Hammer Curls vs. Biceps Curls: The Struggle for Larger Hands

It doesn’t take a lot to persuade most of the people within the health club to twist. If you wish to have an excellent body, an intense pump, and extra power within the health club, you’ll in finding time to do a little curls.

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However with such a lot of curl diversifications, which motion do you select? And the way steadily will have to you do them? How do you are compatible curls into an already packed practicing program? Those are the questions you wish to have to take on, so you’ll make a extra knowledgeable determination and win a a method price tag to Armsville. 

To unravel it, let’s have a look at two vintage biceps-building staples: the hammer curl, which is carried out with a impartial (thumbs-up) grip and the usual dumbbell biceps curl carried out with a supinated, or palms-up, grip. Via ranging from sq. one, you’ll be informed sufficient to start constructing your fingers successfully and successfully. 

Hammer Curl and Biceps Curl

Hammer Curl and Biceps Curl Variations

Those two workouts might seem just about equivalent, however the rather refined distinction in grip is chargeable for a large distinction in effects.

Muscle Recruitment

The serve as of the biceps muscle is to create flexion (bending) on the elbow and supination (rotation) on the wrist. The thumbs-up place of the hammer curl avoids supination and extra particularly objectives the brachialis and brachioradialis, whilst a completely supinated grip (fingers up) emphasizes the biceps brachii. (1)

The brachialis is a robust elbow flexor, cut loose the “primary” biceps brachii at the entrance of the higher arm. The brachialis sits beneath the biceps, nearer to the bone. It’s believed that focused on the brachialis could have the impact of “pushing up” the biceps to make it seem larger, no longer not like dressed in shoe lifts to look taller.

This anatomical trickery won’t yield important effects, for the reason that biceps brachii remains to be stimulated to develop irrespective of the grip used, but it surely’s price a check out. Hammer curls additionally recruit the brachioradialis, which is a rather better muscle operating alongside the highest of the forearm and over the elbow joint, close to the decrease portion of the biceps.

Woman at home performing dumbbell curl
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The hammer grip additionally rather emphasizes the quick head of the biceps, whilst a supinated grip turns on the lengthy head of the biceps muscle extra strongly. (2) Because of this, you’re going to generally really feel a distinction for your arm stress when appearing both motion. Each diversifications do paintings each heads of the biceps, however the emphasis is shifted rather from one to the opposite. 

Muscular Rigidity

The supinated grip places the biceps right into a rather longer stretched place. For this reason you generally really feel tightness when your arm is absolutely straightened within the backside place. The neutral-grip place of the hammer curl places the muscle groups right into a rather “rested” place, relatively than a protracted stretched place.

To create extra stress within the backside place of a hammer curl, you’ll carry out the workout seated for an incline hammer curl, which brings your fingers at the back of your physique. You’ll create much more stress the usage of a supinated-grip curl via bringing your fingers in entrance of the physique via appearing a preacher curl or spider curl.

Workout Similarities

Those two dumbbell curls are, basically, identical. They require you to transport a weight with strict elbow flexion, which brings the load out of your hip-level to near-shoulder top.

Focused Biceps Coaching

The biceps curl and hammer curl are each isolation workouts, which creates movement at one unmarried joint (the elbow, on this case). This sort of motion isn’t like a compound workout, which creates movement at two or extra joints — the chin-up, for instance, comes to each the shoulder and elbow joints.

Via limiting motion to a unmarried joint, muscular rigidity is concentrated at the goal muscle and isn’t disbursed considerably throughout a couple of muscle groups. For this reason it’s essential to make use of strict shape and stay your elbow close to your ribs whilst you curl.

long-haired person in gym doing dumbbell curl
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When you swing the load and let your elbow break out out of your torso whilst you curl, you create motion on the shoulder joint which will take activation clear of the biceps muscle.

Method Variations

When looking at a lifter appearing a hammer curl and evaluating them to a lifter appearing an ordinary biceps curl, one key distinction will stand above the rest.

Hand Place

A metamorphosis as reputedly easy as turning your hand by some means may no longer appear to be a large deal, but it surely’s chargeable for figuring out which arm muscle groups are recruited and the way onerous they’re labored.

With a thumbs-up hand place, your brachioradialis is put right into a automatically more potent place to transport the load. The biceps brachii, whilst nonetheless recruited, is moved right into a much less sturdy pulling place because of the construction of the muscle, tendons, and surrounding buildings. (3)

This refined, but extremely efficient, alternate in grip isn’t not like appearing pull-ups (with a palm-down grip) in comparison to appearing chin-ups (the usage of a supinated or palm-up grip). On this case, once more, a easy alternate in hand place shifts the muscular emphasis out of your again (with pull-ups) on your biceps (with chin-ups). (4)

For the reason that brachialis is best chargeable for elbow flexion, and no longer supination, it’s a rather more potent arm muscle. (5) For this reason many lifters can carry out hammer curls the usage of heavier weights than they use with biceps curls. This additionally makes the 2 workouts very efficient for supersetting in combination, appearing a suite of biceps curls till muscular fatigue after which right away appearing further repetitions with hammer curls.

Methods to Do the Hammer Curl

Rise up protecting a couple of dumbbells at arms-length, together with your fingers dealing with in on your middle. Pull your shoulders again and flex your abs. Pin your elbows on your facets.

Curl the load via riding your thumbs as much as the fronts of your shoulders. Pause in short within the most sensible place ahead of straightening your fingers again to the beginning place.

Shape Tip: The brachialis, which is focused via the hammer curl, responds rather well to sluggish lifting speeds. (6) As a substitute of appearing hammer curls with an impressive, explosive motion, decelerate to stay that muscle underneath extra constant stress. Take 3 seconds to twist the weights to the highest place, pause for one 2nd, decrease the weights in 3 seconds, and pause on the backside for one 2nd.


  • The hammer curl permits you to use rather heavier weights, which will lend a hand power positive factors.
  • This workout objectives muscle groups no longer generally emphasised with different curl diversifications, in particular the brachialis and brachioradialis.

Hammer Curl Diversifications

The hammer curl is basically outlined via the usage of a impartial grip or thumbs-up curling place. You’ll hit your fingers with some selection via the usage of the similar hand place with numerous actions.

Kettlebell Curl

That is the most typical means so as to add biceps practicing to a kettlebell exercise. Via grabbing the kettlebell via the “horns,” your fingers are installed a basically thumbs-up place and also you get the advantages of a hammer curl the usage of a unmarried kettlebell.

The kettlebell curl will also be simply added as one of those transition workout between better actions, like squats or rows, or it may be used as a finisher for added arm practicing after a excessive depth exercise.

Move-body Curl

This single-arm hammer curl variation, also known as a pinwheel curl, strikes the load throughout your physique as a substitute of shifting at once ahead. This motion reduces the variability of movement, which helps you to use a rather heavier weight.

The crossbody curl is steadily finished alternating fingers with each and every repetition, however will also be carried out with one arm at a time for much more time underneath stress.

Methods to Do the Biceps Curl

Rise up protecting a couple of dumbbells at arms-length, together with your fingers dealing with ahead. Pull your shoulders again and flex your abs. Pin your elbows on your facets.

Stay your fingers point together with your fingers dealing with up as you curl the weights towards your shoulders. Don’t permit your elbows to come back ahead within the most sensible place. Decrease to a complete extension.

Shape Tip: Use a sluggish eccentric (reducing segment), taking as much as 3 seconds to increase your fingers, however power up powerfully and lift the load in a single 2nd. This will likely position the biceps underneath stress right through the reducing segment and make allowance sturdy drive manufacturing when lifting the load.


  • The biceps curl emphasizes the biceps brachii by itself, with restricted involvement from different muscle groups.
  • This staple workout is rather easy to be told and program, making it an effective workout for any biceps-training program.

Biceps Curl Diversifications

The vintage supinated biceps curl will also be tailored to many various actions, adjusting vary of movement, muscular stress, and different variables to supply a distinct muscle-building stimulus.

Dumbbell Preacher Curl

The preacher curl provides balance from the pad and stops dishonest via taking out the power to swing the load. That makes this one of the vital strict and maximum biceps-intensive workouts round.

The stretch within the backside place will also be excessive, relying to your flexibility. Scale back the chance of harm via running inside your personal efficient vary of movement and, if vital, averting complete lockout with this workout to cut back pressure at the biceps tendons.

Cable Curl

The cable curl is a high-tension variation that makes use of a cable pulley as a substitute of unfastened weights. This consistent stress creates a better cause for muscle expansion in comparison to dumbbells, which depend on leverage and gravity to provide resistance.

The cable curl will also be carried out with numerous handles, in addition to single-arm, for much more selection and expansion stimulus.

Figuring out the Absolute best Curl for Your Function

The wonderful thing about this determination is that you simply virtually can’t get it flawed. It’s no longer like opting for between a again squat or a entrance squat, which might be carried out very otherwise and yield very other effects. It’s extra like deciding in case you’re going to place the cereal or the milk within the bowl first. The result is principally the similar, however you get to select the order you favor. Alternatively, there are only a few issues to imagine.

For Power

If you’re practicing basically for power, come with extra hammer curls for your program. Having the ability to get extra practicing quantity to the brachialis goes to come up with extra help in workouts like pull-ups, rows, or even deadlifts. For the reason that brachialis is a more potent arm muscle, you’ll use heavier weights for an excellent larger power stimulus.

For Muscle Measurement

In case your purpose is physique-focused, paintings extra on supinated-grip biceps curls. This will likely take the muscle groups thru a better vary of motion, which is a significant key for hypertrophy. (7) Pairing this kind of practicing with some hammer curls the usage of slower tempos will cause primary arm positive factors, whilst additionally ensuring you’ve bother lifting your toothbrush day after today.

Higher Curls for Higher Hands

Biceps practicing for sure doesn’t need to be sophisticated, but it surely does need to be well-planned for optimum effects. Now that you recognize why and when to make use of each and every workout, you’re in a greater place to design a regimen that takes your arm workout routines to the following point.


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  2. Jarrett, C. D., Weir, D. M., Stuffmann, E. S., Jain, S., Miller, M. C., & Schmidt, C. C. (2012). Anatomic and biomechanical research of the quick and lengthy head elements of the distal biceps tendon. Magazine of shoulder and elbow surgical procedure21(7), 942–948. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jse.2011.04.030
  3. Kleiber, T., Kunz, L., & Disselhorst-Klug, C. (2015). Muscular coordination of biceps brachii and brachioradialis in elbow flexion with admire handy place. Frontiers in body structure6, 215. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2015.00215
  4. Youdas, J. W., Amundson, C. L., Cicero, Ok. S., Hahn, J. J., Harezlak, D. T., & Hollman, J. H. (2010). Floor electromyographic activation patterns and elbow joint movement right through a pull-up, chin-up, or perfect-pullup™ rotational workout. Magazine of power and conditioning analysis24(12), 3404–3414. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181f1598c
  5. Plantz MA, Bordoni B. Anatomy, Shoulder and Higher Limb, Brachialis Muscle. [Updated 2022 Feb 22]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. To be had from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK551630/
  6. Kulig, Ok., Powers, C. M., Shellock, F. G., & Terk, M. (2001). The results of eccentric pace on activation of elbow flexors: analysis via magnetic resonance imaging. Medication and science in sports activities and workout33(2), 196–200. https://doi.org/10.1097/00005768-200102000-00004
  7. Baroni, B. M., Pompermayer, M. G., Cini, A., Peruzzolo, A. S., Radaelli, R., Brusco, C. M., & Pinto, R. S. (2017). Complete Vary of Movement Induces Larger Muscle Harm Than Partial Vary of Movement in Elbow Flexion Workout With Unfastened Weights. Magazine of power and conditioning analysis31(8), 2223–2230. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0000000000001562

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