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​Hammer Curls Vs. Bicep Curls: Which is Best to Build Biceps Muscles?

​Hammer Curls Vs. Bicep Curls: Which is Best to Build Biceps Muscles?

Posted by Leonard Shemtob on Jun 27, 2024

Building bigger, stronger biceps is a common goal for many fitness enthusiasts. Two of the most popular bicep exercises are hammer curls and traditional bicep curls. But which one is truly the best for maximizing bicep muscle growth?

In this article, we'll take an in-depth look at the key differences between hammer curls and bicep curls, and provide a comprehensive comparison to help you determine which exercise is most effective for your specific fitness goals and body type. 

We'll also cover the benefits of each exercise to help you get the most out of your bicep workout. Whether you're aiming for stronger arms or more defined biceps, understanding these exercises can help you maximize your workout results.

[Related] Larry Wheels' Bicep Injury: His Journey, Recovery, and Muscle-Building Tips


Short Summary

  • Hammer Curls vs. Bicep Curls: Both exercises target the biceps but in different ways, providing unique benefits.
  • Hammer Curls: Focus more on the brachialis and brachioradialis muscles, adding width and strength to your arms.
  • Bicep Curls: Primarily target the biceps brachii, helping to build the peak and overall size of the biceps.
  • Choosing the Best Exercise: Depends on your fitness goals—hammer curls for overall arm strength and size, bicep curls for bicep definition.
  • Looking to boost your muscle gains? Try our expert-recommended supplement, Anafuse, for optimal bicep development.
  • Workout Routine: Incorporating both exercises can lead to balanced and well-developed arms.


What is Hammer Curl?

A hammer curl is a variation of the regular bicep curls exercise that targets the brachialis and brachioradialis muscles in addition to the biceps. The key difference is the grip - instead of a supinated (palms facing up) grip used in standard bicep curls, hammer curls are performed with a neutral grip, where the palms face your body throughout the movement.

This subtle change in grip position shifts the focus away from the biceps brachii (the two-headed bicep muscle) and instead emphasizes the brachialis and brachioradialis muscles in the forearm and upper arm.

Benefits of Hammer Curls

  • Forearm Strength: By targeting the brachialis and brachioradialis muscles, hammer curls help improve forearm strength.
  • Arm Thickness: They contribute to overall arm thickness by developing muscles in the upper arm.
  • Muscle Balance: Incorporating hammer curls can help balance muscle development between the biceps and forearms.
  • Boosts Muscle Endurance: Performing hammer curls can enhance muscle endurance, supporting longer and more intense workouts.
  • Strengthens Grip: Hammer curls are effective for strengthening the grip, which is crucial for various everyday and athletic activities.

How to Perform Hammer Curl Properly?

  • Starting Position: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart (or sit with your back upright), holding dumbbells in each hand with a neutral grip.
  • Curling Motion: Keeping elbows close to your sides, exhale as you curl the weights upward towards your shoulders.
  • Contracting Muscles: Pause briefly at the top of the movement, squeezing your biceps and forearms.
  • Lowering the Weights: Inhale as you moderately lower the dumbbells back to the starting position, while maintaining control.
  • Repetition: Complete the desired number of repetitions, making sure to maintain proper form on each rep. You can perform hammer curls one arm at a time or simultaneously.

What Muscles Do Hammer Curls Work?

The hammer curl is an isolation movement which means it mainly targets the bicep. Hammer curls target the following muscles:

  • Brachialis: Located underneath the biceps, it helps in elbow flexion and adds thickness to the upper arm.
  • Brachioradialis: This muscle runs along the forearm and assists in elbow flexion during hammer curls, supporting forearm strength.
  • Biceps Brachii: While not the primary target, the biceps brachii also benefit from hammer curls, especially the outer portion.


What are Bicep Curls?

Bicep curls are a fundamental strength-training exercise designed to target the biceps brachii muscles, which are located on the front of the upper arm. This exercise is typically performed using dumbbells or a barbell, with an underhand grip that positions the palms facing upward.

Bicep curls involve bending the elbows to lift the weight towards the shoulders, focusing on isolating and strengthening the biceps muscles.

Benefits of Bicep Curl

  • Improved Upper Body Strength: Strong biceps contribute to overall upper body strength, aiding in various daily activities and sports.
  • Enhanced Aesthetics: Well-developed biceps can improve the appearance of your arms, giving them a toned and muscular look.
  • Functional Movement: Strong biceps support functional movements like lifting, pulling, and carrying objects.
  • Joint Support: Provides support to elbow joints during movements.
  • Enhanced Grip Strength: Biceps play a role in grip strength, which is important for various activities like rock climbing, weightlifting, and even opening tight lids.
  • Enhances Arm Aesthetics: By focusing on the biceps, bicep curls can help create a more defined, "peaked" appearance to the arms, which is a highly desirable aesthetic for many fitness enthusiasts and bodybuilders.
  • Ease of Execution: Bicep curls are a relatively simple exercise to learn and execute, making them accessible for fitness enthusiasts of all skill levels.

How to Perform Bicep Curls

  • Starting Position: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing forward (supinated grip).
  • Curling Motion: Keep elbows close to your body and slowly lift the weights upward toward your shoulders, exhaling as you lift.
  • Contract Muscles: Squeeze your biceps at the top of the movement, ensuring a full contraction.
  • Lowering Phase: Slowly lower the weights back down to the starting position, inhaling as you lower.
  • Repetition: Complete the desired number of repetitions, making sure to maintain proper form on each rep. You can perform bicep curls one arm at a time or simultaneously.

What Muscles Do Bicep Curls Work?

Bicep curls, as the name suggests, primarily focus on one key muscle group:

  • Biceps Brachii: This is the main muscle group in your upper arm responsible for that classic "bicep peak." Bicep curls effectively target the entire biceps brachii, leading to increased size and definition.

However, bicep curls also engage other muscles to a lesser extent:

  • Brachialis: While not the main focus, bicep curls do work the brachialis, the muscle located under the biceps. This contributes to overall bicep thickness and definition.
  • Forearm Muscles: Bicep curls indirectly engage the muscles in your forearm, helping to improve grip strength and overall forearm stability.


Hammer Curls vs. Bicep Curls: What’s the Difference?

While both hammer curls and bicep curls are effective exercises for building bigger, stronger biceps, there are some key differences between the two:

Grip: The primary distinction lies in the grip position. Hammer curls are performed with a neutral grip, where the palms face the body throughout the movement. Classic bicep curl, on the other hand, uses an underhand (supinated) grip, with the palms facing up.

Muscle Focus: Hammer curls emphasize the brachialis (underside of the bicep) and brachioradialis (forearm muscle) for inner bicep development and forearm strength. Bicep curls primarily target the biceps brachii, the main muscle for that classic bicep peak.

Strength and Aesthetics: Hammer curls are effective for forearm strength and overall arm thickness, while bicep curls are renowned for enhancing bicep peak and arm aesthetics.


Hammer Curls vs Bicep Curls: Which One is Better for Building Biceps Muscle?

Both hammer curls and bicep curls are effective for building biceps muscle, but they offer unique benefits:

Bicep Curls for Defined, Peaked Biceps

Traditional bicep curls, with their emphasis on the biceps brachii, are often the go-to choice for those looking to create a more defined, "peaked" appearance to the arms. The supinated grip position of bicep curls allows for greater isolation and contraction of the biceps, leading to increased muscle fiber activation and potential for growth.

Hammer Curls for Overall Arm Thickness

On the other hand, hammer curls place a greater emphasis on the brachialis and brachioradialis muscles. While they may not contribute as directly to the classic "peaked" bicep look, hammer curls can help build overall arm thickness and volume, creating a more three-dimensional, muscular appearance.

Considerations for Optimal Bicep Development

Ultimately, the "better" exercise depends on your specific fitness goals and body type. For those seeking maximum bicep definition and peak, bicep curls may be the preferred choice. However, for individuals looking to build overall arm size and strength, hammer curls can be an excellent complement to a well-rounded bicep training routine.

Adding both exercises to your workout routine can maximize bicep muscle development and overall arm strength, catering to various aspects of your fitness journey.


Bicep Building Tips

Hammer curls and bicep curls are great exercises, but to truly maximize bicep growth, consider these additional tips:

  • Progressive Overload: Gradually increase weights or repetitions to challenge your muscles and stimulate growth.
  • Consistency: Stick to a regular workout routine that includes dedicated bicep training sessions.
  • Nutrition: Ensure you're consuming enough protein and overall calories to support muscle growth and recovery.
  • Compound Lifts: Don't neglect compound exercises like rows and pull-ups. These exercises indirectly work your biceps and contribute to overall upper body strength.
  • Complete Range of Motion: Use a full range of motion during curls, lowering the weights all the way down and squeezing at the top. This ensures you're targeting the entire biceps muscle.
  • Don't Neglect Rest and Recovery: Your muscles grow during rest periods. Make sure you're getting enough sleep and recovery time between bicep workouts.
  • Proper Form is Key: Focus on using the proper form over lifting heavier weights. This helps prevent injuries and ensures your biceps are getting the most out of each exercise.


Best Supplements to Enhance Bicep Muscle Growth

1- AnaFuse by Vital Alchemy

AnaFuse by Vital Alchemy

Anafuse is a muscle-building supplement designed to support significant lean muscle mass gains. Known for its innovative approach, Anafuse combines multiple anabolic ingredients to promote muscle growth and retention.

This dual-agent bulking stack aims to provide an effective formula for those looking to enhance their muscle-building efforts without unwanted side effects. With its synergistic blend of anabolics, Anafuse offers a comprehensive solution for adding lean muscle mass to your frame.

Key Benefits

  • It improves mass gains.
  • It helps build your bicep muscles.
  • It reduces body fat.
  • It enhances muscle endurance.
  • It boosts muscle hardness.
  • It increases your strength.
  • It accelerates your muscle recovery.
  • It improves muscle pumps.

Key Ingredients

  • Epicatechin
  • Ajuga Turkestanica
  • HICA
  • Eriobotrya Japonica
  • Vitamin D3
  • Quercetin

Customer Reviews

 Excellent product

“I have been taking this for a week now and have already seen an increase in size without any water weight. My workouts have been more intense as i am finding it harder to wear myself out.”

-Brandon A.


 Muscle pump

“Well stack with alpha 7 and I can tell my muscle definition and it seems I can go for extra reps or extra weight!! & not Feel super sore the next couple days!!”

-Juan G.


 Great results

“This product produces excellent results, that you’ll quickly notice within weeks. My focus and strength are doubled while I’m on this product!”

-Micah H.


2- Colossal Muscle by Hard Rock Supplements

Colossal Muscle by Hard Rock Supplements

Colossal Muscle is a natural anabolic supplement designed to support muscle growth and strength. It features two key ingredients, One of the key ingredients was involved in a 10-week study that reported significant increases in muscle mass and strength among the participants.

This unique combination of ingredients aims to help users build muscle, increase strength, enhance endurance, and boost protein synthesis. Colossal Muscle offers a distinctive formula for those looking to naturally enhance their muscle-building efforts.

Key Benefits

  • It enhances your muscle building.
  • It prevents muscle breakdown.
  • It improves endurance.
  • It boosts your strength and power.
  • It helps improve muscle mass.
  • It speeds up muscle recovery.
  • It supports fat loss.
  • It improves your focus and overall performance.

Key Ingredients

  • 20-Hydroxyecdysone
  • Uzbekistan Ajuga turkestanica

Customer Reviews

 On second bottle

“First bottle was great - took a little to see the resutlts but then they hit and you are like yes im loving it! just started my second bottle - thanks!”

-HK


 COLOSSAL

“This hard rock product is awesome. My strength increased rapidly and extreme pumps during the sessions. ********** muscle gain!”

-STEPHAN


 Quality product

“So i have almost finished my first bottle of this stuff and I can honestly say that it does work. I have noticed some size increase but what I have definitely noticed the most is strength increase. I recommend this product and I will definitely be using it again.”

-Zv


3- AlphaBulk by Olympus Labs

AlphaBulk by Olympus Labs

AlphaBulk is a supplement designed to support lean muscle mass gains and fat loss. It features a combination of ingredients that have shown potential benefits for muscle growth, strength, and fat loss in clinical research. One of the key ingredients is α-Cedrene, which has been studied for its ability to enhance skeletal muscle mass and strength.

Another ingredient, α-Ionone, is included in its most potent liquid form to potentially drive muscle protein synthesis and provide anti-catabolic effects. Olympus Labs has utilized a unique delivery system called Liquigel capsules in the formulation of AlphaBulk, which they claim can improve the absorption and bioavailability of the active compounds.

Key Benefits

  • It enhances anabolic signaling.
  • It boosts lean muscle growth.
  • It improves your strength.
  • It increases fat oxidation.
  • It enhances lipolysis.
  • It improves exercise performance and recovery.

Key Ingredients

  • α-Cedrene
  • α-Ionone
  • Tectochrysin PhytoFUSE
  • Urolithin B

Customer Reviews

 Stellar Pumps and Vascularity!

“About 3 weeks in and man the pumps in the gym are incredible. Feel like Alphabulk really is starting to bring out my physique. Noticing it feels better when I am in a caloric surplus. Also I am just now seeing the strength increases. Each week the weight and reps are going up on my bench and squat. Excited to see how 8 weeks treats me.”

-Tony H.


 Quality supplement

“I’m using this a in my pct and it’s been 3 weeks and I haven’t lost any weight.”

-DJ


 Alpha Bulk

“I recently purchased Alpha Bulk two weeks ago and all I can say is WOW!!!! The only up downside about the pills are the taste, I’m taking 3 pills daily on an empty stomach. I like to train that way. They give me more endurance and can get out an extra rep or two before failure. No size yet, I’m only two weeks in. I ordered 2 bottles to run so I’m hoping to get a bit vascular full size.”

-LaMichael W.


4- AlphaBuild by Olympus Labs

AlphaBuild by Olympus Labs

AlphaBuild is formulated to enhance muscle building and fat burning by targeting various signaling pathways in the body. It aims to inhibit Myostatin, enhance mitochondrial biogenesis and output, improve energy production and exercise performance, increase insulin sensitivity, and amplify the anabolic/thermogenic signaling molecule cAMP.

This multifaceted formula is designed to provide new pathways for muscle growth, strength development, vascularity, and fat loss. AlphaBuild offers a comprehensive approach for individuals looking to enhance their physique and performance through innovative nutritional support.

Key Benefits

  • It increases ATP production.
  • It enhances muscle protein synthesis.
  • It improves vascularity.
  • It enhances lean muscle growth.
  • It boosts insulin sensitivity.
  • It accelerates lipolysis.
  • It improves exercise performance.
  • It supports your strength.

Key Ingredients

  • Epicatechin PhytoFUSETM
  • Epicatechin
  • α-Ionone
  • Abscisic Acid
  • Chromium Picolinate

Customer Reviews

 Loving it so far..

“I started it last Saturday. Did chest yesterday. Massive pump. Enjoying so far, full review coming soon.”

-Josh S.


 Alpha build

“Been using for little over a week seem to be working as advertised so fa far very happy with this supplement”

-Al P.


 A truly great product

“One of the best aspects of this supplement is the pump/fullness you feel almost constantly. Even without a pre workout this stands well on its own. Still have around two weeks left and I’m down 3.5 pounds with strength still increasing. If you’re hesitant on buying it just pull the trigger and do it, it’s worth it.”

-Matthew B.


5- Natural Muscle Enhancement Stack (Best Bicep Builder Stack)

Natural Muscle Enhancement Stack

The Natural Muscle Enhancement Stack combines three supplements—Anafuse, Nano Genin, and Pepti-Plex—carefully formulated to support significant muscle growth, enhanced strength, and optimal physical performance naturally.

This stack is designed to maximize natural muscle-building potential without the use of hormonal supplements, providing a safe and effective alternative.

Each supplement in the stack addresses different aspects of muscle growth, recovery, and performance, offering a comprehensive approach to natural muscle enhancement.

Ideal for individuals aiming to enhance their natural anabolic potential safely and effectively, the Natural Muscle Enhancement Stack supports a balanced and sustainable approach to fitness goals.

Key Benefits

  • It improves muscle growth and repair.
  • It enhances muscle endurance.
  • It speeds up muscle recovery.
  • It helps reduce muscle protein breakdown.
  • It increases blood flow and oxygen delivery.
  • It helps reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.
  • It supports increased strength and muscle hardness.

Supplements in This Stack


FAQs: Hammer Curls vs Bicep Curls

Q: What’s the difference between hammer curls and bicep curls?

A: Hammer curl uses a neutral grip and target the brachialis and brachioradialis muscles more, while bicep curl uses a supinated grip and specifically isolate the biceps brachii.

Q: Should I prioritize bicep curls or hammer curls?

A: Both exercises offer benefits! Bicep curl targets the overall bicep size, while hammer curl emphasizes the inner bicep and forearms. Include both exercises for a well-rounded approach.

Q: How often should I train my biceps?

A: Most experts suggest training the biceps 2-3 times a week, allowing you sufficient recovery time between workouts.

Q: How long does it take to see noticeable bicep growth?

A: The time it takes to see noticeable bicep growth differs depending on factors such as your training experience, nutrition, genetics, and consistency with your program. With a well-designed program and proper nutrition, most individuals can expect to see some bicep growth within 4-8 weeks of consistent training.

Q: Should I perform Both Bicep Curls and Hammer Curls?

A: Yes, incorporating both bicep curls and hammer curls into your workout routine can be beneficial. Bicep curls target the biceps brachii for peak development, while hammer curls focus on the brachialis and brachioradialis muscles, enhancing forearm strength and overall arm thickness.


Conclusion

In conclusion, mastering both hammer curls and bicep curls provides a well-rounded approach to achieving stronger and more defined biceps. Hammer curls target additional muscle groups like the brachialis and brachioradialis, enhancing arm width and stability, while bicep curls isolate the biceps brachii for peak and size.

Incorporating these exercises into your routine, alongside proper nutrition and possibly supplements, can help you achieve your desired arm strength and aesthetic goals effectively. 

Remember, consistency and proper form are key to maximizing results and maintaining overall arm health. 


Sources:

https://motusspt.com/bicep-curls-or-hammer-curls-the-best-way-to-build-biceps

https://www.tomsguide.com/face-off/bicep-curls-vs-hammer-curls-which-is-best

https://www.trxtraining.com/blogs/news/hammer-curls-vs-bicep-curls

https://www.tiege.com/blogs/news/bicep-curls-vs-hammer-curls

https://www.inmotionoc.com/hammer-curls-vs-bicep-curls

Written and Sponsored by Leonard Shemtob

Leonard Shemtob is President of Strong Supplements. Leonard has been in the supplement space for over 20 years, specializing in fitness supplements and nutrition. Leonard appears on many podcasts, written over 100 articles about supplements and has studied nutrition, supplementation and bodybuilding. 

Leonard's articles have been published in many top publications around the web. Leonard enjoys weight training, playing basketball and yoga, and also enjoys hiking. In his free time he studies and works on improving himself. For more detailed information, visit his official blog.