Hammer Curls – Arm Exercise

The hammer curl is a variant of the standard arm curl. This post includes three different variations and how to perform correctly instructions of the hammer curl variants.

Hammer Curls

Exercise Info

  • Exercise type – isolation
  • Targeted muscles – Biceps, Brachialis, Forearms
  • Equipment needed – Dumbbells (workout bench for some variations)

Hammer Curl vs Normal Bicep Curls

The hammer curl is even easier to perform than the standard dumbbell bicep curl as you don’t rotate your wrists during the exercise.

Why do hammer curls? Because you don’t rotate your wrists during the contraction like a normal arm curl, the focus on the muscles of the arm changes slightly. Hammer curls targets the brachialis muscle more so than normal arm curls. The brachialis muscle is the muscle on the outside of your arm between the bicep and tricep. It also slightly changes the focus on the muscles worked in your forearms.

Hammer curls are slightly easier to perform than normal curls which means you can lift slightly heavier dumbbells. This is not necessarily a benefit however it makes hammer curls a good finishing exercise when you are fatigued.

Different ways to perform the hammer curl

Preacher Hammer Curls

  • You will need either a preacher bench or a normal adjustable bench set in the incline position at about 70 – 80 degrees.
  • Pick up a dumbbell and hold it with one hand while your upper arm is placed on a preacher bench or normal inclined bench.
  • Hold the dumbbell in a vertical position with your elbow bent at about 90 degrees so the top of the dumbbell is pointing to your face (starting position).
  • Slowly lower the dumbbell until it’s nearly touching the bench and then raise it back up to the top start position, while in this position squeeze and tense your bicep.

Seated Hammer Curls

  • Have a dumbbell in each hand while seated on a bench in a upright position, keep your back straight.
  • Keep your upper arms straight and in line with the rest of your body with the dumbbells at your sides with the dumbbells pointing forward, palms facing each other (starting position).
  • Slowly raise your arms until they are bent at 90 degrees or more at the elbow and tense your biceps, now slowly in a controlled fashion lower them back down to the start position and repeat.

Prone Hammer Curls

  • You need to be holding a dumbbell in each hand and sit on an incline bench facing the bench so your stomach and chest are resting on the bench, with your arms down straight, palms facing each other and dumbbells pointing forward (starting position).
  • Slowly bring your arms up until 90 degrees or just beyond and again tense your biceps for a moment, then lower and repeat the motion for your desired reps.

Below is a short video showing me preforming the preacher and prone versions of the hammer curl.

 

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Dumbbell Tate Press

How to perform the Dumbbell Tate Press.

The Tate Press is a lessor known exercise for the triceps. It’s ideally more suited to the more advanced weight lifters and those looking to add some variety to their workouts.

This is the how to perform the Tate Press tricep exercise page, including step by step instructions and pictures explaining and showing the exercise technique.

Benefits of performing the Tate Press

  • Development and strengthening of the tricep muscle.
  • Added exercise variety to help prevent boredom and to trigger muscle development.Tate Press
  • Improved shape and definition of the arms.

The Tate Press is much like tricep extensions aka skull crushes, except your arms move in a horizontal direction to your body rather than a vertical direction.

Exercise Info

  • Exercise type – Isolation
  • Targeted muscles – Triceps
  • Equipment needed – Dumbbells & Workout Bench

Exercise Technique

  • Lie on a flat or incline bench while holding a pair of dumbbells above your chest in a horizontal position.
  • Hold the dumbbells just like you would if you were performing the dumbbell bench press.
  • Now bend your elbows and lower the dumbbells inwards towards your chest, lightly make contact with your chest, hold for a brief moment and slowly return to the start position.
  • Hold briefly at the top of the motion and then repeat.

Tate Press Tips

  • Keep the dumbbells near to each other, or even touching during the movement.
  • Use slow and controlled movements during the exercise.
  • Use very light dumbbells to master the exercise technique.
  • In the upper extended position tense and squeeze your triceps.

Check out these other tricep exercises

The Tate Press is an intermediate level exercise which requires good balance and control of the dumbbells.

Beginners should stick to the basic compound and isolation exercises. However this exercise offers a nice alternative and variety to those more advanced weight lifters looking for something different to mix up their workouts.

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How to do Tricep Dips – Arm Exercise

How to do tricep dips. It is one of the best tricep exercises you can perform, it can even easily be performed at home without any gym equipment, however some form of equipment is needed even if it’s just a chair.

Tricep dips or simply dipsĀ is a compound exercise that works and develops multiply muscles including the chest, triceps and shoulders.

There are a few Tricep Dip variations

  • Wide grip – focuses more on the chest (pectorals) also leaning forward during the dip will focus more on the chest muscles
  • Narrow grip – focuses more on the triceps, keeping your body in an upright vertical position also helps to target those triceps.

Equipment that can be used

Tricep dip frame – two parallel bars, using parallel bars to perform the dip can be too difficult for some, if this is the case for you, you could perform them just using a bench as they’re easier to perform this way.

Tricep dip cable pin machine – allows for assisted dips, this machine has a pad that you rest your knees on, the pad is attached to weights which aid you during the exercise by pushing your body up via the knee pad.

Weighted belt – when your own body weight just isn’t enough anymore you could wear a weighted belt to add extra resistance during the dip.

Equipment you can use at home

  • Bench
  • Bed
  • Chair

Whatever you use, make sure it’s sturdy and safe

How to do Tricep Dips

  • Place your hands behind your body about shoulder width apart, holding onto the bench with your knuckles facing forward with your legs together straight out in front of you.
  • keep a slight bend in your arms and straighten your legs, then slowly lower yourself bending your elbows so that they are bent at about a 90 degree angle with you upper arms just above parallel with the floor.
  • Then slowly and in a controlled fashion return yourself to the start position.

How to do Tricep Extensions – Arm Exercise

How to do tricep extensions also know as skull crushes, is a fantastic isolation exercise for your triceps. There are many different variations of this exercise, some of these different variations will be shown below using different equipment and exercise positions.

While the tricep extensions main focus is on the tricep, it does also work a few other muscles. To a lesser degree it trains the muscles of the forearms, shoulders and the chest, however it very much depends on the variation of the exercise and how you perform it.

Equipment commonly used to perform tricep extensions

  • Cable machine
  • Straight bar
  • Curved bar
  • Ropes
  • Dumbbells
  • Tricep bar
  • Tricep extension machine

Some of the different variations of the tricep extension

  • Over head extension – single or double handed
  • Lying down bench version
  • Tricep kick backs
  • Cable extensions

Standing cable version with ropes

How to do tricep extensions

  • Stand up straight and grab the ropes, keep your elbows in at the side, your forearms should be just above parallel with the floor.
  • Lower the ropes until your arms are almost straight, while doing so pull your arms apart slightly, hold for a short moment and then tense your triceps, and then return your arms to the start position keeping the tension on your triceps.

I prefer to perform the exercise using ropes as it give you more control during the exercise, however you can also use a straight or angled bar.

Lying down barbell/curl bar version – aks skull crushers

Technique

  • Lie on a flat bench holding the barbell with your arms vertical.
  • have your palms facing up and your hands about 1 foot apart, slowly lower the bar so that your arms are bent at about 90 degrees, you can go a little beyond this angle for extra stress on the tricep, hold for a brief moment and then slowly return to the start position and then repeat.

The lying down tricep extension can also be performed standing up, using the exact same arm movement, you just perform it while standing, another slight variation is that it can be performed while seated on a bench.

Single arm over head extension

Technique

  • Stand up straight with your feet about shoulder width apart for balance, extend your right arm up vertically holding the dumbbell.
  • Bend your elbow and lower your forearm behind your head, your arm should be bent at about 90 degrees, hold and then straighten your arm again.

Sometimes during this exercise you can feel pressure on your elbows, if this is the case change your technique, or you might want to try another variation, a nice variation of this is simply to perform it using both arms, lowering the dumbbell behind your head.

How to Perform Bicep Curls – Arm Exercise

The bicep curl is a great isolation exercise, how to perform it correctly. The bicep curls primary focus is the bicep, secondary focus is on the muscles of the forearms and the brachialis. There are many different ways and variations of the bicep curl, a few of the best and most common ones are listed below.

Different Grips

  • Normal – Grip the bar just wider than shoulder width, this directly works the middle of the bicep.
  • Wide – This grip works the inside of the bicep.how to perform bicep curls
  • Narrow – This grip works the outside of the bicep and the outside arm muscle the brachialis.

Equipment

Barbell – Most common equipment for performing arm curls

Dumbbells – Allows for greater control and movement than using a barbell. It allows you to rotate your wrists to change the target area of the bicep. Palms facing forward focuses on the middle of the bicep, palms facing inward will focus on the outside of the bicep and the brachialis which is the outside arm muscle between your bicep and tricep.

Curl bar – Designed just for the arm curl and the tricep extension, the different angles on the bar reduces the stress on the wrists. Rather than using a normal barbell, the curl bar allows you to focus more on working the bicep with less stress on the wrists.

Cable machine – The cable machine allows different attachments, straight bar, curl bar, single hand grips.

Preacher bench – The preacher bench is very good because it keeps your upper arms in a fixed position so it does not allow body rocking to aid with the curl movement. It also allows for complete focus and isolation on the bicep curl.

Other variations

Seated – Using a bench and dumbbells allows you to perform dumbbell curls in a seated position, it keeps your back straight helping to improve your technique.

Incline bench – I have found this to be one of the most effective ways to do dumbbell arm curls, allows for a large range of motion during the curl, you can almost straighten your arms during the technique which gives extra stress on the bicep.

The 21 Technique – Not to be used all the time, but great for adding variety and shock treatment to your biceps. All together you perform 21 reps, 7 reps using full motion, 7 reps using half motion from top to middle and 7 reps half motion bottom position to middle position.

Concentration curls – Seated single arm curls, the elbow of the curling arm is tucked in just above the knee.

Barbell/Curl Bar Bicep Curl

How to perform bicep curls

  • Stand with your feet about one foot apart and your knees slightly bent.
  • Hold the barbell with your hands about shoulder width with your palms facing forward.
  • Keep your elbows in at your sides, try not to move your upper arms, let your elbow joint do all the work
  • Now bring the bar up to your chest and hold for a short moment while tensing your biceps, then lower the bar but don’t fully straighten your arms, hold and then repeat.

Concentration Curls

Technique

  • Sit on the edge of a bench, hold a dumbbell with your right arm between your legs.
  • Dig your right elbow into your inner right thigh, near the knee, and rest your left arm on your left leg.
  • Curl your right arm up to your chest and then lower, repeat for 10 reps then switch to your left arm.

You should experiment with the different methods and techniques here to find what works best for you, plus it’s good to mix things up to avoid boredom mentally and physically, change helps to stimulate growth.