Dumbbell Hammer Curl
When it comes to building big biceps no gym-goer needs an introduction to the bicep curl.
Most guys alternate between the three version they’re most familiar with – the regular dumbbell curl, the barbell curl and the over the knee concentration curl.
There’s no doubt that provided you’re hitting your biceps with progressive overload by increasing the weight, reps or time under tension for each set they’ll grow.
If you want to build monumental biceps, if you want to avoid the plateaus that often come as a result of sticking to one or two versions of the regular bicep curl you need to work on the hammer curl.
The Hammer Curl
The hammer curl is a very similar movement to the regular bicep curl, however the weight is continually held in a neutral grip, without the typical twist performed when curling a dumbbell up.
Optional: Arm Blaster
Dumbbell Hammer Curl Form:
Stand up straight with a dumbbell in each hand, rotate your palms until they’re facing inward (towards your torso) and tuck your elbows into your sides.
Curl the dumbbells up one at a time by contracting your biceps and moving your forearm, your upper arm should not move at all.
Curl until the dumbbell is at shoulder height.
Squeeze and hold this contraction for one second.
Slowly lower the dumbbell back down until your arm is extended in front of you.
Repeat with alternate arm.
Dumbbell Hammer Curl Variations
Incline Hammer Curl
A hammer curl while performed laying down on a incline bench adjusted to a 45 degree angle.
The dead hang of the arms ensures no momentum or swinging comes into play while performing your hammer curls – providing superior isolation.
Side Hammer Curl
A hammer curl performed one dumbbell at a time being curled up towards the sternum.
Performed with palms facing towards your body.
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Common Dumbbell Hammer Curl Mistakes
Every guy in the gym wants to swing around heavy weight on biceps, I get that.
As I said earlier – if you want to build big arms you’re going to have to lift heavy, HOWEVER form always have and always will take priority over the weight being lifted.
The bottom portion of a bicep curl is without a doubt the hardest portion of the movement, and when lifting too heavy many gym-goers attempt to swing backwards or hip thrust to attempt to move the weight.
Using momentum to move the weight takes tension off the bicep, doing you no good.
If you’re swinging and swaying your back on every repetition you’re also placing your lower back at a high risk of injury – not good.
Pick a weight that’s heavy for you to perform with good form, save the cheat curls for Arnold.
Performing Curls Too Often
it didn’t take me long to realize that training my arms every single day wasn’t getting me very far in terms of results given all the effort I was exerting.
The biceps act as the secondary muscle group when we’re training back, and the triceps act as the secondary muscle group when we’re training chest.
Training chest, back and one dedicated arm day per week (or triceps and biceps split up onto seperate days instead) is more than enough to build big, strong arms.
More isn’t always better – if you’re training frequency is any higher than this you may very well be hindering your own progress, like all other muscle groups the biceps and triceps require time to recover.
Lifting Too Light
If you don’t generally train in the lower rep range I recommend you give it a try, stop lifting in the 10 – 15 rep range for at least a month and focus on heavy, low rep sets. Once you start to see results you won’t want to go back.
Now, you may still think high reps are beneficial, but let me tell you they’re far from it.
High repetitions result in increased stress on your CNS, increase in localized inflammation and increased soreness.
“Movements or exercises that do not give the muscle the required resistance, but are the kind that involve a great number of repetitions, never break down any tissue, to speak of. These movements involve a forcing process that cause the blood to swell up the muscle, and simply pump them up”– George F. Jowett, 1926
Similar & Substitute Exercises
- Barbell Bicep Curl
- Dumbbell Preacher Curl
- Seated Dumbbell Incline Curl