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Hammer Curls vs. Bicep Curls: What's The Difference & Which Is Better For Bigger Arm Muscles

Hammer Curls vs. Bicep Curls: What's The Difference & Which Is Better For Bigger Arm Muscles

Article Outline:

1. Benefits Of Hammer Curls

2. Benefits Of Bicep Curls

3. Hammer Curls vs. Bicep Curls

4. Best Exercises To Build Arms

5. Best Grooming Products For Your Workout

When it comes to building impressive biceps and sculpting your arms, two exercises often come to mind: hammer curls and bicep curls. Both exercises target the muscles in your upper arms but take slightly different approaches to achieve their results. In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the world of arm workouts, comparing hammer curls and bicep curls, and uncovering their unique benefits. So, grab your dumbbells, your body and ball powder (which you should apply before every workout to prevent discomfort caused by excessive sweat during intense sessions) and get ready to unleash the power of your arms!

What Are Hammer Curls?

Hammer curls are a variation of traditional bicep curls that specifically target your brachialis and brachioradialis muscles, in addition to the biceps. Unlike bicep curls, hammer curls involve gripping the dumbbells with a neutral (palms facing each other) grip throughout the exercise. This grip placement places additional emphasis on the brachialis and brachioradialis muscles, giving your arms a fuller and more defined appearance.

hammer curls

*Image from Steel Supplements

Benefits of Hammer Curls

  1. Enhanced Muscle Balance: Hammer curls promote a more balanced development of your arm muscles. By targeting the brachialis and brachioradialis in addition to the biceps, hammer curls help achieve proportional strength and size gains, reducing the risk of muscle imbalances.

  2. Improved Grip Strength: Since hammer curls utilize a neutral grip, they engage the muscles in your forearms, wrist flexors, and extensors, leading to improved grip strength and stability. This benefit can have a positive impact on various exercises and daily activities that require a strong grip.

  3. Functional Arm Strength: The motion of hammer curls closely mimics many everyday activities, such as carrying groceries, lifting objects, or performing manual labor. By incorporating hammer curls into your workout routine, you can develop functional arm strength that translates into real-world activities.

What Are Bicep Curls?

Bicep curls are the classic go-to exercise for targeting the biceps brachii, the two-headed muscle responsible for flexing the elbow joint. This exercise involves gripping the dumbbells with an underhand (supine) grip, palms facing upward, and curling the weights towards your shoulders while keeping your elbows stationary.

bicep curls
*Image from Inspire US

Benefits of Bicep Curls

  1. Isolated Bicep Development: Bicep curls primarily focus on the biceps brachii, making them an effective exercise for isolating and strengthening this muscle group. By performing bicep curls, you can create that coveted peak and definition in your biceps, enhancing the aesthetic appeal of your arms.

  2. Progressive Overload: Bicep curls allow for greater control over the weight and range of motion, making it easier to apply progressive overload. Gradually increasing the weight over time challenges your muscles and promotes growth, enabling you to achieve greater strength and size gains in your biceps.

  3. Variety of Curl Variations: Bicep curls offer a wide range of variations, including preacher curls, concentration curls, and incline curls. These variations target different parts of the biceps and provide additional stimulation, ensuring well-rounded development and preventing plateaus in your arm training.

Hammer Curls vs. Bicep Curls: Which Is Right for You?

Now that we've explored the benefits of both hammer curls and bicep curls, you might be wondering which exercise is best suited for your arm training. The truth is, both exercises have their place in a well-rounded workout routine. Consider the following factors when deciding which exercise to prioritize:

Your Goal: Hammer curls target these additional muscles and promote a balanced and well-rounded arm appearance. On the other hand, if your primary goal is to focus on bicep development and achieve that coveted peak, bicep curls should take precedence in your workouts.

Variety and Progression: Incorporating both hammer curls and bicep curls into your routine can provide a valuable element of variety and help prevent plateauing in your arm training. By switching between the two exercises or incorporating different variations, you can keep your workouts engaging and challenge your muscles in new ways. Gradually increasing the weight and intensity over time will also contribute to progressive overload, stimulating muscle growth and strength gains.

Individual Preference: Personal preference plays a significant role in determining the exercises that work best for you. Some individuals may find hammer curls more comfortable and effective in targeting specific areas of their arms, while others may prefer the classic feel and focus of bicep curls. Experimenting with both exercises and listening to your body can help you identify which exercise provides better results and a more enjoyable training experience.

Other Exercises To Build Arm Muscles

While hammer curls and bicep curls are key exercises for building arm muscles, it's important to incorporate a variety of movements into your routine to achieve optimal results. Here are a few additional exercises that can help you target and strengthen your arm muscles:

Tricep Dips: Tricep dips are excellent for targeting the muscles on the back of your upper arms. Using parallel bars or a stable bench, lower your body by bending your elbows until your upper arms are parallel to the ground, then press back up to the starting position. Aim for 3 sets of 10-12 reps to effectively engage and tone your triceps.

Close-Grip Bench Press: This exercise primarily targets the triceps, but it also engages the chest and shoulders. Using a barbell, position your hands close together, about shoulder-width apart. Lower the bar to your chest while keeping your elbows tucked in, then press it back up. Perform 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps with a challenging weight to stimulate muscle growth.

Chin-Ups/Pull-Ups: These compound exercises primarily target the back muscles but also engage the biceps and forearms. Using an overhead bar, grip it with your palms facing toward you (chin-ups) or away from you (pull-ups). Pull your body upward until your chin is above the bar, then lower yourself down with control. Aim for 3 sets of 6-8 reps, gradually increasing the difficulty by adding weight or using a narrower grip.

Preacher Curls: Preacher curls isolate the biceps by eliminating momentum and targeting the muscles in a stretched position. Using a preacher curl bench or an incline bench, rest your upper arms on the pad and curl the weight toward your shoulders, focusing on squeezing the biceps at the top. Perform 3 sets of 10-12 reps to develop those bulging biceps.

Hammer Rope Curls: This variation of hammer curls adds an extra challenge and targets the forearms and grip strength. Attach a rope to a cable machine or resistance band, hold the ends of the rope with a neutral grip, and curl the handles toward your shoulders. Perform 3 sets of 12-15 reps, focusing on controlled movements and squeezing the forearms at the top of each curl.

Remember to always prioritize proper form, gradually increase weights and repetitions as your strength improves, and allow adequate rest and recovery time between workouts. By incorporating these exercises into your arm training routine, you'll be well on your way to building strong, defined, and impressive arm muscles. 

Level Up Your Workout With These Grooming Products

It's essential to have the right grooming products in your arsenal for a successful gym session. Here are some top grooming products to consider for your gym routine:


Powder for Grip/Sweat: It’s common to use a powder to help with your grip, but applying a ball and body powder before every workout helps keep your skin dry, reduces friction, and prevents discomfort caused by excessive sweat during intense exercise sessions. So, don't forget to powder up for a more comfortable and enjoyable workout experience.

Travel Size Fragrances: For convenience, consider investing in a cologne refillable travel sprayer, a travel-size fragrance atomizer. It allows you to carry your favorite scent (or favorite scents if you have more than one) in a compact and spill-proof container, ensuring you smell great before and after your workout.

Deodorant: A reliable deodorant is a must-have to keep body odor at bay during your workout. Look for a natural deodorant that offers long-lasting protection and keeps you feeling fresh throughout your training session.

Dopp Bag: Keep your grooming essentials organized and easily accessible with a dopp bag. A sturdy and spacious bag will hold everything you need from a grooming perspective, making it convenient to grab and go.

Travel-Size Shampoo and Conditioner: Opt for travel-sized versions of your preferred shampoo and conditioner. These compact products are easy to carry in your gym bag and allow you to freshen up after a workout, leaving your hair clean and manageable.

A Masculine Body Wash: Finally, don’t settle for the basic body wash your gym might provide and instead opt for something more premium and spa-like. Desperado will provide that masculine scent that will turn heads when you leave the changing rooms.

Remember, grooming products not only enhance your personal hygiene but also contribute to your overall confidence and comfort during gym sessions. Choose products that suit your preferences and ensure they are travel-sized for convenience. By integrating these top grooming products into your gym routine, you'll feel and look your best, both during and after your workouts.

To Conclude

In conclusion, both hammer curls and bicep curls offer unique benefits and contribute to well-rounded arm development. Your choice between the two should depend on your training goals, personal preferences, and the desired emphasis on different muscle groups. Incorporating a combination of both exercises, along with proper form and progression, will help you achieve the strong, defined, and impressive arms you desire.

So, grab those dumbbells, design your arm workout routine, and unleash the power of hammer curls and bicep curls on your journey to well-toned, sculpted arms!

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