Hammer Curls

  • Alternative Names: Dumbbell hammer curl, db hammer curl, standing hammer curl, bicep hammer curl
  • Type: Strength
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Equipment: Dumbbell
  • Muscles Targeted: Biceps, forearms
  • Mechanics: Isolation
  • Average Number of Sets: 2-3 with 8-15 reps each
  • Variations: Incline, rope, cross body, seated, and alternate hammer curls
  • Alternative: Preacher hammer dumbbell curl

Hammer curls, also called standing dumbbell hammer curls, are biceps exercises used for strengthening and toning your arms. The up and down (hammering) movement with dumbbells helps isolate your biceps and increase their size. Powerlifters commonly include these exercises in their arm workout routine.

Hammer Curls Exercise Information

  • Alternative Names: Dumbbell hammer curl, db hammer curl, standing hammer curl, bicep hammer curl
  • Type: Strength
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Equipment: Dumbbell
  • Muscles Targeted: Biceps, forearms
  • Mechanics: Isolation
  • Average Number of Sets: 2-3 with 8-15 reps each
  • Variations: Incline, rope, cross body, seated, and alternate hammer curls
  • Alternative: Preacher hammer dumbbell curl

Hammer Curls Vs. Regular Bicep Curls

The Form

Hammer curls involve holding the dumbbells at your sides with a neutral grip so that the palms are facing each other. The regular bicep curls are performed by grabbing the dumbbells using a supinated grip with the palms facing up.

Muscles Worked

The hammer curl evenly works both the long and short heads of your biceps while the standard biceps curl works the long head, increasing its mass and width thereby helping it to look bigger from the side.

Benefits

  • Since you perform it by imitating the movement of a hammer, it stretches and compresses the muscles at the same time and helps you to put stress on your biceps.
  • The neutral grip allows you to engage your forearms more than some of the other arm workouts.

How to do Hammer Curls

Stand upright holding a pair of dumbbells (weighing about 20-40 lbs) at arm’s length, keeping your elbows near the torso and the palms of your hands facing in. Holding the upper arms stationary, curl the dumbbells forward and continue raising them until you achieve full contraction and the dumbbells are at your shoulder level. Pause for 3-4 seconds and then lower the weights back to the initial position.

Standing Dumbbell Hammer Curl Tips

  • Avoid leaning back while moving the dumbbells up and down.
  • Make sure to perform the exercise with a slow pace so that the body momentum does not come into play.
  • Do not hyperextend your lower back. Contract your abs and keep the spine flat throughout the exercise.

Variations

  1. Incline Hammer Curl: Performed by sitting on an incline bench and holding a dumbbell in each hand, hanging at your sides.
  2. Rope Hammer Curl: Involves standing straight up and holding a rope attachment secured to a low pulley.
  3. Cross Body Hammer Curl: Performed in the same way as the basic hammer curl except that you curl the weight in your left arm toward the right shoulder and vice versa.
  4. Seated Hammer Curl: Is similar to incline hammer curl but you do it on a flat bench.
  5. Alternate Hammer Curl: Involves the same movement as the basic version except that you curl one weight at a time.

Alternative Exercise

Preacher Hammer Dumbbell Curl

Stay Connected

Get access to the latest health and fitness insights, tools and special offers to keep your career moving.