How To Perform Hammer Curls-Correct Form,Variations and Muscles Used

The hammer curls is an isolation, strength developing exercise that targets the biceps and the forearms. It is similar in a lot of ways to the biceps curls, particularly the dumbbell version, but the only difference is that the forearms are worked upon here too. It is usually done with a dumbbell or with a cable.

Correct Form Of Hammer Curls

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Here is a step-by-step description of executing the hammer curls exercise correctly.

  • Grab a pair of dumbbells in each hand and stand straight with a slight bend in your knee.
  • The dumbbells should be at your sides, and palms should be facing each other. Lock your elbows in at the sides of your torso. This is the starting position.
  • Keeping your elbows stationary, exhale and lift the dumbbells up in a curling motion. Try to move only your forearms. Squeeze the biceps at the top.
  • Hold the position and squeeze your biceps for a count of two, and then slowly bring the dumbbells back to starting position, inhaling along the way. This completes one repetition.

Precautions To Keep During Hammer Curls

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You should keep a few things in mind while performing the hammer curls exercise.

  • Do not lean back while lifting the weights. That is cheating. If you cant move the weight without swinging like a bungee jumper, lose the weights for a lighter pair.
  • Move your forearms only. Dont let your elbows move from their place. Consider them stuck in concrete.
  • You can even hold the position at the top for a count of 2-3 to squeeze the daylights out of your biceps.
  • Heard the story of “slow and steady wins the race?” Same applies here. Keep the rep timing slow, especially the descent part.
  • While performing the alternate hammer curls (given below), start with your weaker arm first. Apart from the arm under work, keep the stress in the biceps of the other arm too. No rest should be given during the set.

Alternate Exercise: Wrist Curls, Concentration Curls, Preacher Curls 

Video: Hammer Curls

Variations In Hammer Curls

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There are primarily 3 types of variations in the hammer curls exercise.

1. Alternate hammer Curls

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The technique is similar to normal hammer curls, the main difference being that you move dumbbells one at a time.

  • This exercise can be performed in a standing as well as seated position.
  • The main thing to keep in mind is to start with your weaker arm, and not take your forearm too far back.
  • You can lift slightly heavier weights with one arm alone than you can while lifting the weights together.

Video: Alternate Hammer Curls

2. Hammer Curls On An Incline Bench

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This is a slightly advanced form of the standard hammer curls exercise.

  • Lie down on an inclined bench and let the dumbbells hang at the sides, perpendicular to the ground (but in control).
  • Bring the dumbbells up, like you would in a normal curl exercise. Its the angle of the bench which does the magic.
Original images: muscleandstrength

Video: Incline Hammer Curls

3. Hammer Curls With Ropes 

Hammer-Curls-Machine

You can use either a rope or the handle used for the seated rows to perform the hammer curls.

  • The technique used is the same. You can vary your position near the pulley for additional pump.

Video: Hammer Curls Using A Rope

Muscles Used In Hammer Curls

Hammer-Curls-Muscles-Used

The following muscles are used in the hammer curls exercise:

  • Biceps Brachii
  • Brachialis
  • Brachioradialis (forearms)

Anterior Deltoids (shoulders) and Trapezius muscles (shoulder-neck) are used as stabilizers.

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