If you are looking for an upper body strength routine, hammer curls are surely going to become your go-to workout. 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 to build those bicep muscles, and would surely be a great addition to your regime.
What is the difference between a hammer curl and bicep curls?
Wanitha Ashok, fitness coach and Fit India Ambassador, explains that while the two work the same muscle, they are executed differently. “The hammer curl is done with palms facing each other and curling it up towards the shoulder while keeping the elbows close to the body. Bicep curl works the same muscle and is executed by turning the dumbbells to the front and taking it up to the shoulders and back,” she says.
How does a hammer curl help?
Hammer curls are great for your biceps and your forearms. The main area of focus in a hammer curl is Brachialis, which is the long part of the bicep. It also helps workout a key forearm muscle called brachioradialis. “It’s a variation exercise for the bicep muscle and targets the biceps and forearms, helping improve overall upper body strength. It helps reduce the risk of injury in daily activities that involve lifting or carrying objects. Hammer curls, when done 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 inwards. It should be resting just above your thigh. Ensure that your elbow is in a comfortable position and close to your side. Stand tall, engage your core, and keep your back straight. Curl the dumbbell up towards your opposite shoulder, paying particular attention to keeping your elbow in a stable and fixed position. Stop when your elbow is at a 90-degree angle, and hold your position for at least two seconds. Slowly bring the dumbbell back towards the starting position, until your arm is extended again. Keep a slight bend in your arm 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 portion of the bench. Your arms, in this position, should be pointed at the floor, with palms facing each other. Now, raise the dumbbells to your shoulders and lower them. Once you bring them back, make sure to stretch your arms out fully.
Banded Hammer curl
As the name suggests, you would need bands for this one. Keep the band under your feet and stretch it up to your hands. Your palms must be facing each other. Now, curl the band upward by bending your elbows but not moving your upper arms. Return to your starting position.
Swiss bar Hammer curl
Stand up straight with the Swiss bar in your palms. Flex your triceps, keep your elbows and arms straight and then curl the Swiss bar upto your shoulders. Slowly lower it back.
Common mistakes while doing hammer curls
According to Ashok, there are two primary mistakes for most hammer curl variations.
- Using heavier weights too early: This can lead to an injury. It’s better to use less weight and focus on more reps with proper form.
- Using the body’s momentum to complete the exercise instead of muscle: This often happens because the lifter might lack knowledge or is using too much weight.
She says, “The hammer curl can prove to be a very effective form of workout, if it’s done in the right manner. It is important to understand exercise physiology. If you lack in this area, you can always consider taking the services of a certified fitness coach, who can structure the workout routine.”
When should hammer curls be done and how many?
Hammer curls can be a regular part of your upper body workout routine. However, it is important to remember that while introducing these, the reps and sets should be progressively planned. “Start with fewer reps and build the reps and sets and gradually increase,” says Ashok.