The Hammer Curl is a variation of the classic bicep curl and a popular and effective exercise in its own right. As you can see in the picture to your left, this is an exercise that can be done by men and women both.
The difference between bicep hammer curls and regular bicep curls is that you keep your thumbs pointing toward you throughout the exercise. This has several benefits which I’ll discuss further on this page.
In this article I want to explain how to do hammer curls with proper technique to help you get bigger biceps with less risk of injury.
All you need is a pair of heavy dumbbells and you’re good to go, doing this exercise sitting down or standing as you prefer.
Why is the Hammer Curl Exercise Popular
- It’s another way to target the biceps. It works them in a different angle and so allows you to stimulate the muscle in a totally different way.
- When you do a regular bicep curl, the hardest point is in the middle, where your arms are horizontal to the floor. When you continue the move upward, the tension on your biceps eases. With a Hammer Curl, your range of motion is a bit smaller so you train another area of the bicep at full strain.
- The grip you hold the dumbbell (known as a neutral grip) keeps tension of the wrists. As I’ve explained in various wrist exercises, the wrist is a delicate joint which can easily injure.
- Using Hammer Curls to wrap up a basic curl set can help you perform a few more reps altogether.
- It targets another area of the forearm as well helping you achieve a more even muscle growth.
How to Do Bicep Hammer Curls
Seated Hammer Curls
- If you sit on a stability ball, make sure your back is straight and both feet firmly on the ground.
- If you’re using a chair, make sure the back rest is tilted slightly backwards and place your legs on a step to ease tension off the lower back.
Standing hammer curls
You should stand with a slight bend in the knees, or place one leg behind you to increase stability and reduce the strain on your back.
The Actual Curl
- Grab two dumbbells and turn them so your grip is neutral.
- Hold your abs in.
- Press your elbows to your sides.
- Raise both dumbbells in a controlled manner as far as they will go.
- Exhale during the lift.
- Squeeze your biceps as hard as you can.
- Hold the uppermost position.
- Lower both dumbbells back down, slowly.
- Don’t allow your elbows to leave your sides.
- Don’t use your shoulders or your upper body apart from your arms.
- Breathe normally throughout the workout. Don’t hold your breath.
- Use weights that allow you to do a controlled and flowing movement.
- If you do a one armed hammer curl, or alternate hammer curls, make sure to not tilt or sway your upper body.
Hammer curls are an excellent exercise to target the bicep in a slightly different way, improve strength, and increase muscle mass. However, as any exercise, you need to do them right. Don’t rush to heavier weights before you’re ready for them.
This is what you can get with the right exercises, the kidn that really push the muscle into rapid growth.
In the Best arm exercises you’ve never heard about, trainer Nick Nillson (‘Mad Nick’) shows you some of his insane arm exercises. There’s a section for men and for women so you can find what you like here.
If you want to get bigger biceps, triceps, and forearms, these exercises will help you achieve your goals.