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Bicep Curl Vs. Hammer Curl


By Scott Herman Published 

Welcome to the first article in my VERSUS SERIES!  These articles are not only going to compare exercises to help you choose the right ones for your workouts, but they will also help give you a better understanding of the mechanics and benefits of each exercise.  So with that in mind if you are pumped for this new series be sure to leave video suggestions in the comment section below!



Today we are going to discuss two very popular exercises used in bicep workouts.  They are the Dumbbell Bicep Curl and the Dumbbell Hammer Curl.  Each is very effective in building muscle, but if you could only perform one to build your biceps, which would you pick?  First let us understand how the biceps works.  Your biceps is a two headed muscle that lies between your shoulder and forearm. The long head originates on the supraglenoid tubercle of the scapula, the short head originates on the coracoid process of the scapula and the insertion point is the radial tuberosity and fascia of the forearm via the bicipital aponeurosis which is beneath the neck of the radius and helps with flexion of your forearm and supinates your forearm.


Dumbbell Bicep Curl

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To perform this exercise correctly, keep your forearm supinated at the bottom of the movement.  Now you might see a lot of people start with their forearm in a semi pronated position at the bottom, but as you just learned one of the functions of the biceps is to supinate the forearm.  This means that if we are beginning the exercise in a supinated position, the biceps are already being activated before even starting the exercise.

From here you are going to curl the dumbbell up to your shoulder while keeping your elbow at your hips.  You need to really focus on keeping your elbow in one place because that is going to keep more tension on your biceps as you curl, which is the entire reason why we are performing this exercise.  

Once you reach the top of the movement simply lower the weight back to the starting position and repeat.  Now I know some of you are going to say there is no point in going all the way up, but you are WRONG.  You should always train in full range of motion because whatever range you do not train in, you will be weak in and more injury prone.  Also, keep in mind that you break down the most muscle tissue in the negative portion of a movement and if you do not go all the way to the top (your shoulder), you are shortening the negative portion of the movement.  It is not intense science guys, just stop listening to the “bros” who claim “half reps” build more muscle.  They are wrong or more than likely on juice.



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The hammer curl also targets the biceps brachii however in this movement the biceps are a synergist muscle group which means they are being targeted, but are mostly being used to assist other muscles which in this case is the brachialradialis which is the muscle that runs along your forearm and the brachialis which is the muscle located deep in your upper arm which can help increase your bicep peak as it grows.

To perform this movement you need to start with your hand in midposition between supination and pronation.  The reason is because in this position the brachioradialis is at its strongest.  From here you are going to keep your elbow at your hip and curl your arm up until the dumbbell reaches your shoulder.  Again, you want to utilize the full range of motion here so you can really take advantage of a slow controlled negative to break down more muscle fiber with each rep.


Which Exercise Is Better? 

So which exercise should you pick to focus on building bigger biceps?  If I had to choose just one I would pick the dumbbell bicep curl as this exercise mainly focuses on targeting the biceps brachii.  But now that you are armed with all this knowledge, I am sure many of you have come to the conclusion that your arm workout should consist of both of these exercises if your goal is to build big arms because while the bicep curl is targeting mainly the biceps brachii, the hammer curl is going to help build your brachialradialis and brachialis which are just as important, aesthetically speaking, for a massive look.


Dumbbell Bicep Curl

  • Add 4 sets of 8 – 10 reps with only a 60 second rest period between sets to your next arm workout for maximum results.

Hammer Curl

  • Add 4 sets of 8 – 10 reps with only a 60 second rest period between sets to your next arm workout for maximum results.



Before you go, I do want to offer a few more tips for when performing these exercises and I am going to be EXTREMELY BLUNT.

Any ego driven lifter can go to the dumbbell rack and grab a heavy weight and do MOMENTUM CURLS.  This does not look cool and you are not impressing anyone.  The only people, if any, who would benefit from this are those who are on drugs.  

As a natural lifter, you need to focus on proper form and mind-muscle connection.  You need to FEEL every muscle fiber activate and breakdown during ever single repetition and it is a feeling you will not be able to get enough of once you master it. 

If you are having a hard time breaking this habit, I want you to perform these exercises while seated to help correct your form.  When sitting, keep your core tight and focus on just moving your arms, flexing at the elbow and if at any point in time you start to shoulder swing, just stop and lower the weight and finish your reps with proper form.

I hope article helped you guys out and if you are looking to build MUSCLE and STRENGTH with a program that has been proven to work, check out my SHREDDED 12 Week Transformation Challenge.  No BS, no gimmicks, just straight up hardcore training that is going to give you the results you have been looking for CLICK HERE to check it out!



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