The EZ bar is a variation of the barbell, but the bar is curved near each end. The device is typically used for curls and is frequently referred to as an “EZ curl bar.” Although curls don’t focus on your chest, you can perform a few exercises with EZ bars that will work the pectoralis muscles and strengthen your chest.
The bench press is the classic chest-expanding exercise that’s typically performed with a barbell. You can do bench presses with an EZ bar the same way you would with a barbell, but you’ll hold the curl bar by the inner curves so your thumbs will be slightly closer to your body than your pinkies. Lie with your back on a flat bench, holding the EZ bar above your upper chest with your arms extended. Lower the bar slowly to your chest, then press the bar up to the starting position. Do alternate versions on an incline bench to target your upper pecs or a decline bench to focus on your lower chest.
Bent-Arm EZ-Bar Pullover
Most pullovers target the triceps, but you can use the EZ bar to shift some focus to your chest, as well as your back and shoulders. Lie face up on a bench and hold the bar by the inner curves. Flex your elbows a bit to assume the starting position. Extend the bar over your head, then increase your elbow flex to lower the bar toward the floor until you feel a stretch in your chest. Move the bar along the same path to return to the starting position.
The military press targets the anterior deltoids in the front of each shoulder, but also works your upper pectoral muscles. Hold the EZ bar with a wide grip, toward the outside of the bar’s curves. Stand erect with the bar in front of your upper chest, then press it straight up over your head. Lower the bar slowly back down to the starting position. You can also do the military press while seated or on your knees.
Consult your physician before you start a new exercise program, especially if you haven’t worked out for a while or you have any health issues. Warm up before your strength-training session with five to 10 minutes of light aerobic exercise, then dynamically stretch the muscles you’ll be working out. Do horizontal arm swings to stretch your chest. Do eight to 12 repetitions of your chosen exercises, using sufficient weight so your final reps are challenging. Stop performing EZ bar exercises if you feel pain. Use a spotter whenever you lift a weight above your body.
M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.