Hammer Curls vs Bicep Curls Explained

Hammer Curls vs Bicep Curls

Alright, listen up, meatheads, today we’re gonna talk about this love story: hammer curls vs bicep curls! “Why a love story?” you’ll ask… Well because we love both of them! Who doesn’t want to go to the gym and do biceps all day, every day?

Ever stare at those shredded dudes with arms that look like they could crush watermelons with their bare hands? Yeah, me too bro. But here’s the secret – building those guns isn’t just about endless bicep curls.

It’s about incorporating the right exercises, and that’s where hammer curls come in. These bad boys might seem like a bicep curl variation, but trust me, they’re a game-changer for adding some serious definition to your arms.

Hammer Curls vs Bicep Curls – Overview

biceps curls

Let’s be honest, big, strong biceps are like a seal of approval for any gym bro, or gym rat, if you may be one. They not only look impressive, but they also play a crucial role in upper body strength and pulling power.

Think about all those awesome pulling exercises like rows and pull-ups – your biceps are key players there. But here’s the catch – there are different ways to target your biceps and two of the most common exercises are hammer curls and bicep curls.

Both are effective, but they work your muscles in slightly different ways.

What Muscles Do Hammer Curls Work?

hammer curls

Imagine your forearm as a fortress protecting your grip strength. That’s where the brachioradialis comes in – the main muscle hammer curls target. This warrior lives on the outer side of your forearm and helps you with wrist flexion and gripping like a champ.

Think about crushing a handshake or hanging from a bar – that’s your brachioradialis flexing its might. Now, hammer curls also activate your biceps brachii (the long head), the main muscle that gives your upper arm that bicep peak.

Plus, you get some bonus work for your brachialis, another muscle that helps bend your elbow. If you want big forearms, check out this link.

Additional Benefits for Forearms

Here’s the beauty of hammer curls – they double down on forearm development. Compared to bicep curls, hammer curls put more emphasis on your brachioradialis, leading to stronger forearms and a grip that would make Popeye proud.

Strong forearms aren’t just for show, though. They help with everything from lifting weights and opening jars to improving your grip on a tennis racket (because who wants to lose a match because their racket flew across the court?).

What Muscles Do Bicep Curls Work?

biceps curls

Bicep curls are the OG bicep exercise, and for good reason. These bad boys primarily target both the long and short heads of your biceps brachii, the muscles responsible for flexing your elbow and creating that crazy bicep peak.

You also get some secondary activation of the brachialis, just like with hammer curls. But these curls put more stress on the biceps than on the forearm, also making the biceps wider, rather than growing more in “exterior”.

Hammer Curls vs Bicep Curls: Key Differences

Now, let’s see the reason why you’re all here.

The biggest difference comes down to muscle recruitment. Hammer curls, with that neutral grip (palms facing each other), target your brachioradialis more, and put a slightly different twist on bicep activation.

Bicep curls, on the other hand, with the supinated grip (palms facing up), focus more on overall bicep development. This neutral grip in hammer curls can also be easier on your wrists, especially if you have any wrist pain or discomfort with regular bicep curls.

Hammer Curls Benefits

If this was not enough like you need motivation to do biceps curls or hammer curls .. here are a few reasons to add hammer curls to your bicep workout routine:

Forearm Frenzy: As we mentioned, hammer curls are fantastic for building strong forearms and a powerful grip. AKA you won’t struggle to open those pickle jars!

Mind-Muscle Connection: The neutral grip in hammer curls can help you focus more on the contraction in your brachioradialis, leading to a better mind-muscle connection. This means you’ll be squeezing those muscles harder for maximum growth. Don’t forget to let them down slowly, you need to control the negative too!

Elbow Friendly: For those of you with elbow issues, including myself, the neutral grip in hammer curls can be a safer bicep exercise compared to regular bicep curls. That’s because the weight will hang on more on your biceps, rather than the wrist.

When to Include Hammer Curls

hammer curls

Here are a couple of ways to incorporate hammer curls into your workouts:

Every time, if you are crazy enough! Yes, you do a set or two of 20 hammers as a warmup for any workout that you’re doing that day.. Of course 20 with a lightweight baby!

Primary Bicep Exercise: If forearm strength and a great look are your goals, then I will recommend you use hammer curls as your primary bicep exercise.

Complementary Exercise: You can also do hammer curls after bicep curls as a finisher to really hit your forearms and brachioradialis and leave no muscle fiber unworked.

Final Thoughts

Look bro, both hammer curls and bicep curls are valuable tools for building strong, defined arms. It’s not a one-size-fits-all situation.

Experiment with both exercises to see what works best for your goals and body mechanics. Remember, proper form is crucial! Don’t just crank out reps with bad form – focus on controlled movements and feeling the squeeze in your biceps (and forearms!) throughout the exercise.

Here’s a pro tip: Don’t be afraid to get creative! You can try different variations of hammer curls, like seated hammer curls or dumbbell hammer curls with a slight twist at the top of the movement to target the peak of your biceps.

The key is to keep challenging your muscles and progressing in weight or reps over time.

Now, enough talking, go get those big guns!

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