and stabilizing muscles.
All of these things make EZ bar curls a relatively simple exercise to perform correctly.
Dumbbell curls are a common feature in beginner gym programs as they also have a low level of difficulty.
As your wrists and forearms are able to rotate and move with the dumbbells, it can be quite a comfortable exercise that helps build your arm size and strength.
EZ bar curls and dumbbell curls are both suitable for all levels of experience from beginner up to advanced.
The techniques for both are fairly simple to master and the movement required for each one is straightforward for most people.
Ease of Access
EZ Bar Curls
EZ bars are pretty common in most gyms nowadays.
As you only need an EZ bar and some weight plates to do the exercise, they have great ease of access.
The only issue you could potentially have with EZ bar curls is that your gym might not have many EZ bars available for you to use.
If they only have one or two, you might have to wait for one to become available before you can do EZ bar curls.
Gyms tend to have a wide range of dumbbells that can be used for dumbbell curls.
Dumbbells can start from as light as a few pounds all the way up to some pretty monstrous weights.
It’s this wide range of weights though that makes dumbbell curls so easy to access.
Dumbbells are easily accessed for home gyms too, so you’ll likely be able to do dumbbell curls as part of your workouts whether you train in a gym or at home.
While both EZ bar curls and dumbbells have good ease of access, dumbbells tend to offer a bit more accessibility. Purely because there are usually a lot more of them in gym environments.
Even if the exact dumbbells you need aren’t available, you can usually find ones close to the weight you’re looking for.
This gives dumbbells slightly better ease of access over EZ bar curls.
EZ Bar Curls
EZ bar curls are designed to give you plenty of options when it comes to variability.
Your grip on the bar can be moved to be wider or narrower which will change the bicep head being targeted.
You could also change from a palms-up grip to a palms-down grip which can bring additional muscles into the exercise too.
Dumbbell curls are one of the most versatile exercises out there.
You have the option of changing your grip to a palms-down grip or even to a neutral grip. where your palms are facing your body for hammer curls.
Rather than being forced to work each arm simultaneously, you also have the option of performing alternating dumbbell curls where one arm is worked at a time.
This can help make sure your technique is correct and each arm is worked equally.
While EZ bar curls offer quite a few variations, dumbbell curls have greater variability.
You can do multiple variations of dumbbell curls that can help work your biceps in different ways, and can bring other muscles into the movement too.
Both exercises are versatile, but dumbbell curls are a little more so than EZ bar curls.
EZ Bar Curls vs Dumbbell Curls: Which Is Better?
Whether you add EZ bar curls or dumbbell curls into your arm workouts, you will find both to be beneficial.
EZ bar curls are slightly better at putting more focus on your biceps, while dumbbell curls offer a little more variability.
Apart from these two points, both have very similar pros and cons.
Ultimately, there’ll probably be one that you prefer more than the other, and that could end up being the biggest deciding factor as to which one is better for you.
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.