When it comes time to start setting up your home gym, an essential piece of equipment is going to be the curl bar, also known as barbell.
A curl bar is a long bar that allows for weights to be placed and secured on either end. There is a plethora of exercises that can be completed with a curl bar and they are common fixtures in bodybuilding, weightlifting, weight training, and powerlifting.
There are several types of curl bars out there, so finding the best curl bar for your workout can be challenging. If you get a bar that is too big or doesn’t allow for the weight plates you need to complete your exercises, you aren’t going to benefit from having one.
Before purchasing one, check out these 10 reviews of the best curl bars on the market.
Table of Contents
- Comparing Curl Bar Models
- How To Buy The Right Curl Bar
- 10 Best Curl Bars Reviewed
- Recommended Curl Bar Exercises
- People Also Ask (FAQs)
Comparing Curl Bar Models
How To Buy The Right Curl Bar
A curl bar can only hold so much weight, so one of the first things you should consider before buying is the bar's weight capacity. It's best to go above and beyond and try to find one with a weight capacity that is a good 50% above your current level of strength. This gives you room to grow and improve.
Knurling is the word used to describe the textured pattern on the grip area of your bars. It's where the metal is arranged in a diamond pattern to enhance your grip. Knurling can be either light, moderate, or aggressive.
A moderate or light knurling is best for beginners since calluses have yet to develop, and an aggressive knurl can be too, well, aggressive.
The angles of the "curls" can vary from bar to bar. Some bars have sharper angles, while others have ones that are less pronounced. If you want something that feels somewhat similar to a straight bar, then you'll want to choose a curl bar that has milder angles.
However, if you know that you'll be using this bar strictly for working out the biceps and triceps, than aggressive angles have a lot of benefits.
The base of your curl bar will be made from solid steel, but some bar manufacturers go a step further by adding an ultra-durable protective coating or finish. This coating protects against corrosion and damage, but it can also improve the bar's aesthetics and overall grip.
Bar Length & Weight
The standard bar is around 48" long, but some bars measure slightly shorter or longer than this. If you have shorter arms or a smaller grip, then a 46" bar might be a better choice for you (plus, it will save space).
Bar weight is another important thing to consider. Some curl bars weigh around 10 pounds, while others can weigh as much as 25. If you're a beginner, then you'll definitely want to start out with a lighter bar.
10 Best Curl Bars Reviewed
1. XMark Fitness XM-3675
- The CHISEL, XMark's top of the line Olympic...
- The black manganese phosphate coating on the...
- With sleek curves the XMark CHISEL places...
- Features a no maintenance snap ring lock...
This curl bar from XMark is our favorite model as combines intelligent design and superior performance for gym goers. It weighs 22 pounds which is a heavier than other average barbells with a similar design. This heavier weight means that the build quality is higher than other models on our list.
Olympic plates can be slid over the 2-inch sleeves on the ends and these ends rotate so that the plates won’t turn the bar during a workout.
The knurling is sufficient to give enough grip without causing pain or discomfort to your hands. The main negative we found when using this curl bar was that the center part of the curl bar doesn’t have any knurling, leaving it a bit slippery, so it may not be as effective for exercises that require a narrower grip.
The finish comes in a chrome or black option. One downside to the finish is that it seems as though it wears away fairly easily, but according to other peoples reviews, the black stays on a bit better than the chrome.
2. Body Solid OB47B
- RUGGED This champion Olympic weight curling...
- QUALITY CONSTRUCTION The bio mechanically...
- CAPACITY Bar weighs 17 pounds and has a 300...
- DIMENSIONS The Body Solid Olympic weight...
The Body Solid OB47B comes in 2 finish options, black and chrome. This bar has subtle angles, but it’s still comfortable and easy to use.
When we tested this bar in our garage gym, our experience was overall positive. The knurling is satisfactory to complete various exercises without having any problems and it holds the 2-inch Olympic weight plates.
There have been some customers that have reported the spring collars are missing when their packaging arrives. Other users have stated that the black version of this bar isn’t the best curl bar because it starts to rust quickly.
This model is higher priced than our #1 choice but we believe both are quality choices depending on your budget. Body Solid also has several other models available so comparing the differences between those will help you find the best pick for your lifting needs.
3. Marcy Bar SCB-248
- CHROME-PLATED CONSTRUCTION –Built for...
- COMPATIBLE WITH STANDARD PLATES – Built to...
- VERSATILE CURVED BAR – Training with the...
- KNURLED GRIPS – This premium curl bar has...
If muscle isolation is what you’re looking for in the best curl bar, that’s what you’re going to find with the Marcy SCB-248. This barbell has some of the most dramatic angles of all bars of this type.
To counteract these curves, the spins lock on to keep weights in place and is necessary for a model that is designed this way. Shipping weight is about 12 pounds, so the weight of the bar is close to that. It holds standard 1-inch plates and is made of solid steel.
There isn’t much flex that occurs even under hefty weight loads. The knurling is nice, but it’s only in one area restricting the variety of exercises that can be done with this piece of equipment. If you want a higher quality curl bar with more training options then look at either of our top 2 choices.
Overall, this is a good curl bar for those who don't use this pieces of equipment regularly. It is cheaper and lighter than many other models on our list but you will reduce quality because of that.
4. Cap Barbell Standard Super
The Cap Barbell Standard Super is another one of the bars on the market with a unique set of angles to provide for various grips. You can use it overhand, underhand, or at a variety of other positions to complete the workouts you are looking to for specific muscle group targeting.
The steel collars are threaded for safety and security. Despite looking as if it may be less reliable that our top products, this CAP barbell is a solid choice for home gyms.
It is a bar that allows for tricep extensions to be done with it as well, while most other bars don’t have that capability. The bar weighs 13 pounds alone which means its on the lighter ends of our top 10 list.
When compared with the similar Marcy bar model above, this brand offers a higher level of quality and design but comes with a higher price.
5. Troy Barbell Toz-47B
The Troy Barbell Olympic has been built to withstand use in a professional gym. It is made of high-quality materials that give it a premium appearance and comes in an all black finish. It is available in two different lengths including the standard 47-inch or a longer 5-foot version.
The knurling is deep and diamond in shape for a quality grip. The bar itself weighs around 18 pounds before adding any weights to it. I used this model in my local gym for years, finding that the sleeves rotate nicely so there is no irritating squeak from spinning weight plates during a workout routine.
I really like this model despite some negative reviews but it can be difficult to find online as it tends to be out of stock more often than not.
6. Valor Fitness MB–47
- HEAVY DUTY- EZ curl bar constructed from...
- EZ CURL BAR DESIGN- Ergonomic, curved shape...
- BICEP BLASTER- Use this Olympic curl bar to...
- ADDITIONAL- Has a standard 28mm grip like...
This is the best curl bar for serious weightlifters. The bar is constructed from 12-gauge solid steel with a chrome finish for a sleek look while also staying strong and durable. It can hold up to 250 pounds, so it's great for heavy lifters.
It is 25 pounds all by itself, making it one of the heaviest curl bars on the market. That can be a pro or a con, depending on your individual preference for a bar. Each of the sleeves is long which allows for maximum Olympic-sized 2-inch weights to be added to each side for the lifting workout.
7. Marcy Solid Weight Bar SOC-49
- HIGH-QUALITY DESIGN – This curl bar is made...
- CHROME-PLATED FINISH – The chrome-plated...
- DESIGNED TO DEVELOP ARM MUSCLES – This curl...
- TWO WEIGHT PLATE COLLARS – This set...
One of the best curl bars on the market offered at an affordable price is the Marcy Solid Weight Bar SOC-49. It’s made from solid steel and a chrome exterior making it resistant to rust. The bar holds the Olympic-sized 2-inch weights.
This bar seems to be curved at the proper angles to keep your body protected and comfortable during use. This set includes two weight plate collars that help to secure the weight plates on the bar so that you can safely perform a variety of intense workouts.
8. Champion Barbell CHSBCURL
The Champion Barbell is one of the more affordable options when it comes to adding the best curl bar to your home gym. It has angles that seem to be a bit mellower than other products like it. If you’re looking for that kind of a bend, it’s one to consider.
The knurling provides a grip that is solid, but it doesn’t run all the way across the bar. It makes it somewhat ineffective to use for narrow grip exercises. The bar weighs 10.7 pounds on its own making it one of the lighter bars out there.
You can use a load of up to 160 pounds of plates of regular size. The entire curl bar is made from a solid piece of steel so it reduces the amount sounds that come from it during the workout. The finish is chrome making look nice in the gym.
9. CAP Barbell RBB-47T
- ✔SPECS – 47.25inch x 2.6inch x 2.4inch;...
- ✔CONSTRUCTION – Made with solid chromed...
- ✔FEATURES – Collars are included. Isolate...
- ✔TRUST – Trust experience. CAP has been a...
The CAP Barbell Standard is an EZ-style curl bar that holds 1-inch plates. The weight of the bar alone is around 10 pounds, but the manufacturer never supplied that information.
The collars spin and screw on the sides of the bar to hold the plates in place. The bend isn’t as remarkable as the bends in some other barbells of this type, but there is still enough there for protection.
This bar is helpful for both narrow and wide grips, and the knurling goes over most of the bar’s surface.
The quality doesn’t appear to be all that premium, and the chrome coating tends to start chipping away reasonably quickly with the screwing and unscrewing of the collars.
10. Titan Fitness EZ Curl
- HELPS BUILD MUSCLE DEFINITION: Are you...
- MAKES CURLS EASIER: This curved bar makes...
- KNURLED TEXTURE: Working out means working up...
- GREAT FOR HOME GYMS: Use this barbell in...
When on your search for the best curl bar, the Titan 47” is one that you should check. It is a bit longer than other curl bars, and it holds Olympic-sized plates. This is nice for taller athletes and those that want to do close grip bench presses or upright rows as part of their workouts.
The coating is quality, and the sleeves are securely attached giving it a premium quality appearance and feel. The knurling travels across the bar as well as deep into it and provides a firm grip. Big plates tend to spin around during exercise, and the rotating plates on this bar allow for extra comfort when that starts happening.
The sharp angles on the bar provide for a different kind of a grip as well. The sleeves can get slippery so a set of collars might be necessary. There are no spring collars included with this curl bar.
Recommended Curl Bar Exercises
Whether you are an experienced weight lifter or one just starting out on your workout journey, you have to know what to do with your curl bar before putting it to work. You shouldn’t just start lifting weights without first learning proper form for each exercise.
Before beginning your workout regimen, check out the best curl bar exercises to complete at home:
With drop sets, you start by loading up your curl bar with the maximum amount of weight you can lift without sacrificing your form. Ideally, you should be using small plates that are about 5 pounds each to complete this exercise. You start with that weight and do as many curl reps as possible without cheating on form.
Then, set the bar down and take a plate off from each side. Don’t rest and pick the bar back up and do another set of reps until you can’t do another one without sacrificing form. Set the bar down again and take off another weight, repeating the process once again. Continue doing this until your last set is just you lifting the bar with no weight added.
When you think of using a curl bar, it's often associated with bicep curls. That means that the reverse curl often gets pushed aside and forgotten. But to get a completely toned arm, the forearm should be sculpted with a reverse curl.
Hold on to the bar on the first set of angled grips with palms facing down in a reverse grip. Keep your elbows at your sides and pull your hands up towards your biceps. If you feel any discomfort, be sure that your elbows aren’t coming too far out to the side. You can also reduce the weight if pain occurs.
This might sound a bit intimidating at first, and to be honest, it should be. This exercise consists of doing 100 reps of the movement explained below. It’s only recommended to do this once a month to put some real strain on your muscles and shock them a bit.
Use around 40% of the weight you usually would to complete an exercise that requires 8 reps. For your first set, you are going to do 50 bar curls. Count them off as 5 sets of 10. Then rest for two minutes. The second time do 30 reps and rest for two minutes, then finish with the final 20 reps.
Three different movements allow for a complete bicep workout while doing 21’s. They have been proven to be one of the fastest techniques for building mass in that muscle area. Using 75% of the weights you normally would for an 8 rep exercise, load up your best curl bar.
Do 7 reps curling from the bottom about halfway up to where your arms are parallel to the ground. On the 8th rep, go all the way up then come down just halfway. Go through another 7 reps in this fashion. On the 15th rep, do a complete top to bottom curl and finish out the last of the 21 in that same way.
Upright row exercises work your traps. Just grab the bar in a narrow overhand grip position. Stand with your spine in a neutral position with your shoulders back. Pull the weight up and towards your ears. Hold the traps and release. Repeat until you can no longer do a rep without cheating on form.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
What are the benefits of using curl bars?
Curl bars come with a lot of benefits, but one of the biggest is the ease of use. Thanks to the defined gripping area, curl bars have angles that allow you to maintain a more natural wrist angle when flexing and extending your arms during movements.
Is a curl bar better than a straight bar?
It really depends on the exercises you'll be doing. For movements like curls and tricep extensions, curls bars are usually more comfortable because they allow you to hold a more natural grip and wrist position. But for movements like squats, bench presses, and deadlifts, a straight bar is ideal; a curl bar can challenge your ability to maintain quick hand positions.
How long is a curl bar?
The standard size for curl bars is 4' (48"), but sizes vary. If you prefer a shorter bar, it's possible to find one that measures 46", but you won't find many less than this.
What muscles does a curl bar target?
Curl bars are mainly used for working the biceps and triceps, but there are a variety of different workouts that can be done. There are plenty of total body curl bar workouts and lots of options for curl bar exercises. With the right knowledge, a curl bar can target every muscle group.
Let's do a quick recap on how to choose the best curl bar for your home gym. There are a variety of factors that you need to take into consideration before purchasing one.
First of all, you have to know what kinds of exercises you plan to do with your curl bar since not all bars are suitable for all exercises.
Secondly, take into the quality of the bar. If you aren’t worried about the appearance of the bar itself or how well the finish holds up, you can easily purchase one that’s less expensive that will still get the job done. Also, consider what kinds of weights you plan to put on your bar. Some of them hold the standard 1-inch plates while others carry a 2-inch Olympic plate.
The best curl bar for your workouts in your home gym is out there. Take the time to go over these 10 options that I have been reviewed before coming to your final decision.
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