Hammer Curls

Why Hammer Curls are the Best Bicep Exercise

If there’s one muscle group that everyone wants to be big, it’s their biceps. For some reason (we all know the reason - big biceps look good!) it is the most popular body part to work out (with chest a close second), but what is best and quickest method to achieve substantial ‘guns’? Two words: Hammer Curls. What are they and how are the performed?

Hammer curls get their name from the fact that you hold them with a hammer-like grip when executing the exercise, although some people like to joke that they are named that way because they ‘hammer your biceps'! Whatever the reasoning behind the name one thing is for sure - if you perform them consistently and with a progressive overload (increasing the weight used every or every other session) then you will build some seriously huge arms. 

Performing Hammer Curls with Correct Form

Performing them is simple, but to give you a helping hand we’ve included a step-by-step guide below:

1) Hold the dumbbells at your sides with your palms facing each other (this is commonly known as a ‘neutral grip’).
2) Keep your body completely still (you don’t want any sway or help from the rest of your body - ensure your arms are doing all the work), flex your arms at the elbow and move the dumbbells towards your shoulders. 
3) When the dumbbell is one or two inches from touching your shoulders stop the movement and hold the position for one or two seconds.
4) Once you have held the dumbbells in position for your desired amount of time return them to your side. 

See, very straightforward! You can curl both arms together or alternate them, either way will work just as well.

Don’t make these mistakes when doing Hammer curls

As with most exercises there is a right way and a wrong way to perform them. To ensure maximum bicep recruitment and time under tension, be sure to follow the above guide and don’t fall into the trap of making these very common mistakes: 

Moving your body: If you move your body or use momentum to (help) move the weight then you are taking tension away from the target muscle, which results in less time under tension and therefore reduces gains in muscular size and strength. If you are struggling to shift the dumbbell without putting your body into it then drop the weight and perform using a lower load.

Moving the weight too quickly: If you perform hammer curls too quickly then you’ll severely reduce the amount of time under tension, which is required to induce muscle fibre breakdown and ultimately hypertrophy. The ideal TUT per set is around 40-60 seconds, so we’d highly advise a moderately fast contraction of the muscle, followed by a squeeze at the top for 3 seconds and then lowering the weight down for 2 seconds. This way, the total rep time per hammer curl will be around 5 seconds, meaning a set of 8 repetitions will give you 40 seconds TUT. If you want to increase the intensity even further then try lowering the weight even slower - by the middle of the set you’ll certainly be feeling the burn!

Grip: Try to grip the dumbbell in the middle of the handle with moderate pressure. Having it too tight or too loose may affect the effectiveness of your reps, which is not something that is ideal for those looking to build muscle!

If you want more information on Hammer Curls and bicep training, or even bodybuilding related then please visit: https://www.theironden.com/hammer-curls-for-building-big-arms/


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