How to Do the Hammer Curl for Bigger Biceps and Forearms

Larger, more potent fingers are typically excessive at the record of priorities for some lifters, although they half-whisper it for concern of being categorised “a bodybuilder,” as though there’s anything else fallacious with coaching particularly so as to add muscle. Whilst there are numerous sorts of curls to paintings the biceps with other angles or apparatus, maximum lifters … Learn extra
The submit Find out how to Do the Hammer Curl for Larger Biceps and Forearms seemed first on Breaking Muscle.

Larger, more potent fingers are typically excessive at the record of priorities for some lifters, although they half-whisper it for concern of being categorised “a bodybuilder,” as though there’s anything else fallacious with coaching particularly to add muscle.

Whilst there are numerous sorts of curls to paintings the biceps with other angles or apparatus, maximum lifters fail to remember how merely protecting a dumbbell in a different way can have an effect on muscle recruitment and total enlargement.

The hammer curl makes use of a easy thumbs-up place to extra at once paintings the forearm muscle tissue and emphasize a special a part of the biceps, resulting in extra enlargement, bigger arms, and a more potent grip. Right here’s why this basic dumbbell curl shouldn’t be overpassed.

Find out how to Do the Hammer Curl

There’s a superb opportunity that any one who’s picked up a couple of dumbbells has carried out a hammer curl, or one thing that used to be meant to be a hammer curl. It’s an instinctive motion that may be made much more efficient when following some easy method pointers.

Step 1 — Seize Dumbbells As it should be

Woman in home gym standing holding dumbbells
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Start status with a couple of dumbbells at your facets together with your fingers dealing with your physique and your thumbs pointing ahead. Fairly than gripping at once within the middle of the care for, relatively offset your grip to have your pinky close to the decrease weight plate. This calls for higher grip and forearm recruitment all over the workout. (You’ll middle your hand at the care for should you desire.) Flex your triceps to make sure a instantly arm and completely locked out beginning place.

Shape Tip: The offset grip relatively shifts the dumbbell’s middle of gravity ahead and calls for you to squeeze tougher all over each and every rep to handle regulate of the burden. Gripping with a regular, completely targeted grip calls for much less gripping energy. Offsetting your grip to have your thumb touching the highest weight calls for even much less grip energy. Experiment with each and every slight variation as some way of fixing the workout’s depth.

Step 2 — Curl the Dumbbells to Your Shoulders

Woman at home performing dumbbell curl
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Bend your knees relatively, pull your shoulder blades again, and flex your abs to make sure an upright posture. Flex your biceps to curve the burden on your entrance deltoids.

The “hammer curl” will get its title from the visible cue of hammering a nail, so stay your wrists impartial, your fingers dealing with each and every different, and your arms in a vertical line right through the workout. Because the weights method your shoulders, permit your elbows to return ahead relatively, letting the dumbbells contact the entrance of your shoulders.

Shape Tip: With maximum curls, the elbows will have to stay pinned on your ribs for optimum rigidity. Then again, the hammer curl considerably recruits the lengthy head of the biceps, which additionally performs a task in transferring the higher arm on the shoulder. Permitting the elbows to return ahead, relatively, through transferring on the shoulder we could the lengthy head contract much more strongly. (1) Don’t permit the shoulder motion to change into a wild swing. Use a managed movement.

Step 3 — Decrease to Complete Extension

Muscular woman in gym performing dumbbell curl
Credit score: Jasminko Ibrakovic / Shutterstock

As soon as the weights contact your shoulders, opposite course. Stay your palms pointed in the similar course, together with your fingers dealing with each and every different and your arms stacked vertically. Decrease the weights beneath regulate till your fingers are totally prolonged within the beginning place.

Shape Tip: Resetting on the backside of each and every rep and attaining a complete stretch through contracting the triceps would possibly look like “resting” the biceps, nevertheless it lets in a most vary of movement which contributes to total enlargement. It additionally is helping to stop dishonest through making it harder to swing the weights right into a curled place.

Hammer Curl Errors to Steer clear of

The hammer curl would possibly look like a easy motion, which it for sure is, however that suggests there’s even much less reason why to cheat and not more room for error. Listed below are the most typical method mistakes.

Rotating Your Fingers

A “hammer curl” together with your palms situated any approach as opposed to thumbs-up is now not a hammer curl. Converting your hand and wrist place isn’t essentially fallacious, it’s only a other workout emphasizing other muscle tissue.

Man in gym performing dumbbell curl in mirror
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It’s like appearing a barbell flat bench press, however gripping the bar together with your palms just about touching as a substitute of being relatively out of doors shoulder-width. It’s nonetheless a sound workout, nevertheless it’s now a close-grip bench press which emphasizes the triceps, no longer a barbell flat bench press which emphasizes the chest.

The similar concept applies to hammer curls; it’s supposed to be performed together with your palms vertical and your fingers dealing with each and every different. A unique grip creates a special workout.

Steer clear of It: Be sure to’re doing hammer curls, no longer pronated (fingers down) curls, supinated (fingers up) curls, or an angled grip in-between. Stay the “hammering a nail” visualization in your thoughts. You wouldn’t, couldn’t, and shouldn’t hammer a nail with an angled swing, so make sure you stay your thumbs up.

Swinging Your Frame

One of the crucial not unusual errors with hammer curls is swinging your torso to carry the weights up from the ground. No longer simplest does this building up pressure at the decrease again, nevertheless it reduces biceps activation through beginning the workout with momentum somewhat than muscular energy.

Muscular shirtless man performing dumbbell curl
Credit score: Jasminko Ibrakovic / Shutterstock

Higher physique swinging can on occasion be brought about through seeking to carry too heavy, however many lifters instinctively swing their physique for each rep of each set irrespective of the burden, as though it’s the way in which the workout “will have to” be performed.

This subconscious motion is a hallmark that they’re no longer treating the hammer curl with the similar planned goal as they most likely do for squats, deadlifts, or different extra concerned workout routines.

Steer clear of it: Start each and every rep from a strict upright posture together with your fingers at your facets, your abs stressful, and your shoulders pulled again. Bracing and contracting your abs whilst curling could make higher physique swinging extra noticeable and extra preventable. Elevating the weights at a relatively slower pace may even discourage swinging.

Advantages of the Hammer Curl

The hammer curl recruits the muscle tissue of the higher arm in addition to the decrease arm, turning in extra total effects than many different curl permutations.

Man in gym performing curl with two dumbbells
Credit score: MDV Edwards / Shutterstock

The greater muscle activation and attainable for fairly heavier weights make the hammer curl appropriate for all kinds of targets.

Larger Biceps

Since the biceps are answerable for elbow flexion (curling and bending), the biceps are at once activated all over hammer curls. This makes them a key participant to adding size to your upper arms.

Larger Forearms

Few lifters do direct forearm paintings, however hammer curls are a easy and efficient option to construct the muscle tissue underneath the elbow in addition to above it. The impartial (thumbs up) hand place will increase tension on a number of muscle tissue of the forearm in comparison to supinated (fingers up) curls.

Larger Grip Energy

Development a more potent grip cannot simplest carryover to growth in different workout routines, it has additionally been related to advanced total well being. (2) Hammer curls are an effective option to beef up grip energy without having so as to add particular grip-building workout routines into your common exercise program.

Muscle mass Labored through Hammer Curl

Curls are to larger biceps what espresso is to mornings — merely important. The hammer curl, on the other hand, works extra than simply the biceps.

Muscular arm in shadows holding dumbbell
Credit score: Improvisor / Shutterstock

The particular hand place recruits quite a few muscle tissue within the higher and decrease arm, making it the most important addition to an arm exercise.

Biceps Brachii

The biceps brachii is “the biceps muscle” at the entrance of the higher arm. It’s composed of 2 separate heads, the lengthy head at the outer a part of the biceps and the quick head discovered working alongside the internal a part of the biceps.

Each heads are attached to the elbow, with the quick head attaching to the higher arm bone and the lengthy head attaching to the shoulder blade simply at the back of the shoulder joint. On account of this, each portions of the biceps are focused on flexing or bending the elbow, and the lengthy head may be activated when elevating the arm on the shoulder. Each heads also are strongly activated when rotating the wrist palm up and palm down (supination and pronation).


The brachialis is regarded as a “hidden” muscle as it’s no longer incessantly visual and is situated underneath biceps brachii, close to the elbow. When the brachialis will increase in measurement, it may well necessarily “push” the biceps upper, contributing to a bigger arm measurement total.

Its number one serve as is to flex and bend the elbow and it’s not focused on supination or pronation. Because of this, a neutral-grip (fingers dealing with each and every different) places the brachialis in a powerful mechanical place. (3) This may be why you’ll be able to most often use extra weight with any neutral-grip curling, rowing, or pulling in comparison to a pronated or supinated grip.


The brachioradialis runs alongside the thumb-side of the forearm, contributing vital muscle measurement specifically close to the elbow. It stabilizes the forearm all over arm motion and at once acts as an elbow flexor.


The wrist flexors make up the majority of the decrease arm at the palm-side of the forearm, whilst the wrist extensors are discovered at the most sensible aspect of the forearm. Each muscle tissue are closely focused on any grip-intensive workout, just like the hammer curl. The wrist flexors paintings actively to carry the burden in position whilst the wrist flexors supply balance.

Who Will have to Do the Hammer Curl

The hammer curl isn’t simply used for expanding arm measurement. It for sure does play a large function in arm coaching, nevertheless it additionally carries over to lend a hand different lifts, making it helpful for strength-focused lifters in addition to the ones prioritizing muscle measurement.

Lifters Coaching for Extra Muscle

The hammer curl will lend a hand to pack measurement onto your fingers, together with the incessantly unnoticed forearms. Whilst some lifters could also be reluctant to incorporate direct arm coaching of their exercise because of time or potency issues, the hammer curl is a superb selection to harvest most measurement advantages from only one workout.

Lifters Coaching for Energy

More potent fingers and a more potent grip can raise over to any workout that places weight on your palms. Having a extra safe grip at the bar, irrespective of the particular workout, can lend a hand to beef up bar regulate and balance. A more potent grip additionally at once advantages all varieties of pulling workout routines, from deadlifts and pull-ups to barbell or dumbbell rows.

Find out how to Program the Hammer Curl

Simply because it’s an “arm curl” doesn’t imply the hammer curl will have to be handled with mild weights and excessive reps. Right here’s how one can have compatibility hammer curls into your plan for higher effects.

Heavy Weight, Low to Average Reps

Since the hammer curl makes use of a neutral-grip, the fingers are put right into a considerably more potent pulling place than if the palms had been palm-up. This allows you to transfer heavier weights with out sacrificing method. 4 to 5 units of six to 8 reps turns the hammer curl into a significant strength-builder without having to swing the weights round.

Average Weight, Average Reps

Coaching hammer curls with a vintage bodybuilding-style method the use of 3 to 4 units of 8 to twelve reps is a competent option to construct arm measurement with this basic workout. This kind of exercise will have to ship a very good pump within the forearms and biceps.

Hammer Curl Diversifications

The hammer curl is essentially distinctive for its particularly impartial hand place. There are a number of easy and efficient permutations of the fundamental hammer curl to fine-tune the effects on your particular wishes.

Unmarried-Arm Hammer Curl

Coaching unilaterally (one aspect at a time) permits you to use a relatively heavier weight in both hand in comparison to lifting all sides in combination. (4) Coaching each and every aspect one by one additionally permits you to extra particularly deal with herbal energy discrepancies, since one aspect of the physique is most often more potent than the opposite.

Every other vital good thing about the single-arm hammer curl is stricter method. Particularly, through bracing the non-working arm at the again of a bench, upright submit, or solid object, you’ll be able to create extra balance and be sure that you don’t use any upper-body momentum.

Cable Rope Hammer Curl

Curling the use of a cable supplies consistent rigidity and will increase the full muscle-building stimulus. The rope attachment permits you to use a neutral-grip, in comparison to straight-bar attachments.

Cable hammer curls additionally make it harder to cheat together with your torso since the cable disperses a lot of the momentum that may be transferring the burden and helps to keep tension at the goal muscle tissue.

Pinwheel Curl

The pinwheel curl, often referred to as the cross-body curl, adjustments the variety of movement through sliding the burden around the physique somewhat than last prolonged in entrance. This relatively shortened vary of movement adjustments the strain at the muscle tissue, recruiting the brachialis and additional emphasizing the lengthy head of the biceps.

Since the weight is nearer on your physique’s middle of gravity, a heavier weight can be utilized in comparison to same old hammer curls. Pinwheel curls are most often performed one arm at a time or alternating fingers with each and every repetition.

Hammer Curl Possible choices

Maximum lifters may also be beaten with curling choices. Listed below are a handful of choices to include along with, or as a substitute of, the hammer curl.

Supinating Curl

The vintage supinating curl comes to rotation all over the workout, starting with the weights dealing with the physique within the backside and the fingers dealing with up within the most sensible place. This recruits each heads of the biceps brachii extra considerably as a result of they paintings to rotate the forearm.

Through that specialize in “twisting the pinky up” on the most sensible of the curl, the biceps contract totally. Maximum lifters are shocked through the serious muscle activation from this easy method adjustment.

Opposite Dumbbell Curl

Opposite dumbbell curls use a palms-down grip right through the workout. This de-emphasizes the biceps brachii and places greater muscular tension at the brachioradialis, brachialis, and wrist extensors.

This overpassed workout is a superb selection for prioritizing decrease arm measurement and energy, since the biceps aren’t considerably activated.

Incline Curl

The incline curl is a bodybuilding staple. The use of a high-angle incline bench lets in the fingers to stretch at the back of the torso within the backside place, which considerably turns on the lengthy head of the biceps.

Incline curls additionally inspire strict shape, because of the stretch within the backside place in addition to the totally supported seat again which is helping to stop swinging. Be sure that to not lean ahead, which reduces the incline and defeats the aim of the workout. Stay your head and shoulders involved with the pad.


What number of other curls will have to I do in each and every exercise?

Programming direct arm coaching, like curls, right into a exercise plan approach strolling a high quality line between potency and effectiveness. Few lifters wish to devote an enormous bite of time (a couple of workout routines on a couple of days every week) to coaching fingers. Then again, the opposite excessive (0 direct arm coaching) can compromise effects and sooner or later result in fingers that do require an important quantity of consideration.

Most often talking, in case your purpose is to construct greater fingers, incorporating one or two other workout routines two to 3 days every week will have to be enough, relying in your total coaching cut up and the particular units and reps. In case your purpose is essentially energy, no longer measurement, at once coaching biceps with one or two workout routines a few times every week may also be an efficient and environment friendly plan.

Why does my elbow harm all over the workout?

If hammer curls irritate pre-existing elbow ache, you’re most likely no longer holding your wrists in a impartial place all over the curl. Through rotating the wrist palm up or palm down, you will be expanding pressure at the tendons and supportive tissues of the elbow.

Scale back the burden and concentrate on keeping up a vertically stacked hand when elevating and reducing the burden. Lifting with a slower pace too can lend a hand to dial in easiest method.

Select Up The Hammer Curls

To paraphrase an outdated announcing, “Whosoever plays hammer curls, in the event that they be constant, shall possess larger and more potent fingers.” It’s an invaluable carry for physique-focused lifters in addition to performance-based lifters, and is a perfect selection for mixing measurement and energy right into a unmarried arm workout.


  1. Chalmers PN, Cip J, Trombley R, et al. Glenohumeral Serve as of the Lengthy Head of the Biceps Muscle: An Electromyographic Research. Orthop J Sports activities Med. 2014;2(2):2325967114523902. Revealed 2014 Feb 26. doi:10.1177/2325967114523902
  2. Bohannon RW. Grip Energy: An Indispensable Biomarker For Older Adults. Clin Interv Growing older. 2019;14:1681-1691. Revealed 2019 Oct 1. doi:10.2147/CIA.S194543
  3. Plantz MA, Bordoni B. Anatomy, Shoulder and Higher Limb, Brachialis Muscle. [Updated 2022 Feb 22]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. To be had from:
  4. Costa E, Moreira A, Cavalcanti B, Krinski Okay, Aoki M. Impact of unilateral and bilateral resistance workout on maximal voluntary energy, general quantity of load lifted, and perceptual and metabolic responses. Biol Recreation. 2015;32(1):35-40. doi:10.5604/20831862.1126326

Featured Symbol: MDV Edwards

The submit How to Do the Hammer Curl for Bigger Biceps and Forearms seemed first on Breaking Muscle.

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