Hammer Curls: Benefits, Variations, and Common Mistakes

If you’re looking for an upper body strength routine, hammer curls are sure to become your go-to workout. The 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 for building bicep muscles and would surely be a great addition to your regime.

What is the difference between a hammer curl and a bicep curl?

Wanitha Ashok, fitness trainer and Fit India ambassador, explains that although both work the same muscles, they are performed differently. “The hammer curl is done with the palms facing each other and curling them toward the shoulder while keeping the elbows close to the body. The biceps curl works the same muscle and is performed by rotating the dumbbells forward and up toward the shoulders and back,” she says.

How does a hammer loop help?

Hammer curls are great for your biceps and forearms. The main area of ​​focus in a hammer curl is the brachialis, which is the long part of the biceps. It also helps train a key forearm muscle called the brachioradialis. “This is a variation exercise for the biceps muscle that targets the biceps and forearms, helping to improve overall upper body strength. It helps reduce the risk of injury during daily activities that involve lifting or carrying objects. Hammer curls, when performed in combination with bicep 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, keeping 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 body and keep your back straight. Curl the dumbbell toward your opposite shoulder, paying special attention to keeping your elbow in a stable, fixed position. Stop when your elbow is at a 90-degree angle and hold your 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 a good level of resistance.

  • Chest Supported Hammer Curl

    You would need an incline bench for this one. Start by resting your chest on the upper part of the bench. Your arms, in this position, should be pointed toward the floor, with your palms facing each other. Now raise the dumbbells to your shoulders and lower them. Once you have them back, make sure to fully stretch your arms.

  • Banded hammer curl

    As the name suggests, you’ll need bands for this one. Keep the band under your feet and stretch it up to your hands. Your palms should face each other. Now roll the band upwards, bending your elbows but not moving your upper arms. Return to your starting position.

  • Swiss Hammer Curl Bar

    Stand straight with the Swiss bar in your palms. Flex your triceps, keep your elbows and arms straight, then curl the Swiss bar up to your shoulders. Lower it slowly.

The hammer curl can be a very effective form of training, if done correctly.

Common Mistakes When Doing Hammer Curls

According to Ashok, there are two main mistakes in most hammer curl variations.

  • Using heavier weights too soon: This can lead to injury. It’s best to use less weight and focus on more repetitions with proper form.
  • Using body momentum to complete the exercise rather than muscles: This often happens because the athlete lacks knowledge or uses too much weight.

She says: “The hammer curl can prove to be a very effective form of training, if done in the right way. It is important to understand exercise physiology. If you are lacking in this area, you can always consider hiring the services of a certified fitness coach, who can structure the workout routine.

When should you do hammer curls and how many?

Hammer curls can be an integral part of your upper body workout routine. However, it is important to remember that when introducing them, repetitions and sets should be planned gradually. “Start with fewer reps, build up the reps and sets, and gradually increase,” says Ashok.

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