Bicep Curl Hammer Variation: A Comprehensive Guide

a vector image of a man doing a bicep curl hammer variation

The bicep curl hammer variation is a popular exercise that has been around for decades, and it is a staple in many workout routines.

But have you ever heard of the hammer curl? If not, you’re missing out on an effective exercise that can help you build bigger and stronger biceps. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of hammer curls, exploring what they are, why they are beneficial, how to properly perform them, the advantages they offer, variations to try, common mistakes to avoid, and who should include them in their fitness routine.

By the end of this guide, you’ll have all the information you need to incorporate bicep curl hammer style into your workouts and achieve greater arm strength and size.

Understanding Hammer Curls

When it comes to targeting the biceps, the traditional bicep curl is the go-to exercise for many fitness enthusiasts. However, the hammer curl, also known as the bicep hammer or bicep to hammer curl, offers a different way to work the biceps and forearm muscles.

The hammer curl involves curling dumbbells up while keeping the palms facing each other throughout the movement. This exercise primarily works the brachioradialis, which is a muscle in the forearm, as well as the biceps brachii muscle, specifically the brachialis.

Unlike the traditional bicep curl, the hammer curl targets the long head of the bicep, contributing to bigger biceps over time.

What Are Hammer Curls?

Hammer curls are a great exercise for targeting the upper arm, focusing on the biceps and forearm muscles simultaneously.

The exercise involves lifting dumbbells using a neutral grip, with the palms facing each other throughout the movement. By keeping the palms facing each other, the hammer curl variation provides a different kind of bicep muscle workout compared to the traditional bicep curl.

The exercise is a compound movement that engages the entire body and is best done with perfect form to maximize the benefits. By incorporating hammer curls into your routine, you can target the biceps brachii, brachioradialis, and brachialis muscles, leading to bigger arms and greater forearm strength.

Why Hammer Over Traditional Curls?

While the traditional bicep curl is effective for targeting the biceps, the hammer curl offers some unique advantages. First, the hammer curl puts less strain on the elbow joint, making it a great exercise for those with joint issues.

This is because the neutral grip used in hammer curls allows for a more natural range of motion, reducing the risk of injury. Additionally, the hammer curl exercises the bicep muscle, brachioradialis, and brachialis, leading to thicker arms and greater bicep size.

This exercise program is effective for everyday movements, as it helps build strength for various physical activities. Furthermore, hammer curls are a key forearm muscle exercise, contributing to grip strength and overall arm thickness.

By incorporating hammer curls into your routine, you can target multiple muscle groups, enhance grip strength, and promote full arm strength.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Performing The Hammer To Bicep Curl

To reap the benefits of hammer curls, it’s important to perform them with proper form. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you master the exercise:

The Basic Stance

Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart to ensure stability and proper balance. Keep your upper body upright, engaging the core muscles to maintain a strong and steady posture throughout the exercise.

Hold a dumbbell in each hand with a neutral grip, palms facing each other. Begin with your arms fully extended, elbows close to your body, and dumbbells resting at thigh level.

This is the starting position for hammer curls, and it’s important to maintain proper form throughout the exercise.

The Correct Grip

One of the key elements of hammer curls is the neutral grip, which is crucial for targeting the brachioradialis effectively.

To ensure the best results, make sure your grip strength is firm, maintaining a neutral grip position throughout the exercise. This grip position helps to emphasize the brachialis and brachioradialis muscles, which are the primary targets of the hammer curl.

By maintaining the neutral grip, you can engage these forearm muscles more effectively, leading to greater arm strength and thickness.

The Upward and Downward Movement

Now let’s focus on the movement of the hammer curl exercise. The concentric phase of the exercise involves the upward movement of the dumbbells towards the shoulders.

As you curl the dumbbells up, be sure to squeeze the biceps at the top of the movement to maximize muscle activation.

Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position in a controlled manner, focusing on the eccentric phase of the exercise. Throughout the upward and downward movement, be mindful of maintaining proper form and avoiding any swinging or using momentum to lift the weights.

By executing the hammer curl movements with control, you can target the biceps, brachioradialis, and brachialis muscles effectively.

Advantages of Performing Hammer Curl To Bicep Curl

Hammer curls offer several advantages over traditional bicep curls. Let’s explore the key benefits of incorporating hammer curls into your workout routine:

Targeting Multiple Muscles

One of the main advantages of the bicep curl hammer style is that it effectively targets multiple muscles in the upper arm. By performing hammer curls, you can work the biceps brachii, brachioradialis, and brachialis muscles simultaneously, leading to bigger and stronger biceps.

This exercise offers a more comprehensive arm workout compared to traditional bicep curls, which primarily focus on the biceps brachii. By engaging different muscles, hammer curls allow for a well-rounded upper body workout and contribute to overall arm size and strength.

So, if you’re looking to develop your biceps and forearm muscles, hammer curls are an excellent choice to consider.

Enhancing Grip Strength

Another key advantage of the bicep curl hammer style is its ability to enhance grip strength. The neutral grip used in hammer curls engages the forearm muscles, including the brachioradialis, which contributes to grip strength and forearm thickness.

Strong grip strength is important for various exercises and everyday movements, such as lifting weights, carrying heavy objects, and even activities like opening jars or gripping the steering wheel while driving.

By incorporating the bicep curl hammer style into your routine, you can improve your grip strength, making you more proficient in other exercises and everyday tasks that require strong forearm muscles.

Promoting Full Arm Strength

While the bicep curl hammer style primarily focuses on the biceps, it also engages multiple other muscle groups, promoting full arm strength.

By targeting the biceps brachii, brachioradialis, and brachialis muscles, hammer curls provide a well-rounded arm workout. These exercises require coordination and engagement of the entire upper body to execute proper form and control the movement of the weights.

As a result, hammer curls promote greater arm strength, working multiple muscle groups in the upper body. By incorporating hammer curls into your routine, you can develop stronger arms, which can benefit your performance in a wide range of physical activities, from lifting weights to everyday movements.

Improving Mobility

In addition to targeting multiple muscles, the bicep curl hammer style also has a positive impact on arm mobility. This exercise promotes a greater range of motion and flexibility for the arms and shoulders, helping to improve overall mobility.

By engaging the biceps brachii, brachioradialis, and brachialis muscles, hammer curls enhance arm size and strength, while also allowing for greater flexibility in the joints.

This can be beneficial for everyday movements, such as reaching overhead, lifting objects, or performing exercises that require arm mobility, such as the bench press.

By incorporating the bicep curl hammer style into your routine, you can improve your arm’s range of motion, leading to greater flexibility and functional strength.

Variations in Hammer Curls

While the traditional hammer curl exercise is effective on its own, there are several variations you can try to add variety to your bicep workout routine and target different muscles. Let’s explore some of these variations:

Alternating Hammer Curls

One of the most common variations of the bicep curl hammer style is alternating hammer curls. Instead of curling both dumbbells simultaneously, alternate the curls between the left and right arms.

This allows you to engage each arm individually, maximizing bicep activation and ensuring balanced development of the biceps and forearms.

Alternating hammer curls also provide the benefit of maintaining constant tension on the biceps, as one arm is working while the other arm is in the starting position.

Incorporating alternating hammer curls into your routine can add variety to your bicep workout and help prevent muscle imbalances between the left and right arms.

Incline Bicep to Hammer Curl

Another variation of the bicep curl hammer style to consider is the incline hammer curls. By performing hammer curls on an incline bench, you can target the long head of the biceps brachii more effectively.

The incline position of the bench intensifies the stretch and contraction of the biceps muscle, leading to greater bicep size. This exercise also isolates the biceps more, minimizing the involvement of the front deltoids. Incline hammer curls offer a different challenge to the biceps, enhancing their overall development.

Furthermore, the incline position allows for a greater range of motion, which stimulates bicep growth more efficiently.

Incorporating incline hammer curls into your routine can help add variety to your bicep workout and target different muscle fibers within the biceps brachii.

Kettlebell Hammer Curls

If you’re looking to mix up your hammer curl routine, consider incorporating kettlebell hammer curls. Using kettlebells instead of dumbbells adds a new challenge to the exercise, targeting the biceps and forearms in a different way. Here are some key points to keep in mind when performing kettlebell hammer curls:

  • Hold the kettlebell by the handle with a neutral grip, keeping the palms facing each other.
  • Perform the curling motion, bringing the kettlebell up towards the shoulders, squeezing the biceps at the top of the movement.
  • Slowly lower the kettlebell back to the starting position, maintaining control throughout the exercise.
  • Kettlebell hammer curls allow for a greater range of motion compared to traditional dumbbell curls, stimulating bicep growth more effectively.
  • Incorporating kettlebell hammer curls into your routine can provide variety, challenge different muscle fibers, and enhance strength training for the biceps and forearms.

Rope Cable Hammer Curls

Another variation of hammer curls to consider is the rope cable hammer curls. Instead of using dumbbells or kettlebells, this exercise utilizes resistance bands attached to a cable machine. Here are some key points to keep in mind when performing rope cable hammer curls:

  • Attach a rope attachment to the cable machine at the lowest position.
  • Hold the rope with a neutral grip, palms facing each other, and position yourself a few steps away from the cable machine.
  • Curl the ropes towards your shoulders, keeping your elbows close to your body and the wrists neutral.
  • Squeeze the biceps at the top of the movement, then slowly lower the ropes back to the starting position.
  • Rope cable hammer curls maintain constant tension on the biceps throughout the exercise, challenging the muscles in a different way compared to traditional dumbbell curls.
  • This exercise offers a different form of resistance, engaging the biceps brachii, brachioradialis, and brachialis muscles while incorporating compound movements.
  • Incorporating rope cable hammer curls into your routine can diversify your bicep workout, challenge the muscles in new ways, and promote overall arm strength.

Avoiding Common Mistakes in Bicep Hammer Curls

To get the most out of hammer curls and avoid potential injuries, it’s important to perform the exercise with proper form. Let’s discuss some common mistakes to watch out for and how to avoid them:

Overcompensation and How to Avoid It

One common mistake in hammer curls is overcompensation, which can shift the emphasis away from the biceps brachii muscle.

Overcompensation occurs when other muscles, such as the brachialis, take over the movement instead of the target muscles.

To avoid overcompensation, it’s crucial to focus on the biceps brachii and engage the muscles effectively. Maintain proper form throughout the exercise, ensuring that the biceps brachii is the primary muscle doing the work.

If you’re unsure about proper form, consider working with a personal trainer who can guide you through the exercise program, ensuring that you’re targeting the right muscles and getting the most out of your workout routine.

Proper Bicep Curl Hammer Style Form for Safety

Another important aspect of hammer curls is maintaining proper form to prevent injury.

By executing the exercise with proper form, you can maximize bicep activation and minimize the risk of straining the elbows or other joints. Here are some key points to keep in mind when performing hammer curls:

  • Hold the dumbbells with a neutral grip, palms facing each other.
  • Keep your elbows close to your body throughout the exercise, avoiding any swinging or using momentum to lift the weights.
  • Focus on the brachioradialis muscle to prevent overcompensating with other forearm muscles.
  • Maintain a controlled tempo, moving the weights up and down in a smooth, controlled manner.
  • If you experience any pain or discomfort during hammer curls, stop the exercise and consult a fitness professional or physical therapist to ensure that you’re performing the exercise with proper form and within your physical capabilities.

Who Should Include Hammer Dumbbell Curls in Their Routine?

Hammer curls can be beneficial for individuals of various fitness levels and workout routines. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced lifter, incorporating hammer curls into your routine can help you achieve your fitness goals.

Here’s who should consider including hammer curls in their exercise program:

  • Beginners: If you’re new to strength training and looking to build upper body strength, hammer curls can be a great starting point. They target multiple muscle groups, including the biceps, brachioradialis, and brachialis, which are key muscles for everyday movements and overall arm strength. Hammer curls also allow beginners to use lighter weights, focusing on proper form and building a foundation of strength before progressing to heavier weights.
  • Regular gym-goers: If you already have a well-rounded workout routine but want to add variety to your arm exercises, hammer curls are an excellent choice. By incorporating different bicep curl variations, including hammer curls, you can target different muscle fibers, challenge the muscles in new ways, and stimulate muscle growth for greater bicep size.

Bicep Curl Hammer Variation – FAQ


Is hammer curl good for biceps?

Yes, hammer curl is a good exercise for targeting the biceps. Hammer curls primarily target the brachialis muscle, which helps to increase overall arm size.

They also engage the brachioradialis muscle, which contributes to forearm thickness. In addition, hammer curls improve grip strength, making them beneficial for various exercises and everyday movements.

How to do hammer curls correctly?

To perform hammer curls correctly, hold dumbbells with a neutral grip, palms facing each other. Keep your elbows close to your sides, and curl the weights up towards your shoulders.

Squeeze your biceps at the top of the movement, then slowly lower the weights back down. Avoid using momentum or swinging your arms during hammer curls to maintain proper form and maximize muscle activation.

What’s a good hammer curl weight?

The weight for hammer curls depends on your fitness level and strength. Start with a weight that allows you to complete 3 sets of 12 reps with good form.

Gradually increase the weight as you become stronger. It is important to listen to your body and avoid lifting too heavy, which can lead to injury.

How do you use hammer strength bicep curls?

Hammer strength bicep curls are performed using a machine that mimics the movement of a dumbbell hammer curl. To use the hammer strength machine for bicep curls, adjust the seat and handles to your desired position.

Sit with your back pressed firmly against the pad and grip the handles with a neutral grip, palms facing each other. Keep your elbows close to your sides throughout the exercise.

To perform the curl, contract your biceps and curl the handles towards your shoulders. Squeeze your biceps at the top of the movement, then slowly lower the handles back down.

Hammer curl which head?

The hammer curl primarily targets the brachialis muscle, which is located in the upper arm between the biceps and triceps. It also engages the brachioradialis muscle, which runs along the forearm. By working these muscles, hammer curls can help improve grip strength and overall arm development.

They do not, target the “long head” of the bicep – this doesn’t exist. Any article that mentions anything of the lines of “hammer curl long head” or “hammer curl head” is not worth its salt.

Conclusion

In conclusion, hammer curls are an effective exercise for targeting multiple muscles in the arms and enhancing grip strength. By performing hammer curls correctly, you can promote full arm strength and improve mobility.

There are also variations of hammer curls, such as alternating hammer curls, incline hammer curls, kettlebell hammer curls, and rope cable hammer curls, which provide added challenges and benefits.

It is important to avoid common mistakes in hammer curls, such as overcompensation and improper form, to ensure safety and maximize results. Hammer curls should be included in the routine of individuals looking to build arm strength and improve their overall fitness.

If you have any further questions on hammer curls or need guidance on incorporating them into your workout routine, refer to our frequently asked questions section or consult with a fitness professional.

For more information about how to perform the bicep curl hammer style as well as more fitness content in general, head over to Movingforwards.