The hammer curls 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. Also including the muscles worked.

Hammer Curls

Exercise Info

  • Exercise type – isolation
  • Muscles worked – 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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