The Real Difference Between Hammer Curls And Bicep Curls

People begin lifting weights for many reasons. One of the most common goals for weightlifters is developing large, muscular arms. While the arms are composed of many muscles, the biceps tend to be the most coveted among gym-goers. Getting large biceps requires specific exercises that will target the muscle effectively. Two of the best exercises for this arm muscle are hammer curls and bicep curls.

While they both work the biceps, there are some key differences between these two exercises. According to Men's Health, bicep curls focus on the peak of the bicep while hammer curls build muscle and strength throughout the entire arm. "A conventional, supinated bicep curl, will improve the peak of your bicep, because of the increased activation of the short head of the bicep brachii, but a hammer curl is more about increasing the thickness and the overall development and strength of the arm and the forearm," said Gymbox PT and director of FITWORKS Ray Buckton. Because these two exercises work different areas of the arms, it is best to incorporate both into your workout routine.

How to do hammer curls and biceps curls

If you want to add hammer curls and biceps curls to your gym routine, you'll need to know how to perform them correctly. Both exercises are typically performed with dumbbells. To do a hammer curl, stand with your feet hip-width apart while holding a dumbbell in each hand (via Verywell Fit). Your palms should be facing your thighs. Without rotating your forearms, lift your arms toward your shoulders while bending at the elbows. Hold the position for one second when the end of each dumbbell touches your shoulders. Slowly lower the weights to return to start position.

To perform a bicep curl, you'll also want to grab a pair of dumbbells and stand with your feet hip-width apart (via Women's Health). Begin holding the dumbbells with your palms facing your thighs. As you curl your arms, bend at the elbows and bring the dumbbells toward your shoulders. During this exercise, you will rotate your forearms as you curl your arms until your palms are facing the ceiling. You should finish the curl with your palms almost touching your shoulders. Slowly lower your arms to return to start position.