If you’re looking for an upper body strength routine, hammer curls are sure to become your workout of choice. Hammer curl is an exercise that targets the biceps and forearms and can be performed with dumbbells, cables and bands. The hammer curl is a great exercise to build biceps muscles, and would definitely be a great addition to your regimen.
What is the difference between a hammer curl and biceps curl?
Wanitha Ashok, fitness coach and Fit India ambassador, explains that although the two train the same muscles, they are performed differently. “The hammer curl is done with the palms facing each other and curling them up toward the shoulder while keeping the elbows close to the body. Biceps curl works the same muscle and is performed by rotating the dumbbells forward and then bringing them to the shoulders and back,” she says.
How does a hammer curl help?
Hammer curls are great for your biceps and your forearms. The main area of focus in a hammer curl is Brachialis, the long part of the biceps. It also helps train an important forearm muscle called brachioradialis. “It is a biceps variation exercise and targets the biceps and forearms, improving overall upper body strength. It helps reduce the risk of injury during everyday activities that involve lifting or carrying objects. Hammer curls, when done in combination with biceps curls, help increase muscle definition in the biceps and forearms,” says Ashok.
What are the different variations of hammer curls?
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your back straight. Hold the dumbbell with your palm facing inward. It should rest just above your thigh. Make sure your elbow is in a comfortable position and close to your side. Stand up straight, engage your core and keep your back straight. Curl the barbell up towards your opposite shoulder, paying particular attention to keeping your elbow in a stable and steady position. Stop when your elbow reaches a 90-degree angle and hold this position for at least two seconds. Slowly return the dumbbell to the starting position until your arm is straight again. Keep your arm slightly bent to maintain good resistance.
Chest supported hammer curl
You need an incline bench for this. Start by resting your chest on the top part of the bench. Your arms should be pointed toward the ground in this position, with palms facing each other. Now raise the dumbbells to your shoulders and lower them. Once you bring them back, make sure you fully extend your arms.
Striped hammer curl
As the name suggests, you need bands for this. Hold the band under your feet and extend it to your hands. Your palms should face each other. Now curl the band up by bending your elbows but not moving your upper arms. Return to your starting position.
Swiss rod Hammer curl
Stand up straight with the Swiss bar in your palms. Flex your triceps, keeping your elbows and arms straight, then curl the Swiss bar up to your shoulders. Slowly lower it backwards.
Common mistakes when doing hammer curls
According to Ashok, there are two major errors in most hammer curl variations.
- Using heavier weights too early can lead to injury. It’s better to use less weight and focus on more reps with proper form.
- Using the body’s momentum to complete the exercise instead of muscles: This often happens because the lifter may lack knowledge or use too much weight.
She says: “The hammer curl can prove to be a very effective form of training when done correctly. It is important to understand exercise physiology. If you are lacking in this area, you can always consider seeking the help of a certified fitness coach who can structure the exercise routine.”
When should hammer curls be done and how much?
Hammer curls can be a regular part of your upper body workout routine. However, it is important to remember that when introducing this, the reps and sets should be planned gradually. “Start with fewer reps and build up and gradually increase the reps and sets,” says Ashok.