What are Hammer Curls

The hammer curl is a bicep curl variation that utilizes a neutral grip, with your palms facing each other. Doing them properly with enough time under tension will seriously bulk up your biceps and biceps size, as well as muscular strength, and endurance. Strong biceps are the immediate indicator that you work out and have cultivated your physique. There are three variations of hammer curls that will be covered in this article, which use resistance bands, gymnastics rings, and a towel.

According to research, higher muscular strength is associated with greater force-time characteristics, such as rate of force development and external mechanical power, general sport skill performance such as grappling power in jujitsu, and particular skill performance, which is also associated with enhanced potentiation effects and decreased injury rates.

Hammer Curls Muscles Worked

The primary muscles worked are the biceps, anterior deltoids, forearms which consist of the brachioradialis (a muscle that runs up and down your forearms), brachialis (a muscle located deep in the upper arms). The secondary muscles worked are the abdominals which act as a stabilizer around your midsection.

What Level are Hammer Curls

Hammer curls are a beginner's and above-level exercise as they are relatively simple exercises that beginners can master. You will be using only your body weight as resistance, and there will be tips on how to change the difficulty of these exercises.

Hammer Curls

Banded Hammer Curls

Resistance bands are great for strengthening and toning the arms. Their looped shape makes them perfect for performing a variety of curls such as hammer curls, and bicep curls. You can begin with lighter bands to get used to the movement path, and gradually progress to heavier bands to increase the intensity. To perform this, you will:

  1. Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Loop the band under your feet, and hold both ends in each hand in a neutral grip where your palms are facing each other. This is your starting position. 
  2. Exhale as you bend the elbows and curl the band towards your shoulders. Keep your upper arms rigid and elbows locked in a single position. Your palms should face each other, and your core is tight throughout the motion.
  3. Inhale as you lower your palms back down to the starting position, locking your arms out fully to ensure a full range of motion. 
  4. Repeat this movement between 8-20 reps for 4 sets.

The Australian Pull-Ups Neutral Grip

The Australian pull-up is a great preparatory and conditioning exercise for pull-ups and chin-ups. It will develop your upperbody muscles, especially in your biceps and lats. You will have a greater range of motion with rings which will increase time under tension on your muscles, therefore, stimulate muscular hypertrophy. The rule is that the steeper your body is the easier, and the flatter your body is, the harder the exercise will be to perform. To perform this, you will:

  1. Grab a pair of rings tightly using a neutral grip where your palms are facing each other at shoulder-width apart. Lean backward to extend your arms out fully, brace your core, and keep your legs straight. Your body should be in a straight line at an upward slope. This is your starting position.
  2. Exhale as you curl the rings towards your shoulders by bending the elbows. Curl until the rings touch your shoulders. Keep your core engaged and body in a straight line. Squeeze your biceps at the top position. 
  3. Inhale as you lower down to the starting by extending both arms. Make sure your arms are fully locked out before performing the next rep to ensure a full range of motion.
  4. Repeat this movement between 8-20 reps for 4 sets. You can increase the difficulty by lowering the height of the rings and placing your body in a steeper position, as this will increase the load on the upper body muscles.

Towel Australian Pull-Ups

Towel Australian pull-ups enhance your grip and assist in developing your forearm muscles. Moreover, it’ll give you a big biceps and forearms pump as you will be using a neutral grip. If you’re looking to maximize your grip strength and grow your biceps, try it! To perform this, you will:

  1. Wrap a medium size towel around a low bar. Grab firmly on both sides of the towel in each hand using a neutral grip where your palms are facing each other. Extend both arms out fully and lean backward. Keep your core tight. Your body should be in a straight line at an upward slope. This is your starting position. 
  2. Exhale as your curl your hands towards your head by bending the elbows. Curl until your hands are as close as they possibly can, and squeeze your biceps at the top position. Your core and glutes are engaged. 
  3. Inhale as your lower down by extending both arms to return to starting position. Ensure both arms are fullying locked out before performing the next rep.
  4. Repeat this movement between 6-20 reps for 4 sets. You can increase the difficulty by lowering the height of the rings and placing your body in a steeper position, as this will increase the load on the upper body muscles.

Hammer Curls Benefits

Increase Biceps Size and Strength

The first benefit is the most obvious, hammer curls will develop strong, sculpted biceps. Along with thickness and strength, as long as they are performed at a high volume. Your biceps must adapt to the resistance by getting stronger and growing in size. Moreover, the brachialis and brachioradialis will assist in the movement. This will help you develop beautiful arms, which translate to into a great physique. 

Strengthen Grip

Your wrist and finger flexors are worked when performing hammer curls. The resistance puts stress on your forearms causing them to grow stronger. A stronger grip will help improve functional strength, helping you with everyday tasks such as carrying heavy objects, and in sports such as tennis, golf, and rock climbing. According to Havard research, each 11-pound reduction in grip strength is connected to a 16% greater risk of dying from any cause, a 17% increased risk of dying from heart disease, a 9% increased risk of stroke, and a 7% increased risk of a heart attack.

Adaptable 

Hammer curls are highly adaptable to your current fitness levels, whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced level athlete, you can adjust either the gradient of your body or the size of a resistance band to modify your workout to tailor it to your skill level and specific preferences. No need to lift heavier dumbbells! 

Hammer Curls vs Bicep Curls

 

Hammer curls and bicep curls have the same movement path, targets the same muscles, but to a different extent. Your bicep muscle occupies a third of the upper arm, and it plays a key role in arm movements. It is highly recommended that you focus on both if you want huge arms. By creating variation and changing altering your routine, you can develop a new stimulus, which generates more progress over time.

Hammer Curls

Hammer curls are great for targeting your entire arm as it targets the brachialis (the long head of the biceps), and the brachioradialis (one of the forearm muscles), as well as your biceps. In hammer curls, you will use a neutral grip where your palms are facing inwards towards each other. 

Bicep Curls

Bicep curls also work on the long and short heads of the biceps: brachialis, and brachioradialis. It utilizes the supinated/underhand grip which will maximize bicep size. However, it does not target the brachioradialis as adeptly as hammer curls.

So, which is better?

Both exercises can be performed at home or in the gym, can be performed using dumbbells, and are simple to do. It mainly depends on what your goals are:

  • If you want bigger biceps, go for bicep curls
  • If you want overall bigger arms, go for hammer curls

About the Author

My name is Pat Chadwick, I am a calisthenics coach with over 4 years of experience in helping people from all backgrounds to achieve their calisthenics goals. My goal is to become the number one calisthenics coach in the world as it is my passion to help people change their lives through inspiring bodyweight movements. I believe everyone deserves the right to feel good about their health, body, and be delighted inside and out.