Hammer Curls For Beginners

What Muscles Do Hammer Curls Work?

Hammer curls work the biceps muscles which are located on the front of your upper arm. The biceps consists of the biceps brachii and brachialis . These are the muscles that every guy (and gals, too) like to show off when they flex in the mirror. Having good-looking biceps is not only an eye-catcher, but strong biceps will also help you with other exercises.

Hammer curls is also the best exercise to work the brachioradicis muscle of the forearm. This is the muscle that sits on top of the forearm closest to the elbow joint. To some extent, it also affects some of the other forearm muscles called the extensor carpi radialis brevi and longus .

What Are The Benefits of Hammer Curls?

Hammer curls not only work additional arm muscles but they also take the stress off your wrist and elbow joints as well as the forearms because of the more ergonomic grip on the weights. Your arms normally hang at your side with palms facing you. Try walking around with palms facing ahead of you. Not very comfortable, and then not very ergonomic.

Alternating Dumbbell Hammer Curls

Alternating hammer curls are done with dumbbells. They can be done standing or sitting on a bench which reduces 'cheating' or the use of other core muscles when the dumbbells are too heavy.

1. Stand (or sit) straight with feet comfortably apart while grasping a dumbbell in each hand. Palms should be facing inward to your body.

2. Inhale and raise your one forearm to chest height.

3. Exhale while slowly lowering the dumbbell back to the starting position.

4. Now do the same for the other arm.

Concentrating on one arm at a time takes patience and focus. Your grip will also improve since you will be holding the dumbbell at your side while the other one is busy flexing.

However, you can also do dumbbell hammer curls simultaneously with both arms. You will still get the benefit of full work for each arm but maybe with slightly less concentration.

Hammer Curls With Triceps Bar

Do not worry, we're still doing biceps. This special bar was originally designed for working the triceps muscles (the muscles on the back of the upper arm) but it can be used to work other parts of the body, including biceps.

The bar comes either with a standard bar or an Olympic-style bar with rotating sleeves. It does not matter which one you use but keep in mind that the Olympic-style bar will be heavier because of the thicker sleeves.

The bar is ergonomic because it is designed with a couple of small vertical bars built into the handle of the bar. You grab onto these bars when performing hammer curls.

When you are using the triceps bar, you are obviously using both arms at the same time, so it will reduce the workout time to half. The downside is that the dumbbell version is usually more concentrated and each arm has to do the same amount of work. With a bar, your stronger arm can sometimes do more of the work and your weaker arm never gets the achievements its full potential.

Things To Remember

  • Start with light weights so that you can comfortably perform 8-10 repetitions on each arm for 2-3 sets. You can add weight as your arms get stronger. The last 3 reps should be more difficult to complete – when they are too easy, it's time to add some weight.
  • Keep your wrists 'locked' at all times to avoid injuring them.
  • Develop a counting system when performing alternating dumbbells to keep on track.
  • Keep your elbows tucked in tightly to your sides to get maximum effect of the curls.
  • If you need back support, either sit on a bench with a back support, or lean against a wall.
  • And finally, do not overdo the amount of weight you are using. It's better to use a lighter weight and be stricter to get the full stretch of the muscle than by cheating with a heavier weight and risk injury.

When done properly, hammer curls will give you great-looking biceps and forearms. You'll be the most impressive person in the mirror.