You can use the EZ curl bar to get a great workout for all the complex muscles in your shoulder. Target the front and side deltoids with overhead press, incline bench press, and overhand front raises. Activate the rear deltoids with bent over rows. Then, make sure to strengthen supporting muscles such as the trapezius, rhomboids, and serratus by incorporating upright rows, shrugs, and underhand front raises. Each of these exercises can be performed with the EZ curl bar and they all provide exceptional results.
Can You Get a Good Shoulder Workout with the EZ Curl Bar?
The EZ curl bar is a far more versatile piece of equipment than most athletes realize. When used for a shoulder workout, the EZ curl bar is suitable for several exercises that are traditionally reserved for dumbbells or a barbell.
- You can achieve a total shoulder workout with the EZ curl bar.
- The EZ curl bar can be used for almost all barbell-specific exercises.
- Some exercises traditionally performed with dumbbells can be performed with the EZ curl bar.
Remember, the shoulder is the most complex joint in the human body. When preparing for a shoulder workout, make sure to do an active warm-up prior to lifting weight. Then, slowly warm-up at low weight as you progress toward your working weight. This will help prevent injury and allow you to get the most out of your workout regimen.
7 Ultimate Shoulder Exercises Using the EZ Curl Bar
If you’re used to a full gym with cable machines, a rack of dumbbells, and battle ropes, you may be wondering if you can achieve a great shoulder workout with more minimalist equipment. The answer is, you can have a great shoulder workout using the EZ curl bar. With the following exercises, you can build strength, mass, muscle tone, or all of the above.
The overhead press, also known as the military press, is the bedrock of most shoulder workouts. The reason for this is that the overhead press does an incredible job of working your anterior and lateral deltoids. In layman’s terms, this exercise builds muscle in the front and sides of your shoulders. To do it using an EZ curl bar:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, back straight, and eyes forward.
- Grip the EZ curl bar at the point where it straightens at either end of the bar.
- Start with the EZ curl bar lightly touching your collarbones.
- Press the bar upward until your arms are extended but your shoulders are NOT locked.
- Keep your glutes tensed throughout the upward press.
- Lower the bar slowly back down to your collarbones.
The overhead press can be performed in either standing or sitting position. If you prefer a seated press, the same basics of form apply. Just keep your feet firmly planted on either side of your seat as you work.
Bent Over Row
Now that we’ve worked the front and side deltoid muscles in your shoulder, it’s time to focus on the posterior deltoid or rear of the shoulder. This muscle is often neglected, but it is essential to strong, healthy shoulders. The bent over row is a great exercise to target your rear delts. Here’s how it’s done:
- With the EZ curl bar on the ground, stand in front of the bar with your feet shoulder width apart.
- Squat down in front of the bar and grip with your hands slightly wider than your foot placement.
- Use a deadlift motion to lift the bar as you stand.
- Hinge forward at the hips and bend your knees slightly until your back is nearly parallel to the ground.
- Keep your arms extended with the bar held down in front of you.
- Pull the bar up until it touches your chest at the base of the sternum.
- As you pull, keep your shoulders tucked toward your sides. Do not allow them to flare outward.
- Focus on pulling your shoulder blades toward each other in the upward motion.
- After completing the pull motion, slowly lower the bar until your arms are extended.
It is essential to control the lowering motion of the bent over row because this exercise works your rear deltoids in both the concentric and eccentric (up and down) motions. Lowering the bar in a controlled manner doubles the benefit of the bent over row.
Underhand Front Raise
The traditional grip for the front raise is with the palms facing toward the ground, but we love reversing that grip for the underhand front raise because it does a better job of targeting shoulder-supporting muscle groups. In addition to working the front deltoids, the underhand front raise provides an incredible workout for the serratus anterior, which is the muscle just below your armpit. For this exercise:
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
- Keep your back straight and shoulders retracted.
- Grip the EZ curl bar slightly wider than shoulder width. Your palms should be facing outward while standing with the bar held down in front of you.
- Raise your arms while keeping them nearly straight. A slight bend in the elbow is allowable.
- Raise your arms until your hands are slightly above shoulder level. Your palms should be facing the ceiling at this point.
- Slowly lower your arms to the starting position.
This exercise is a secret weapon that targets crucial muscles that are seldom activated by traditional exercises. Incorporate it for increased shoulder stability and injury prevention.
Upright rows work better when performed with an EZ curl bar than with any other piece of equipment. For this reason, make sure to include them in your shoulder workout. The kinks in the EZ curl bar make for a comfortable grip during this exercise. This reduces the risk of injury and does a great job of activating several muscle groups. To perform this lift:
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Keep your back straight.
- Grip the EZ curl bar overhand, slightly wider than hip width.
- Pull the bar upward toward your chin, keeping the bar close to your chest.
- Raise the bar up until it is at the height of your upper chest.
- Lower the bar slowly to the starting position.
In addition to providing a workout for the front and side deltoid muscles, upright rows activate the trapezius muscles (muscles that run from the top of the shoulders to the sides of your neck) and rhomboid muscles (the muscles between your shoulder blades). Plus, this exercise is also great for your biceps.
Incline Bench Press
Although the bench press is primarily known as a chest exercise, the incline bench press targets the front deltoids as well as the upper portion of your pectorals. This makes the incline bench an excellent combo workout with an EZ curl bar to add to your routine for your chest and shoulders. For this exercise:
- Incline your bench so that it is at a 15–30-degree angle.
- Lay back on the bench with your feet firmly planted on the ground.
- Retract your shoulders.
- Grip the EZ curl bar where it straightens at either end.
- Start with the bar resting on your upper chest, just below the collarbones.
- Press the bar upward until your arms are extended.
- Slowly lower the bar back to the starting position.
As with all chest exercises for the EZ curl bar, make sure to prevent your elbows from flaring out. This will keep you free of injury and cause your chest and shoulders to work more effectively. This leads to a better workout and greater muscle development.
Overhand Front Raise
We’ve covered the underhand front raise but the overhand variety is a great exercise as well. It is an excellent way to target the front deltoids since this is the primary muscle used during this movement. To perform the overhand front raise properly:
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
- Grip the bar overhand. When the bar is hanging in front of you, your palms should be facing your thighs.
- Keep your arms straight while raising the bar outward in front of you.
- Raise the bar until your hands are slightly higher than your shoulders. Your palms should be facing the ground.
- Slowly lower the bar to the starting position.
If the front of your shoulders aren’t burning from the previous exercises on this list, the overhand front raise will make sure they are. It’s the ultimate way to build muscle in the front of your shoulders.
Shrugs focus on the trapezius muscles, which run along the tops of your shoulders and up the sides of your neck. By strengthening this muscle, you stabilize your shoulders and make other shoulder lifts easier. This in turn allows you to progress quickly and safely. To execute shrugs using an EZ curl bar:
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
- Keep your back straight and eyes forward.
- Hold the EZ curl in front of you with an overhand grip.
- Perform a shrugging motion, as if pulling your shoulders up toward your ears.
- Do not pull your head back or down as your shrug. Focus on moving the shoulders only.
- Hold the shrug position for 3 seconds at the top of the motion.
- Return to the starting position.
Shrugs may seem simple, but they provide a lot of benefits. By strengthening the trapezius, you can prevent neck pain and injury, as well as build a strong network of muscles surrounding your shoulder joint.
What are Good Shoulder Exercises With the EZ Curl Bar?
The EZ curl bar is versatile enough that several highly effective shoulder exercises can be performed with it. The best exercises for an EZ curl shoulder workout are:
- Overhead press
- Bent over rows
- Underhand front raises
- Upright rows
- Incline bench press
- Overhand front raises
With this arsenal of shoulder exercises, you can work all three heads of the main shoulder muscle—the deltoid. In addition, you will also build strength in several supporting muscles in the side, back, and neck. This leads to faster advancement in your workouts and helps keep you safe from injury.