What are Hammer Curls?

definition of terms


Hammer curls are a biceps exercise that involves curling a dumbbell or kettlebell up with a neutral grip that places palms facing each other.


  • The neutral hand position targets the brachialis muscle of the biceps for complete development.
  • Hammer curls allow you to lift heavier weight compared to regular underhand curls.
  • Perform 2-3 sets of 8-12 controlled reps while avoiding cheating or swinging motions.
  • Combine hammer curls with regular bicep curls and reverse curls hitting all biceps musculature.
  • You can do hammer curls seated, standing, on a preacher bench, or with cables for variation.


  • Seated dumbbell hammer curls
  • Single-arm cable hammer curls
  • Hammer curls on a stability ball

Related Terms

  • Biceps brachii, brachialis, brachioradialis

Common Questions

  • Are hammer curls better than regular curls? Not better, but good to add variation to hit the brachialis.
  • Should I do light or heavy hammer curls? Moderate weight for controlled reps is ideal for muscle building.

Do Not Confuse With

  • Overhead tricep extensions – Works the opposite arm muscle on top of the arm.
  • Upright rows – Compound move working the shoulders and traps, not just biceps.
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