Olympic Curl Bar Exercises

Olympic Curl Bar Exercises
Olympic curl bars come in a variety of sizes and styles, but are typically between four and five feet long and weigh between 10 or 20 lbs. without any weight plates added. They're a useful tool for fine-tuning muscle strength and function in the forearms for any outdoor sport.

Significance

Olympic curl bars are designed to reduce stress on the lifter's forearms, wrists and elbows because the angled bar allows a more natural two-handed grip than a straight bar does.

Challenge

Beginners may find the weight of the bar itself to be a more than sufficient challenge at first. As they progress and gain strength they can add Olympic weight plates, which come in 2.5-lb. increments, to each side of the bar.

Versatility

Positioning the hands close together or far apart on the curl bar varies the stress exerted on the forearm muscles, allowing a trainer or lifter very fine, specific control of which muscles are being developed; this is why curl bars are reputed to create better muscle development and definition.

Function

This type of bar is--no surprise--used almost exclusively for biceps and triceps exercises, usually curls or extensions. It is not used for power lifts like the clean and jerk or the snatch. Use it to concentrate on fine-tuning your arm strength for sports like rock climbing and skiing.

Fun Fact

The word "Olympic" refers to the size of the sleeve on each end of the curl bar, which is sized to fit into a 2-inch diameter hole in an Olympic weight plate. The other common type of bar-and-plate combination has a 1-inch diameter hole in each plate and is known simply as "standard".

Warning

Because an Olympic curl bar emphasizes the stress placed on relatively small muscles, always start your lifting program with slightly less than your usual weight for curls to avoid injury.

Article Written By Marie Mulrooney

Marie Mulrooney has written professionally since 2001. Her diverse background includes numerous outdoor pursuits, personal training and linguistics. She studied mathematics and contributes regularly to various online publications. Mulrooney's print publication credits include national magazines, poetry awards and long-lived columns about local outdoor adventures.

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