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Which Grip Is Best For Dumbbell Hammer Curl?

Maximum Arm Gains!

Posted by Scott_Herman - February 14th, 2018

Today I want to talk to you about what grip on the HAMMER CURL, is going to give you the most gains as you’re doing your routines.

What Is A Hammer Curl?

For those of you that don’t know, a hammer curl is where your palms are facing in, and then you simply bend at the elbow and curl the weight up, while keeping your hands in a neutral position. You can do hammer curls one arm at a time, alternating, both arms at the same time, and you can even do it seated, there are a lot of different variations.

Why Is Grip Important?

When it comes to maximizing your gains, how you grip the dumbbell is going to play a HUGE roll in not only how much weight you can lift, but how many repetitions you can do as well. The reason is because forearm fatigue kicks in really quickly with this exercise, and if your forearms give out that means your grip gives out, and that means you can’t do any more repetitions.

First and foremost, it’s important to know that the hammer curl IS NOT a BICEPS specific movement, the reason being that there is no supination. Supination is what really engages the biceps, which is why you feel them so much when you do a regular dumbbell curl. However, when you hammer curl, you might notice some bicep engagement, but the majority of that engagement is actually going through the brachioradialis and the brachialis. So why would you want to work those muscles? Well obviously because you want your arms to look HUGE, and to be honest with you, the bigger the brachialis gets, that can actually help you increase the peak of your biceps.

What Different Grips Can You Use?

When it comes to this exercise and you wanting to maximize your gains, you have two options. You can either walk over to the rack and grip a dumbbell with your hand in the middle of the dumbbell, or you can grip it closer to the top, so that some of the weight of the dumbbell actually rests on the top of your hand. This means you don’t have to grip the dumbbell as hard to perform your repetitions. Instinctively, when you go over to the rack and grab your dumbbell, you’ll tend to grip it in the middle.

What happens when you do your repetitions while holding the dumbbell in the middle is you have to squeeze so hard to hold that dumbbell in place, that your grip strength starts to give out relatively quickly. To counter that fatigue, it is OK to slide your hand up to the top of the dumbbell and perform your repetitions that way. You’re still targeting the same muscles, except that now you don’t have to rely so much on your grip strength to do more repetitions.

What’s The Solution?

In my opinion, I would do it both ways. Let’s say, for example, you’re doing 4 sets. On your first 2 sets, I recommend grabbing the dumbbell in the middle to work on your grip strength, because you should always be working on improving your grip strength. Then on the next 2 sets when your grip starts to give out, slide your hand up so you can still complete more reps with more weight, but don’t have to worry about losing your grip on the dumbbell.


That’s just one quick tip to help you maximize this exercise. There’s actually a lot more to this exercise, including different variations that you can do for it, but that will all be covered in another article!

Related Videos:

Dumbbell Bicep Curl VS. Hammer Curl (WHICH BUILDS BIGGER BICEPS?)


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great tips. 

Scott_Herman  Edit  Delete  Close

@uther9 only the best tips for you! Now HAMMER it!


Just hit me some Hammer Curls today! My favorite grip is gripping it like a hammer but your'e right gripping in the middle would change it all up as well.

Scott_Herman  Edit  Delete  Close

@adawg38 Nice! Get the forearms working for a little bit too right?!