Hammer curls vs bicep curls – leads to massive arms?

hammer curls vs bicep curls

You walk into the gym on an arms day, you’ll see every one of them either doing bicep curls or hammer curls but as a beginner, you must wonder about hammer curls vs bicep curls which one will lead you to massive arms. They do that because everyone wants their t-shirt/shirt to be filled which motivates most of them.

A chiseled chest, shredded back, and abs are all good but to compliment the overall body everybody wants bigger arms cause no one is going to ask you to flex your back or chest while you’re out at a club or dinner.

While there are many bodyweights like chin-ups and weighted biceps exercises in this quest to find the best exercise for a bigger arm while keeping your goal in mind you will definitely stumble upon this question hammer curls vs bicep curls… which one?

Each one is these exercises are performed with the hope of achieving better workout result they do work the same muscle in some extent. If you want huge arms some of the experts recommend including both of these exercises in your workout because they both offer mass and strength-building movement which leads to bigger arms but what if you don’t have time or strength to include these exercises in your workout and have to pick one. So don’t worry in today’s article we’ll help you pick one that’s best for you.

Muscle worked

Both target biceps? yes, but when we talk about muscles worked just saying biceps won’t be helpful there is Biceps brachii (long head/short head), Brachialis, and brachioradialis. Before we go through muscle worked you must at least have some idea that what muscles I’m talking about.

hammer curls vs bicep curls
Biceps muscle

Biceps brachii – One-third of your upper arm is occupied by this muscle and lies on the front side of your arm. Biceps brachii has two heads that share having a common insertion point and rises around the scapula. These two heads are known as long heads and short heads. The purpose of these muscles is flexion of the elbow and supination of your forearm also it’s the primary mover of forearm supination.

Most people just hit biceps brachii without thinking if they are targeting a short head or long head. It is important to target both of them through training. Using different grip while working out will help you hit these muscles from all angles for example if you use the underhand grip with dumbbells you will be targeting the short head of biceps brachii but if you use a semi-supinated grip you will be targeting the long head of biceps brachii.

The short head is on the inside side of the upper arm while the long head is on the exterior which makes the long head visible like the biceps peak you see when you flex your muscles.

Brachialis – This muscle sits directly under your biceps. The brachialis is also the prime flexor of your forearms and elbow so in simple terms brachialis is the main part when it comes to moving your elbow. Both the short head and the long head work closely with the brachialis. The brachialis is located underneath both heads it also helps in the peak of your biceps when flexed but not as much as a long head.

Brachioradialis – The brachioradialis is the muscle that is located on the lateral side of your forearms. It is also closely fused with the brachialis, In simple words, it means brachioradialis is the muscle that connects your upper arm to your forearm with a strong connection. The main function of the Brachioradialis is to act as an elbow stabilizer whenever your arms do the task of flexing or lifting. This muscle has one of the unique attachment points in your body compared to other muscles as it begins from the distal (Situated away from the point of attachment) end of one bone and ends at the distal end of another bone.

Hammer curls (Muscle worked)

All of the above-mentioned muscles will be working but the primary muscle targeted from the hammer curls would be the brachialis but the brachioradialis will also be engaged more compared to biceps curls. There are many exercises but when it comes to increased thickness and strength in forearms hammer curls come to mind.

Hammer curl also engages stabilizers muscles like the upper and middle trapezius, anterior deltoids, and extensor carpi radialis, and others. Hammer curl also improves the wrist control of your movement compared to bicep curls additionally improving your grip strength.

Bicep curls (Muscle worked)

Bicep curls the primarily targeted muscles would be biceps brachii, meaning engaging both short and long head. The secondary muscle engaged would be the brachialis and brachioradialis. Other muscles that will help you do bicep curls are your front shoulder, upper and middle trapezius, and wrist flexors.

While performing biceps curls as your palm is supinated and your arm is fully extended its lengthens your biceps and as you start to lift the dumbbell bring it to the right angle with the help of elbow flexors and brachioradialis you shorten your biceps, eccentric contraction with weight in your arms put pressure on your muscles that causes muscle hypertrophy which in turn develops your muscles.


When we’re trying to decide a winner between hammer curls vs bicep curls it’s also necessary to compare their benefits to get a clear picture.

Benefits of bicep curls

It develops your bicep is just an oversimplification of the benefits there is much more to biceps curl than just bring out the peak.

Functional strength

Bicep curls are one of the important exercises when it comes to activating your muscle like brachioradialis and brachialis, building these muscles is important and the particular reason for that is these two muscles are the basic requirement when it comes to the flexion of the elbow or lowering or raising your hand.

Improves arm and body connection

Whenever you’re doing biceps curls, your core will be also engaged making the curl eccentric movement easy without breaking the form. it will improve your daily activities also making you understand how your arm interacts with your body during compound movements like pull-ups and deadlifts.

Athletic performance

Biceps plays an important role when it comes to sports that involve pulling movements. Your biceps works with other muscles like the trap, delts, shoulder, and triceps to give you optimal performance. In the long run, biceps curl and help you strengthen your arm and also increase your shoulder stability. Giving you a huge boost in athletic performance and reduce the chances of you getting an injury.

Big visible arms

Bicep curls are great exercise for your short head and long head muscle with good form and regular exercise you can use them to develop your arms and get a great bicep peak because without huge arms your great builts physique will look dull.

Benefits of hammer curls

In hammer curls vs bicep curls, both exercises’ primary targets are different that changes the impact on the muscle thus it changes the benefits.

Different muscle

Hammer curl does target biceps brachii but it is not the primary muscle engaged, the primary targeted muscles are brachioradialis and brachialis that help with elbow stabilization and supination. So training these muscles you will notice an improvement in your grip and wrist strength. This will also reduce the chances of injury in your shoulder and wrist and increase your forearm strength for advanced exercises.

Wider biceps

Bicep curls help you with achieving the peak and bigger biceps but hammer curl helps you with widening your biceps making them stronger and more functional. Wider biceps paired with strong brachialis and brachioradialis will make up for your overall arms, making them bigger and better.

Muscle hypertrophy

You may be hitting biceps with various exercises but hardly any of them focus on working out your brachialis or brachioradialis so if you hit them you will increase the level of muscle fatigue and that is good for you because it will lead you to muscle hypertrophy and build new stronger muscle in your post-recovery phase.

Hammer curls vs bicep curls

Now that we got the muscles worked and the benefits of including these two exercises in your workout, it’s time to know hammer curls vs biceps curls, which exercise is better for you?

As I mentioned above some pf the expert recommends you to include both of these exercises in your workout routine because bicep curls will help you get a peak and taller biceps but doing hammer curls will get you wider biceps and strong forearms, both of these are necessary when you want an overall good arm to compliment your built physique.

If you get bored doing these monotonous movements, you’re lucky as both biceps curls and hammer curls have many variations to spice up your workout. Some people even believe that hammer curl is one of the variations of bicep curl. The only downside of hammer curl is that it can be done only with a hammer, you can try cable and swiss bar but compare to bicep curls, hammer curls lack variations.

Sow when it comes to deciding the winner between hammer curls vs bicep curls, it is difficult because both these exercises activate and isolate your biceps. These both exercises offer you a great arm and build but if you’re running short on time, pick bicep curls because it will offer you a visible bicep peak and that’s all we want, right?

So experiment with bicep curls includes variation so that you’ll be able to target both short and long heads of biceps brachii.

Final word

Hammer curls vs bicep curls, both of these exercises have their advantages and disadvantages so we can’t pick a winner it all depends upon the goal, if you want bigger and want that bicep peak, choose bicep curls but if you want wider biceps with strong forearms and improved grip strength pick hammer curls. So if you have a goal you can decide the winner between hammer curls vs bicep curls for yourself.

Include after-workout stretching with a good diet in your daily life that will help you more than enough to reach your goals.

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