Straight Bar Vs Curl Bar: Which is Better

Straight and Curl Bars are some of the most popular exercise equipment. Some of the core differences between a straight bar and curl bar are in their shape, weight and the hand positioning you apply when using them for various workouts. 

Sometimes these bars can be used indifferently, which is helpful if the specific bar you want to use is not available; however, there are several things to examine when using the bars as alternates for each other. Let's get started!

What They Weigh

Straight and curl bars are available in various weights. It is essential to identify how much weight you are lifting in reality. The total bar weight is added to the total plate weights you have fitted on the bar.

Normally, a straight bar weighs 45 pounds, but there are smaller versions available that weigh 35 lbs. On the other hand, a curl bar weighs 25 to 30 pounds. The inconsistency in weight is primarily because of the length of the curl bar that is smaller than the straight bar.

Difference in Shape

As its name indicates, the straight bar is a straight-shaped cylindrical rod. There are two attached cylindrical and straight rods on each end of the barbell. In this area of barbell, weight plates are added to increase the resistance. On the other side, the curl bar has a cambered "W" shape and is smaller in size. On both ends of the curl bar, there are straight rods where the weight plates are put on to increase resistance.

Hand Positioning Options

The reason for the difference in the two bars eventually comes down to how the hands are placed on the bars. A standard barbell is straight, you can suppose either an underhand or overhand grip. With a standard barbell, the angle of your wrists is straight; however, when using a curl bar, the angle of your wrists is slightly rotated. A curl bar enables you to grip with an underhand-based "natural" grip or use an overhand-based "reverse" grip on the curl bar.

Consider Your Goals

Traditionally, a curl bar is used for workouts that target smaller muscle groups i.e. biceps and triceps. These muscles usually need less weight than workouts that use the straight bar i.e. chest and legs. Due to the less weight of the curl bar, it makes it imaginable to choose a weight between 25 pounds and 45 pounds when doing workouts that focus on the smaller muscles.

Besides, for workouts that need bending of the elbow, the curl bar has a more natural hand position. The straight bar enhances the torque amount in the wrists because you must vigorously keep your wrists in a straight position when they wish to certainly turn inward or outward according to the workout. If you are unfamiliar with using a straight bar or have poor wrist strength, this can result in pain or injury in the wrists.