How to Do Curl Bar Squats and Why You Would Want To

If you already have an EZ curl bar and are wondering what you can do with it other than blasting your arms, this article is for you. Here, I will be briefing you on popular squat variations that you can do with the zig-zagged bar, which is also known as the tricep bar. I will also be briefing you about the issues that you may face while using an EZ curl bar for squats

For your safety and comfort, you may want to use a half rack or squat cage for EZ curl bar squats and benching exercises. In case you don’t have any, I have already selected some of the best squat racks and best half racks for you. 

📖 Related Article: EZ curl bars are great for biceps and triceps but not for forearms. If you want to strengthen your forearms, you should buy a forearm wrist roller. I have already created a list of Best Forearm Wrist Rollers

To begin with, here is what you need to know about ez curl bar squats. 

You may not be able to place it on your neck and perform standard squats 

Rogue rackable squat bar

Look at the above image of the Rogue EZ curl bar. Due to multiple angles and bends, it is quite uncomfortable to place it on the back of your neck and perform squats as you would do using a straight bar. So, you will have to be creative and choose squat forms that require you to hold the barbell in your hand. I will be explaining these forms below. 

Curl bars have short sleeves so you can’t load them with too many plates 

Just in case you don’t know, curl bars are of two types; short bars and rackable bars. 

The short curl bars are about 4’ long and weigh less than 20lbs. They are not meant to hold too much weight. The rackable ones are longer, measuring 6’ in length and weighing about 35 lbs. They can hold some more weight than the short ones but not as much as you can load on a straight barbell. That's because curl bars are meant for bicep and tricep workouts and you don’t really use too much weight for that. 

If you are a newbie, a curl bar can be more than enough for you but if you are already lifting a decent amount of weight, you may have to stick to straight bar squats so you can train with as much weight as you want. 

📖 Related Article: If you're enjoying this article you may want to also check out an informational article on types of curl bars and how much they weigh

Rackable versus non-rackable curl bar 

As I mentioned above, curl bars that are just 4’ long can’t be racked. They are good for bicep curls but I always recommend the rackable ones even though they are about two feet longer and heavier than their brothers. That’s because you can use them with a squat rack/ half rack and trust the spotter arms and safeties to hold them in case you miss a rep. Plus, it is much easier to add plates on rackable curl bars. 

It is easier to pick a loaded bar from a rack than from the floor, so that's another reason why I recommend rackable squat bars

💡 Quick Tip: Already have a short curl bar? You can use BRTGYM barbell jack to load/unload your plates easily.

BRTGYM barbell jack

Are ez curl bar squats safe?

Yes, they are!

They may not be comfortable but they are safe, provided you do not go rough with them. Rather, a lot of trainers have stated that due to its short length, it is easier to train with an EZ curl bar than with a straight barbell. 

Due to their smaller length, you will get a narrower grip for squats. This might be a problem if you have balance issues, so go slow initially. 

Best squat variations that you can do with EZ curl bar 

Front squats 

front squat

This squat variation requires you to hold the barbell with a closer grip than the back squat. Plus, front squats are meant to be done with lower weights and that's why it is one of the best squat exercises that you can do with a curl bar

Zercher squats 

zercher squats

Do not attempt this squat variation unless you have tried the front squats a couple of times because it requires more core strength and stability. Plus, go light with weights, or else you may end up compromising your form. 

As you can guess from the GIF above, Zercher squats are easier to be done with a short ez curl bar than with a full-size Olympic barbell. 

Overhead squat 

overhead squat

This is one of the best posture correction exercises. It does require a lot of strength and stability, so maybe you would want to start only with the curl bar and then you can start adding weights when you feel confident. You don’t necessarily have to go for a wide grip. Curl bars have multiple grip positions, so you can adjust your grip as per your comfort. 

Front Box squats

box squat using curl bar

Box squats are an excellent squat variation for people suffering from mobility issues and those who do not have enough ankle flexibility to go for a standard squat. Traditionally, it is done by keeping the barbell on the back of your neck but you can hold it in the front for front box squats, just as you can see in the GIF above. 

For more detailed tips, you can read my ultimate box squat guide. 

Split squat 

It is a really challenging workout and best done with a short bar rather than a full-size bar due to the risk of losing your balance. The process is the same as you can see in the GIF above. Just that you will be holding a barbell instead of dumbbells. You can hold the bar close to your chest just the way you do in front squats, in the overhead position, or zercher squat position.

📖 Related Article: For split squats and front box squats, you will need a workout bench. I have already selected some of the Best flat benches for home gym

Wrap up: 

I hope this article helps you use your EZ curl bar in more ways than you may have known. I have described just a few squat variations and I am sure there are many more. 

Would you like to help me expand the list? If yes, then please leave a comment or email me with your ideas. 

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