The Hammer Curls: A Must Have Exercise?
It’s okay to curl with your arms straight out in front of you, but it’s not okay if they’re bent at 90 degrees. If you bend them too much, then they become useless exercises. You need to keep them straight all the way through the movement. They must be held tight throughout the whole range of motion. The only exception would be if you were doing curls with dumbbells, in which case you’d want to keep them tight throughout the entire range of motion.
I’m sure many of us have done these curls before without even thinking twice about it. However, there are some reasons why we might not like doing them so much:
They’re hard to perform correctly.
You don’t get the full benefit from them.
If you’ve ever tried to curl with your arms straight out in front of you, then you’ll know how difficult it is to hold those arms rigidly straight throughout the entire range of motion. The reason why this problem occurs is because our bodies aren’t designed to move around in such a manner. Most of the time, our limbs will be moving around in some sort of arc rather than a straight line.
As strange as it may seem, this is the main reason why so many people get their arm and shoulder muscles in knots and end up with sore joints when doing hammer curls. They’re trying to force their arms into a position that they weren’t designed to be in. This is the same reason why you should always keep your elbows tucked in when doing any type of pressing motion.
What most people don’t realize, however, is that hammer curls can be just as effective without having to turn your wrists and forcing your arms into an awkward position. All it requires is a little bit of creativity on your part. Instead of curling the bar with a straight wrist, try to curl it with a slightly bent wrist.
This may give you a much deeper range of motion and allow you to get a little extra squeeze at the peak of the movement. Keep in mind, though, that it will be more difficult to perform this exercise this way. If you’re having problems curling the weight with a straight wrist, then stay with what’s comfortable for you.
Another way to do these curls is to do partial reps at the bottom of the movement. This will allow you to get a good peak contraction at the top. Once again, this will be more difficult than doing a regular hammer curl because you’ll have a tendency to start the upward movement too soon.
If you feel yourself losing control, then bring your elbows in closer to your sides. This will bring your arms out of the straight position and into more of an arc. It also allows you to maintain control over the bar.
The only problem with doing partial reps is that you won’t be able to use as much weight. It’s a gamble. You might be able to do more reps with this method, but you won’t be using as much weight.
You can try doing both full range-of-motion reps and partial reps if your goal is to build overall size and strength. It will tax your muscles in a different way and allow you to use more weight for more reps, and that’s never a bad thing.
Safety tip: Never swing your body to gain momentum in an effort to curl the weight up. This can lead to injury and should be avoided at all costs. Keep your body still and pivot on the feet only.
The last, and perhaps the most important thing I want to mention about hammer curls is that you need to concentrate on keeping your wrists straight. Don’t allow them to bend backwards or this can easily lead to a wrist injury.
So there you have it, a simple exercise that can be confusing and complex at the same time. As with all other exercises, make sure that you always warm up properly before doing any hammer curls. Don’t forget to stretch afterwords as well.
Warming up should consist of light cardio and arm movements to get your blood flowing. Stretching afterwards is also a good idea to help keep the muscles from becoming too stiff.
Always remember to maintain proper form and technique when doing any exercise. Don’t let ego get in the way of safety. With hammer curls, this is of the utmost importance in order to avoid injury.
You can do these with a barbell or dumbbells. A pair of each is even better. There are few truly effective bicep exercises but this is definitely one of them. I suggest you make this exercise a regular part of your routine.
If you’re not doing it now, you should definitely start. I guarantee that you will see results if you stick with this routine.
If you like working out your arms, then you might also want to try doing some barbell preacher curls and standing barbell curls. Both of these exercises will work the upper and front part of your arm. Your biceps, more specifically the brachialis muscle will get a great workout too.
Sources & references used in this article:
Borders by P Mora – 1986 – books.google.com
Men’s Health Maximum Muscle Plan: The High-efficiency Workout Program to Increase Your Strength and Muscle Size in Just 12 Weeks by T Incledon, M Hoffman – 2005 – books.google.com
Physical exercise in myasthenia gravis is safe and improves neuromuscular parameters and physical performance‐based measures: A pilot study by A Hutchinson – 2011 – McClelland & Stewart
Cool pose: The dilemma of Black manhood in America by E Westerberg, CJ Molin, I Lindblad, M Emtner… – Muscle & …, 2017 – Wiley Online Library
A minimal dose approach to resistance training for the older adult; the prophylactic for aging by R Majors, JM Billson – 1993 – books.google.com