Dumbbell Hammer Curl: Build Strong Biceps with Ease

If you’ve been slaving away at the gym, trying to build your biceps by doing traditional curly movements or chin-ups but are completely unsatisfied with the shape of your upper arms, likely, you’ve not been aware of the brachialis muscle.

No shame at all in that. Who can keep track of every one of the hundreds of muscles within our bodies? But the brachialis muscle is worth learning about as it’s an essential muscle to anyone who hits the gym to build strong upper arms.

The brachialis muscles can be found on the side of your upper arms close to your biceps. When you target the brachialis muscles in your training, you’ll be adding the bulk of your upper arms and making your biceps shine more. One of the most effective methods to strengthen the brachialis is the dumbbell hammer curl into your workout routine. Here’s how you can do it.

The Dumbbell Hammer Curls

The dumbbell hammer curl are one of the most effective variations of the traditional bicep curl. However, it is not really a bicep workout because it targets the brachialis muscle of the upper arm.

If you’re looking to boost the strength size of your arm and look, The dumbbell hammer curl could be ideal for you!

The Dumbbell Hammer Curl: Working Muscles

The Dumbbell Hammer Curl Working Muscles

Primary Muscle Group

The dumbbell hammer curl are designed to work your brachialis. This muscle in the upper arm aids in elbow flexion and is located under the biceps Brachii. Training the brachialis muscles can increase the mass of the upper arm muscles.

The dumbbell hammer curl are also designed to target the brachioradialis muscle, the largest muscle you have in your forearm. The primary roles of the brachioradialis include forearm flexion and supination, as well as pronation.

Secondary Muscle Group

The dumbbell hammer curl are a second way to concentrate on the brachii of your biceps. However, it will still be a curling activity, and the biceps are active in the movement.

The dumbbell hammer curl also helps your back and abs muscles as they work to help stabilize your body when you curl.

The Dumbbell Hammer Curl: Benefits

The Dumbbell Hammer Curl Benefits

#1 Strength And Size Gains

The dumbbell hammer curls are the most effective upper arm workout. While this exercise targets the brachialis muscle, it also works your Biceps.

The dumbbell hammer curl increases hypertrophy in both muscles. Strengthening the upper arm muscles isn’t only for show; it can enhance your performance during other workouts at the gym, such as barbell row and the lat pulldown.

#2 Forearm Activation

The dumbbell hammer curl provides the benefits of two exercises all in one workout, working the brachialis and the forearms simultaneously.

Its neutral grip dumbbell’s curl causes the muscles in your forearms to be activated and help support your wrists throughout the movement. This will increase your grip strength and help you lift more weight when doing other workouts.

#3 Improved Aesthetics

Let’s face it, almost everyone wants arm muscles that look better. You can utilize the dumbbell hammer curl to build bigger, refined, or toned arms based on your needs.

The exercise is easy to master and will aid in improving the appearance of your arms quickly.

The Dumbbell Hammer Curl: Instructions


To perform this exercise, you’ll need two dumbbells.

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  • Get a pair of dumbbells and place your palms in front of one another.
  • Take a solid standing position, with the back in a straight position.


  1. Engage your core and contract your brachialis muscles to raise the dumbbells.
  2. Squeeze your brachialis with your hands at the top of the rep, and then slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting point.
  3. Repeat this movement for the desired number of repetitions.


If you’re a novice to the dumbbell hammer curl, select an easy weight to start with and then complete 3-4 sets of 10 to 15 reps. If you’re looking to build strength, take a couple of heavier dumbbells. Stick in the 6–8 range to complete 3-4 sets.

The Dumbbell Hammer Curl: Mistakes

The Dumbbell Hammer Curl Mistakes

#1 Rounding The Back

A lot of weightlifters turn their backs when they do the dumbbell hammer curl.

The rounded back angle can compromise your spine’s safety and could easily cause injuries.

Be sure to ensure that the back of your body is level and aligned so that you can challenge yourself in the most secure manner you can.

#2 Utilizing Momentum

Often, I have seen people moving their arms, using their force to lift the dumbbells in the dumbbell hammer curl. This is usually because they attempt to lift the excessive weight.

The solution is easy Pick a lighter weight and work on enhancing your posture. Being aware when lifting heavier weights will boost your gains and decrease your risk of getting injured!

#3 Routing The Motion

Another mistake that is often made during the dumbbell hammer curl is to rush.

People blast through the curl and let the dumbbells slide down to the floor. This can result in stealing significant gains in the eccentric part of the exercise movement.

Instead of speeding throughout the process, you should curl the dumbbells slowly, controlled, and steady. This is safer, but it can prolong your time under tension and increase the effectiveness of the dumbbell hammer curl.

The Dumbbell Hammer Curl: Variations

#1 1-Arm Kettlebell Hammer Curl

The hammer curl could be done with single arm. Take a kettlebell in a neutral grip, and then perform the curl using a similar form to that of the dumbbell hammer curl.

Repeat, and feel free to change arms!

#2 Resistance Band Hammer Curl

The resistance band hammer curl could give you the benefit of more resistance while you move upwards.

Begin by grasping the band with both hands and palms facing one another. After that, you can complete the hammer curl slowly, mindfully using the same way as the dumbbell the hammer curl. Repeat!

#3 1-Arm Push Hammer Curl

No equipment? Problem solved! There are still opportunities to improve using this variation of the hammer curl using body weight.

Stand up with your feet approximately two inches apart. Place your right arm to your side, with your palm pointing directly toward the left.

Utilizing your left hand, applying pressure to your right forearm creates resistance. After that, you can curl your right hand in the upward direction.

Repeat this movement for your desired number of reps. Then make sure you change arms.

The Dumbbell Hammer Curl: Alternatives

#1 Cross Body Hammer Curl (Pinwheel Curl)


  • Place your feet shoulder-width apart, and hold dumbbells by your sides with a unidirectional grip.
  • Make sure to lift one dumbbell upwards by bringing your wrist towards the middle of your chest. Let your elbow sway slightly.
  • Then squeeze the high point of the rep.
  • Slowly, you can control the weight on the lower part of the body.
  • Then repeat the process with the opposite arm.

What is it that I love about pinwheel curls? Because they allow you to lift weights of considerable weight with these curls. They should allow you to perform more than the dumbbell hammer curl. That’s why they’re my preferred of all alternative options for the dumbbell hammer curl.

Pro Tip

Try to keep your traps from becoming too involved in the exercise. The traps are likely to desire to be involved, particularly when reps are difficult. Remember that this exercise is a curl, and the force you apply should come from the elbow rather than from the neck.

#2 Preacher Curl


The preacher curl may be accomplished using barbells, EZ-bars, or dumbbells. It is recommended to use a barbell/EZ bar to get the directions; however, typically, the same rules apply to dumbbells.

  • Take the bar and place elbows and the back of the upper arms on the preacher’s pad.
  • Slowly lower the bar; however, do not lower it to full extension. Instead, lower it to around 15 degrees.
  • While keeping your arms on the pad, pull the bar up again and squeeze your biceps towards the top.
  • Slowly lower the bar until it is lower, and repeat.
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While I’ve highlighted the barbell version here, my favorite is the dumbbell variation. There’s no better feeling than the weight of a dumbbell when you’re on the bench for preachers. It’s possible to do it all and completely concentrate on feeling the muscles working.

Pro Tip

Don’t lower the bar below full extension, as it puts your biceps in an awkward position and can lead to injuries.

Be aware of leg drive as the reps become difficult.

Maintain a steady posture, then let the biceps do the heavy lifting.

They’ll thank you for it!

#3 Dumbbell Hammer Preacher Curl


You can perform this with both dumbbells simultaneously or with one arm at one time. I would prefer to do one at one time.

  • Set one arm up on a preacher’s bench using a dumbbell in a neutral grip
  • Keep the dumbbell in place at the high point and gradually lower the dumbbell but under control.
  • Stop when you reach complete extension, and raise the weight while keeping your hand securely on the pad.
  • Slowly lower the level until you are under control, and Repeat

This is a great and frequently overlooked alternative to the dumbbell hammer curl. I don’t do it often; however, it’s an excellent exercise to try and push the muscles differently. If you do this, you trigger the growth.

Pro Tip

With a preacher with a neutral grip curl, you can lower it some distances more than an ordinary (palms upwards) preacher’s curl. But, I suggest not stopping too far from fully extended to protect your biceps.

#4 Reverse Grip EZ Bar Curl


Reverse grip curls may also be accomplished with a standard barbell, but it’s very difficult on your wrists. Therefore I suggest using an easy bar.

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart while holding the bar with an overhand grip.
  • Keep the weight in place, keeping your arms to your side
  • Make sure you squeeze your biceps towards the highest point of your biceps.
  • Slowly lower until it is under control
  • Repeat

Try these exercises using all possible grip variations on the bar’s EZ bar. They’re hard, however rewarding, if you can do them regularly.

Pro Tip

You’ll need to keep your elbows in place using reverse curls. Suppose you move your arms forward to help lift the weight. You’re just getting your anterior deltoids involved instead of your biceps/brachialis/brachioradialis.

#5 Reverse Grip Cable Curl


  • The workout can be completed straight or with the EZ-bar attachment.
  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart while holding the bar in an overhand grip.
  • Lift weights, and keep the elbows to your side.
  • Make sure you squeeze your biceps towards the highest point of your biceps.
  • Slowly decrease until you can control it.
  • Repeat

It is also possible to use the lat bar attachment to create an even more wide grip curl. I love doing this exercise to increase the number of reps I do at the end of workouts.

Pro Tip

Keeping your elbows in place ensures that you squeeze from the highest point. The tension from the cable will pull your arms downwards, making it hard to achieve that squeeze. But you got to do it!

#6 – Cable Hammer Curl


  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart while holding the rope with an even grip.
  • Keep the weight in place, and keep your arms to your side
  • Press your biceps to the highest point of your biceps.
  • Slowly lower until it is under control
  • Repeat

Another one that is often overlooked (even for me) is that The cable hammer curl can be very efficient. The rope is made to mimic a normal hammer curl. This makes it among the best alternative the dumbbell hammer curl.

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Pro Tip

Try to keep the rope as straight as possible throughout the workout. This will avoid the elbows being raised and also involve your anterior deltoids.

#7 Zottman Curl


  • Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart while holding dumbbells by your sides with an underhand grip.
  • Keep the weight in place, keeping your arms by your sides.
  • Press your biceps towards the top while putting your palms
  • Slowly decrease until you can control it.
  • Repeat

I don’t really do Zottman curl very often. However, they appear to be popular with a few people. They’re a great workout that can be done in addition to the dumbbell hammer curl because they allow for the sweeping motion of the wrists and hit the three main muscles in the upper and mid-arm.

Pro Tip

Main thing to remember for this Zottman curl is to tighten and control the biceps in the upper part of your body. When you do this, you will be able to manage the dumbbell while you rotate your palms.

#8 Resistance Band Curl Hammer


  • Place yourself on top of the band, feet shoulder-width apart, using a neutral hand position.
  • Lift weights, and keep the elbows by your side.
  • Make sure you squeeze your biceps towards the highest point of your biceps.
  • Slowly lower until it is under control
  • Repeat

This is excellent Biceps exercise that can be done to finish. It is possible to start with the dumbbell hammer curl and then totally burn the muscle using this alternative.

Pro Tip

Definitely focus on keeping your lowering under control. The tension on the band is a bit hefty at the highest. You can also do the two-handed version using an ordinary resistance band. You can use this grip with an upper hand instead.

#9 Kettlebell Curl


  • Place your feet shoulder-width apart while holding kettlebells by your sides with an even grip.
  • Increase your weight, making sure that your wrists remain as straight as you can and your elbows locked
  • Press your biceps to the highest point of your biceps.
  • Slowly lower until it is under control
  • Repeat

Kettlebell curls can become frustrating due to their tension on your wrists and forearms. They are also difficult in a positive way. Certain exercises test your forearms and wrists in the same way.

Pro Tip

Keep doing this exercise with less weight and a high(er) number of reps. The more weight you lift, the more difficult and difficult they are to manage.

Last Words

These are the best options for the dumbbell hammer curl that you could include in your fitness routine. The exercises mentioned above can be substituted with any hammer-curl exercise. It is important to ensure that you structure your exercise program in line with your objectives and fitness levels. If your brachialis muscles seem weak, you need to do more the dumbbell hammer curl or other exercises to build up your weak points.

If you find this blog useful, make sure to share it with acquaintances and social media to ensure that people are aware of these options. If you know any other exercises that are better than the ones listed, you can post them in the comments section below.


  • Timothy P. Carnes

    Timothy P. Carnes is a certified personal trainer with a Bachelor's degree in Exercise Science from the University of Florida. With over 8 years of experience in the fitness industry, Timothy is an expert in strength and conditioning, body composition, and overall health and wellness. He also holds certifications in strength and conditioning through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and corrective exercise through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). As an author at FitGAG, he shares his knowledge and expertise on a variety of topics, including strength training, body composition, and overall health and wellness tips. Timothy believes that consistency and discipline are the keys to achieving fitness goals, and he strives to inspire his readers to prioritize their fitness and wellness journey. Through his articles, Timothy aims to empower his readers to take control of their health, enhance their performance, and live their best lives.

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