It’s not just for curls. Use the EZ-bar for classic leg exercises and set fire to your quads, hams, and glutes. Here’s how.
Every gym has an EZ-curl bar, and it’s not just for arm day. It’s actually a great tool for lower-body training. It’s also a good option for home lifters who don’t have a squat rack.
Due to the unique shape of the bar, two positions work well: the front rack or front squat position, and the Zercher. So let’s review these positions, how to get the bar in place, and four cool exercises to try out.
Holding the EZ-bar in a California-style front rack (arms crossed) is as comfortable as it gets. Many struggle with the standard front rack because of mobility restrictions and jacked-up shoulders. The shape of the EZ-bar sits nicely on the shoulders, while the California grip adds to the comfort.
The narrow width of the bar also makes it less awkward for beginners, as well as for times when the squat rack is taken up or space is limited.
Benefits of the front rack include a more upright torso, a forward load distribution, greater quadriceps dominance, and solid trunk development.
The shape of the bar fits nicely in the crooks of the elbows, and a little padding increases the comfort of this sometimes-awkward setup.
That anterior load will fire up nearly every muscle in your body. It’s a good position to use if you’re limited on workout time, and it’s great for those involved in MMA and tactical strength and conditioning. In the Zercher position, you can squat, lunge, split squat, hip hinge, and do step-ups and loaded carries.
How Do You Get It Up?
The front rack position is easy. For the Zercher, however, you might want to use some elbow or knee sleeves, a towel, or Fat Gripz for added padding. If there’s respectable weight on the bar, it can be awkward to pick the bar up and get it into position. You have four options:
- Sit the bar on a gym bench and load it there. Take it from a kneeling or half-kneeling position.
- Use free-moving (independent) squat stands. This is the best option for bigger weights.
- Load the bar while it sits on a preacher bench and take it from there.
- Set the Zercher position off the floor. You’re also welcome to pick it up like a gorilla if your body allows you to.
Make sure to watch the video above to get a good idea of how these are supposed to look.
You’ll feel this one deeply in the glutes and hams. The staggered stance nails one side at a time HARD. The addition of the Zercher hold lights up your upper back, traps, and arms. Keep your toes pointed in the same direction. Don’t step too far forward with the front foot. It’s a stagger, not a full step. Keep your spine neutral.
Why is the front squat a classic lift but not a front-racked lunge? Lunging in this position is a thing and deserves more attention. Doing it in reverse from a step comes with the added benefits of hitting the quads while sparing the knees.
And you don’t have to have a barbell to do it. This version is great for both beginners and advanced. Start with just the EZ-bar to get a feel for it, then load it up with more weight. Do all your reps on one leg before switching to the other.
For this one, step forward with the EZ bar in the crook of your elbows. You can alternate legs, as you see in the video, or hit your reps on one leg, then move to the other.
Notice the upright torso. When you lunge forward, don’t let the weight in your arms pull you down. Holding this position is what challenges and builds your upper body while you train your legs.
Unlike the lunge variations above, for this one, keep your feet in the same place and move your body up and down the way you would for a squat. Hence the title: split squat. Feel free to add a pad for your knee to tap at the bottom.
Bonus Tip: Step-ups and loaded carries also work great with an EZ-bar in either the Zercher or front-rack position.
Make any workout work better. Fuel it.
T Nation earns from qualifying purchases as an Amazon Associate. Read more about our policy.