Hammer Curls - A Quick Guide With Tips
Check out any top-tier bodybuilder and they are going to have massive arms.
Thick and strong biceps help powerlifters by increasing stability during your bench, squat, and deadlift.
The bicep makes up around one-third of our upper arm and contains a long and short head. The brachialis is another commonly considered part of your bicep muscle group, even though it's technically different.
Building bigger biceps come from elbow flexion exercises such as curls, as well as pulling movements such as chin-ups or rows. Most bicep movements are performed in the vertical plane, although our torso angle may be slightly forward or backward — like incline dumbbell curls or concentration curls.
Hanging some beef on those biceps will show off your physique and make you stand out from the rest.
Meet Hammer Curls
The hammer curl is an isolation exercise that targets your brachioradialis. This is often referred to as the upper-outer forearm.
Both the long and short heads of the bicep, the front deltoid, middle and upper trap, levator scapulae, flexor carpi radialis, and extensor carpi radialis all act as stabilizers during this exercise.
These stabilizer muscles help maintain proper form and posture all while fixating your joint by contracting without significantly moving.
How to Do Hammer Curls
Hammer curls are pretty easy to perform. The important part is to not cheat and use momentum with this exercise.
If this is your first time performing this exercise, be sure to pick a conservative weight until you learn the proper form. You should be able to perform 8 to 12 reps without too much strain.
Once you found the dumbbells you will use, it's time to grasp the dumbbell and bring them to your sides.
You can do hammer curls seated or standing.
Brace your core, take a deep breath, and squeeze the dumbbells as hard as you can. Begin pulling your hands up towards your shoulder — ensuring you keep your elbows glued to your sides. Allowing your elbows to drift forward will take the stress off of your targeted muscle.
The goal here is to curl the weight towards your shoulder as much as possible, stopping just before your elbows start to drift forward. Focus on the contraction and slowly return to your starting position.
Perform hammer curls both hands at a time or alternate. You can utilize this exercise in regular sets, pre-exhaust sets, rest-pause sets, drop sets, supersets, etc.
This exercise is versatile and you can progress in a variety of ways — more weight, more volume, shorter rest periods, improved rep quality.
Strive to improve every session.
Hammer Curl Form Tips
While this exercise is pretty easy to perform, there are a few tips that can make the move more effective.
Avoid Momentum - You can use a heavier weight than you would a traditional dumbbell curl, but that doesn't mean you should. Stay tight throughout the movement and don't use momentum to help you lift a heavier weight.
Keep your elbows to your sides - Using conservative weights will ensure you are working the correct muscles, but if you find yourself flaring your elbows, you are not maximizing bicep stimulation.
Feel the burn - Increase your exercise intensity by holding the top position for three to five seconds. Focusing on squeezing the biceps will increase your time under tension and is an important variable to progressively overloading your muscle for growth.
Hammer Curl Variations
Hammer curls are a great way to increase stability in your compound lifts. There are quite a few hammer curl variations you could start performing today.
Cross Body Hammer Curls - Perform a hammer curl, except you will be curling the weight across your body. Instead of curling the weight up to your shoulder, you will be curling more towards the opposite pec.
Incline Preacher Hammer Curls - A unique variation of the hammer curl where you will set an incline bench at around 75 degrees. Extend your arm over the bench so that your triceps lay flat on the bench with your armpit resting at the top of the bench.
Incline Hammer Curl - Sit down on that incline bench, lean back, and perform hammer curls with a longer range of motion.
Wrapping It Up
Adding hammer curls into your arm training will force those biceps to grow and get stronger. Your bench press, along with other pressing moves will increase as you build more strength and stability.
Perform perfect reps, emphasize the squeeze, and strive to do better every time you step into the gym if you want results.