Curl bars are an equipment staple of any bicep building training program. There are two bicep heads, the short head and the long head, and effectively targeting both is what will make the sleeves on your shirts fear for their seams. 

Curl bars range from cable machine attachments to barbells that support free weights. Some curl bars are straight while others come in a squiggle shape reminiscent of a slightly heightened sound wave. So let’s tune in and find the best curl bar for you.

best curl bars

Editor’s Pick

For advanced athletes.

Pros:

  • Ergonomic bar shape can allow for a larger variety of grips.
  • Can be used for tricep, shoulder, and back movements as well as biceps.
  • On the less expensive end of the market.

Cons:

  • Weight plates not included.
  • Barbell collars may have sharp metal threads.
  • May not be suitable for inexperienced lifters.
Marcy Triceps and Biceps Combo Curl Bar
Marcy Triceps and Biceps Combo Curl Bar
Marcy Triceps and Biceps Combo Curl Bar

Made from high quality steel with a chrome finish, this ergonomically shaped curl bar is compatible with standard sized weight plates on its deep threaded posts. It measures 4 feet in length and includes a pair of spinlock barbell collars.

Contender

For accessory training.

Pros:

  • Coated in anti-rust paint to provide better durability.
  • The barbell is angled to allow for a more comfortable alignment for wrists.
  • Can be broken down into three smaller bars to make for easier storage.

Cons:

  • The weight plates can sustain dents if dropped.
  • Half of the barbell might wiggle during exercise if not properly twisted to the center piece.
  • On the more expensive end of the market.
YAHEETECH Olympic Barbell Weight Set
YAHEETECH Olympic Barbell Weight Set
YAHEETECH Olympic Barbell Weight Set

This curl bar includes a plate set that provides up to 55lb of weight and includes a pair of collars. The W shaped barbell is made of iron, is just shy of 47 inches in length, and includes knurling to provide a steadier grip. 

Best Cable Attachments

Heavy duty knurling.

Pros:

  • The rotating joint has a lubrication hole to prevent squeaking and rust over the long term.
  • Fitted rubber caps on the ends help ensure safety when lifting.
  • Fairly affordable compared to competitors.

Cons:

  • Knurled grip might be somewhat uncomfortable for lifters who prefer a covered or padded grip.
Garage Fit Revolving Curl Bar
Garage Fit Revolving Curl Bar
Garage Fit Revolving Curl Bar

This heavy duty 6lb chrome cable attachment curl bar with smooth rotating joint and mildly knurled grip. At 26 inches, the price is in the right range and the bends in the bar are aimed at relieving pressure on the wrists so that more weight can be curled. Great for isometric movement to help focus on each bicep head for overall balance.

Contender for Cable Attachments

To target each bicep head.

Pros:

  • Rubber grips positioned for both wide and narrow curls and have a knurled pattern to mimic the feel of the steel.
  • Protective chrome finish may prove better durability in the long term.

Cons:

  • The grips may wear from a consistent combination of pressure and sweat.
CAP Barbell Deluxe Curl Bar
CAP Barbell Deluxe Curl Bar
CAP Barbell Deluxe Curl Bar

This curl bar is a chrome finished 28 and ½ inch cable attachment with rubber handgrips and a protected finish to prevent oxidation. The grips are positioned such that each bicep head can be more acutely targeted during isometric workouts. It has a comparable price to its closest competitors.

Best Free Weight Curl Bar

Multiple grip training.

Pros:

  • The curvature of the bar allows for a variety of grips both pronated and supinated.
  • There are weight sets from 45lbs to 115lbs available for purchase along with the curl bar.

Cons:

  • On the more expensive end of the market.
  • May be prone to rust if not oiled with WD-40 or something similar.
XMark Texas Star XM-3670 Olympic EZ Curl Bar
XMark Texas Star XM-3670 Olympic EZ Curl Bar
XMark Texas Star XM-3670 Olympic EZ Curl Bar

This curl bar has a black manganese phosphate shaft with alternating hand grips and weighs 22lbs. The bar measures 48 inches and has chrome sleeves on each end that can support a total of 400lbs. 

Methodology

Length

The length of a curl bar is important for both comfort and balance, both of which can have influence over how difficult it is to maintain proper form. A larger athlete may not be able to use a more narrow bar comfortably, the same being true for smaller athletes and larger bars. Ideally, the curl bar grip should sit comfortably in the athlete’s grip if the athletes arms are bent at ninety degrees with elbows aligned with the torso.  

Shaft Curvature

This might be the biggest differentiation between curl bars. There isn’t a standard per se, but beyond straight curl bars, some curl bars will have a slight curve to their shafts to ease the torque on the wrist during a lift. More advanced bars can have a lot of curves to enable different exercises beyond just bicep curls.

Grip

More often than not, curl bars will either have a rubber or plastic grip on the bar or they won’t. Lifters who prefer an easier grip on their palms will likely lean toward curl bars with grips. Those who prefer the knurling on the bar for their grip will avoid grips altogether. Some bars will have multiple sets of grips covering the bar, which could be beneficial to newer lifters to show them where to place their hands.

Wrapping Up

No matter the kind of shaft curvature or grip you prefer, adding a curl bar is a way to effectively build up biceps. Just remember that along with the right equipment, the most effective way to get stronger and increase the size of your biceps is correct form and proper isolation.