Hammer Curls: Learn Proper Form to Maximize Your Results

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A hammer curl is a variation of the biceps curl and targets muscles in the upper and lower arm. While this exercise is almost always performed with a dumbbell, you can do it with cables or bands. Hammer curls are a great addition to your upper-body strength routine.Hammer Curls: Learn Proper Form to Maximize Your Results

How to Do Hammer Curls

Maintain a straight posture (without being rigid or locked) and place your knees beneath your hips. With a dumbbell in each hand and the weights positioned next to your outer thigh, you have your arms by your sides. With your shoulders relaxed, your thumbs pointing forward and your palms toward the thighs.
Hammer Curls: Learn Proper Form to Maximize Your Results

  1. Lift your lower arms and pull the weights up to your shoulders by bending at the elbows. Your upper arms are still, and your wrists and forearms are lined up.
  2. At the height of the movement, hold for one second. Your hands should be facing inward toward your body’s midline, with your thumbs near to your shoulders.
  3. Lower the weights to return to the starting position.

Benefits of Hammer Curls

Hammer curls work the biceps brachii, considered a “vanity muscle” because it is easily visible on the front of your body.People looking to get a muscular appearance often target the biceps for a more athletic look.Hammer Curls: Learn Proper Form to Maximize Your Results

Within the body, biceps brachii is an elbow flexor because it is responsible for the bending movement at the elbow joint. It also helps to rotate (supinate) the forearm Hammer Curls: Learn Proper Form to Maximize Your Results.

When performing daily duties that require lifting and carrying huge objects, having strong biceps comes in helpful.These muscles assist with other arm-based movements, like closing a door or pulling objects toward or across your body Hammer Curls: Learn Proper Form to Maximize Your Results.

Hammer curls are one way to build stronger biceps muscles and provide greater definition and increased strength.3 Including it in your exercise program may also help increase wrist stability and grip strength.4

Pagaduan J. Effects of a six-week strength training and upper body plyometrics in male college basketball physical education students. Sport SPA. 2015;12(1):11-16.Hammer Curls: Learn Proper Form to Maximize Your Results

Other Variations of Hammer Curls

Hammer curls can be altered to better suit your objectives and degree of fitness.

Alternating Hammer Curls

If you find it too difficult to maintain perfect form when performing hammer curls, consider alternating.
Instead of lifting both arms simultaneously, lift the right arm and lower, then lift the left and lower. Continue to alternate sides.Hammer Curls: Learn Proper Form to Maximize Your Results

Incline Hammer Curls

Another variation is to use a seated incline bench to perform hammer curls. When seated, the starting position places the arms behind your hips and helps to reduce shoulder involvement Hammer Curls: Learn Proper Form to Maximize Your Results. Otherwise, the same movements apply. Lift the weights to the shoulders before lowering them again Hammer Curls: Learn Proper Form to Maximize Your Results.

Preacher Hammer Curls

Some exercise aficionados do hammer curls on a preacher bench. A preacher bench’s padded, angled armrest allows you to isolate your upper arm while lifting larger weights, which works your biceps.

Adjust the padded armrest so its top is just touching your armpits. Rest your upper arms against the padding, extend your elbows, and hold the weights so your palms face each other. Lift the weights to your shoulders, then lower them back down.Hammer Curls: Learn Proper Form to Maximize Your Results

Hammer Curls Power Squat

Make hammer curls more challenging by adding a squat. This helps you work your legs and glutes while also working your arms. After lifting the weights to the shoulders, drop into a squat position. Hold briefly, stand back up, and return the weights to your side.Hammer Curls: Learn Proper Form to Maximize Your Results

Hammer Curls: Common Mistakes

Avoid these common errors to keep hammer curls safe while maximizing their effectiveness.

Using Momentum

During hammer curls, using momentum reduces your capacity to gain strength. Since momentum takes over and you lose control, swinging motions may also increase your risk of injury.

If you begin hammer curls by leaning slightly forward and bringing the weights behind your hips, you can determine if you are using momentum. You can wind up for the workload with your body in this position.

Using momentum is often a sign that you are lifting too much weight. If you notice yourself winding up before each repetition, decrease the weight and focus on form.

 5 Health-Related Components of Fitness

Curling Too Fast

Hammer curls employ a relatively small range of motion, so it’s easy to rush through this exercise and use quick movements, especially during the lowering phase.

Taking your time on the way up and down allows you to control the movements and focus on form. Slowing your movements also adds more challenge because you must engage your muscles for a longer time.Hammer Curls: Learn Proper Form to Maximize Your Results

Curling too fast can also be a sign that you’re not lifting enough weight. Both the concentric or shortening phase (when you lift the weight) and the eccentric or lengthening phase (when you lower the weight) should last about two breaths.

Floating Elbows

It’s easy to allow the elbows to float away from the body during hammer curls. While this engages other muscles in the lift, such as the deltoids (shoulders), the more you engage other muscles the less you target the biceps.

Keep your elbows in a stable, fixed position and concentrate on moving only the lower arm during hammer curls. If you can’t lift weight without moving your elbow, the weight is too heavy.

Safety and Precautions

While hammer curls are appropriate for most exercisers, those with lower arm injuries (such as carpal tunnel syndrome) may need an alternate exercise or modification.

Tension in the biceps indicates that the movement is working and effectively targeting your upper-arm muscles. However, stop if you feel pain when performing hammer curls.

When first starting, try two sets of 7 to 10 repetitions each. As you get stronger and more flexible, add repetitions first. Then add more weight.

 

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