Build Big Arms With The Hammer Curl (2021)

Want to know how to build bigger arms quickly? Check out Hammer Curl, a mass gaining bicep workout guarantee to grow those guns!
✍️ Written by James Chandler
|
📅 Updated on August 10, 2021
|
🏷️ ,
🕒 11 minutes read
Build bigger biceps with Hammer Curls
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Introduction

Need bigger arms, quickly? Or perhaps you have hit a plateau for quite awhile and looking for new arms workout to grow those huge guns!

Not to worry! Hammer Curls are well-known to produce massive gains in a short period of time when done correctly!

Let's dive in into Hammer Curls.

What Are Hammer Curls?

Hammer curls is the movement of weights which targets the primarily on the Brachialis (outer side of the biceps) and Brachioradialis.

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Hammer Curls Targeted Muscles

As you can see in the picture below, the Biceps Brachii of the long head (on the inner muscle) is being engaged to a greater extent when doing the hammer curls, as compared to the underhand-grip bicep curl.

Learn how to shoulder position can affect your curls.

Hammer Curls Muscles Worked Anatomy

You can also see that the hammer curl muscles worked are the Brachioradialis (inner side of the forearm). They are engaged to a greater extent during the movement of Hammer Curls.

This is because a study has shown that the bicep muscle has a biomechanical disadvantage when the wrist is in a pronated (Overhand) position.

Therefore, when working out in a neutral or hammer wrist position, the Brachioradialis tends to contribute more to the elbow flexion than the bicep, hence engaging the hammer curl muscles (Brachialis + Brachioradialis) at a higher intensity.

What is the Brachioradialis muscle?
Brachioradialis is the muscle on the forearm that assists with the elbow joint flex. It is also a major contribution to stabilize when the forearm pronate (when the palms faces away from the body) and supinate.

Why Choose Hammer Biceps Curls?

Reason #1: Targets less under-developed muscle group.

It is very common to see most lifters not being able to have a proportionate set of massive arms.

Why?

This is because performing regular bicep curls only will grow the biceps but leave the forearms under-developed.

It is the same analogy as the popular chicken-leg syndrome. It is to describe that the calves are tiny compared to the upper legs.

Since the Hammer Curls primarily work the Brachialis & Brachioradialis muscle groups, it will ensure that the outer part of the biceps and biceps are growing as well.

This will contribute to a nice proportionate massive arms.

Reason #2: Trains the strength of your grip

Since the "hammer position grip" is relatively more difficult to hold and stabilize compared to the regular supinated underhand-grip of the dumbbells, it indirectly trains the strength of your grip.

This will have long term benefits when performing other workouts as your grip will get stronger.

This will in turn contribute to growing bigger arms quickly since you can lift heavier weights and putting more stress on the muscles for them to adapt.

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Benefits of Hammer Curls

Benefit #1: Gains in Mass Size

The Hammer Curls provide growth in size and strength of the biceps (with the proper workout routine).

Bicep anatomy Brachialis vs Brachii

If you refer to the picture above, Hammer Curls benefits is it will make your biceps look longer and bigger as it targets the Brachialis and Brachioradialis muscles more. This is shown as #1 in the picture above.

Benefit #2: Gains in Strength and Stability

Hammer Curls are considered isolated exercises as they aim to provide more intensity on a smaller muscle group.

An arms hammer curl variation will also help in strengthening and stabilizing the wrists joints to prevent injuries.

We recommend progressive overloading method.

This is training method where you can slowly increase the weights used during the workout so your muscles can grow and adapt to the progressive stress placed on the targeted muscle groups.

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Exercise Guide to Hammer Curls

We have covered which muscle groups the hammer curls will target. We have also covered how hammer curls contribute to bigger gains for the arms.

Now we'll be covering on how to be able to do a proper hammer curl.

Before starting a workout routine on your arms, we strongly recommend to do it at the end of a workout after you have done 3-4 compound exercises.

By doing so, you would've engaged your arms biceps to a certain extent and worn out your major muscle groups.

If you perform isolation workouts such as your biceps while your major muscle groups are still fresh, there are chances you might engage the major muscle groups instead, and not work on the targeted muscle group - arms.

Towards the end of a workout, when your major muscles are slightly worn, would be the best time to engage isolation workouts for your arms to get the biggest reward out of it.

Do ensure that you practice correct posture and do not feel any pains in joints or muscles while performing your set.

If you are lifting too light, you would not feel any burn in your muscles.

If you are lifting too heavy, you would engage the wrong muscle group to compensate the weaker targeted muscle group.

This will lead to higher risk of injuries which we do not recommend.

Tips To Take Note:

  • To fully engage as much biceps as possible, keep your elbows in place throughout the whole curl movement.
  • Lifting your arms and elbows forward could engage your frontal deltoids instead.
  • Lift weights that are heavy enough that will push you for 8-12 reps since you are going for hypertrophy (mass gains).
  • Lifting too heavy will cause unnecessary strains on your joints and wrist which can lead to injuries.
  • If you're training with a buddy, ask them to spot you for the last few repetitions to really get that burn.
  • Do not lock your knees and keep your back and neck in neutral position at all times.

Last but not least, the final pro tip is to focus on the effective range of motion as compared to the full range of motion when it comes to workout out the arms.

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What is the full range of motion?
Full range of motion refers to the potential complete movement of a specific joint, including the range of extension and flexion.

When working out the arms, the full range of motion is the complete extension of the arm (straight, but do not lock the elbows) to the complete curl position.

Why do we not use full range when working out the arms? When doing arm curls, the risk of injuries increases significantly on the movement of the last 25% of the elbow’s extension.

This is especially true at heavier weights.

What is the effective range of motion?
Effective range of motion of any particular exercise is the point where muscular tension and engagement is maintained without completing the entire movement of complete extension or contraction.

In the case for arm curls, it will be from the top of the curl up to about 80% extension of the elbow.

80% movement is the recommended range of motion that allows us to lift the optimal heavy weights with minimal risks for injuries such as torn biceps and elbow joint problems.

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Variations of Arm Hammer Curls Exercises

There are many variations of the hammer curls. Basically similar exercises which targets the same muscles worked when doing a Hammer Curl.

There's a further subset of these 2 main exercises that can give countless variations of exercises that targets the same muscle group.

Over here at fitnessmonsterr.com, we prefer to keep it old school and go for simple movements with the correct momentum for the best massive gains!

We are a strong believer in not making exercises complex, but yet focus on full contraction that provides great intensity for the targeted muscle groups.

Even with carrying a lighter weight, done with controlled momentum and posture can be tougher to perform, as compared to heavier weights with no proper form such as swinging and using body movement momentum.

Put your ego aside at the gym and go with basics. Get the fundamentals and movement right, and you'll see the rewards for a long-term in your fitness journey.

Do take note that due to our bodies built differently, there will be certain exercises that will strain your joints more than others.

In this case, variations of exercises exist so that there will be exercises best suited for everyone.

We will provide variations of both arm curls using dumbbells as free weights are the best in our opinion.

The gravity and controlled free movement of the weights allow you to engage your targeted muscle groups more efficiently.

Hammer Curls Variations

#1: Standing Cross Body Hammer Curls

Standing crossbody hammer curls gif

Similar to the standing dumbbell bicep curl, the only difference will be the movement that it'll cross body. Refer to the animation above.

The movement will be diagonal across your body but will still engage the forearms and Brachialis greatly!

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#2: Seated Incline Hammer Curl

Seated incline dumbbell hammer curl gif

Another similar exercise to the seated incline dumbbell curl, this time round, the palms are facing inwards and your wrist in neutral position.

Curl your weights in the hammer grip and lift slowly until you fully contract your biceps.

This exercise should hit your Brachialis real good for that burn, due to a wide range of motion throughout this exercise.

#3: Standing Cable Hammer Curl

Standing Cable Hammer Curl gif

Due to limited simple hammer curl variations, we'll introduce you to an arms workout using the cable machine.

This exercise would allow you to experiment the movement of your curl.

Pro Tip: If you would like to target the Brachialis even more, make sure you twist your motion away from your body as you pull up the rope, similar to forming a 'V' with your arms.

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Workout Routine of Bicep Hammer Curls - When To Do For Optimal Arm Growth?

Different people have their own different workout routine. We do not specifically plan a day just for arms, but you can if you would like to.

In our opinion, arms are too small of a muscle group to dedicate a day of gym session for it.

Therefore, what we usually do is to start off with the compound exercises targeting the major muscle groups such as your back muscles or chest muscles, plus engaging the minor muscle groups at the same time.

For example, a standing dumbbell row which targets the back muscles will also engage the biceps throughout the exercise movement.

After performing 4-5 different compound exercises, your major muscle groups would be worn out by now.

Then when you perform the arms workout, you will tend to not rely on the major muscle group (since they are worn out) but to fully engage the isolated muscle such as the biceps to get the best results for massive gains!

After performing your compound exercises, below is an arms workout routine you can include before ending your gym session.

1) Standing Dumbbell Bicep Hammer Curl

  • 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions
  • Rest for 60-90 seconds in between sets

2) Standing Cross Body Hammer Curls

  • 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions
  • Rest for 60-90 seconds in between sets

3) Seated Incline Hammer Curl

  • 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions
  • Rest for 60-90 seconds in between sets.

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Conclusion

In this article, we have covered how hammer curls can help you grow massive size for your arms quick!

Focus on the Brachialis and Brachioradialis (forearms) when you are performing hammer curls.

You will reap the reward on having bigger and longer biceps due to the muscles engage when executing the hammer curls!

What are you waiting for? Grab some weights and start curling to get those massive guns!

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👍 This article is written by James Chandler
James Chandler is a freelance personal fitness trainer that specialise in crossfit and bodyweight workouts, where he teaches people of all ages and fitness levels how to get strong and healthy.  His clients range from world class athletes to non-athletes who just want to feel and look great. When he is not training his clients or training for an event, he is in the gym training hard. He uses this platform to spread his knowledge on fitness and help as many people as possible.

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