Hammer Curl vs Bicep Curl: Which one is better for you?

If you want to develop a particular muscle, you need to choose the workouts. In this article, we’ll discuss two types of exercise regimes; so that you can choose better.

The first one is the Hammer curl and the second one is the Bicep curl. These two exercises focus on bicep muscles with some differences between them. Both of them have pros and cons and we’ll learn about them from the hammer curl vs bicep curl comparison.

Bicep Curl

Bicep curl is a classic weight-lifting exercise.  Bicep curl muscles worked are upper arm muscles and to some extent the lower arm. They are the brachialis and brachioradialis to be specific. The bicep curl is completely beginner-friendly and it’s very easy to learn.

The basic setup is to stand up tall with feet wide apart and hold one dumbbell in each hand. Here, you should relax the upper muscles and bend the elbows when you lift the weights. 

Breathing is an important part of the bicep curl. You should exhale while lifting and inhale when you are lowering your hands. Ensure that you are not going too fast as smooth motion and your elbows are in the proper position.

One of the amazing benefits of the bicep curls is that you can change them according to your need.  This can make the exercises more challenging and rewarding at the same time.

For example,add a rotation of your wrist while raising and lowering the dumbbell. This will turn bicep curl into a Zottman curl. Zottman curl works mostly on the bicep muscles. Especially when you are working out for full arms.

You might wonder whether Zottman curls better than bicep curls. Both have their separate purpose. If you are working out for the training of your biceps only, bicep curls are the better. But if you want to train both your full arms and forearms, then Zottman curls are better.

Bicep Curl Benefit

  • Bicep muscles have two heads. The bicep curl focuses on the development of the shorter head of the bicep muscle.
  • Bicep curls are simple, straightforward, and easygoing for beginner weight lifters. It’s the most significant benefit of this workout. It lets any individual take part in and develop themselves.
  • Strengthening the arms is important to the weight-lifter
  • Bicep curls are very basic.  Modification of the original workout is very easy and beneficial.
  • Some very insignificant modification of the bicep curl results in  Zottman curls. It usually helps to transform the complete forearms and other parts of the body.

Hammer Curl

It’s a modified version of the bicep curl exercise. This is using a natural grip and palms facing each other. That makes it different from the traditional bicep curl.

The major focus here is on the elbow flexors. It means the muscles that help to bend the elbow and bring your hand to your shoulder.

Doing hammer curl exercise can be easy if you follow the proper stance and steps. When standing tall, hold the dumbbells at your sides and keep your palms facing each other.

your back should be straight and the elbows are against your sides. The initial step is bending the elbows while raising the dumbbells. Wait two seconds and lower the dumbbells slowly. Remember, throughout this exercise, your palms should face each other.

The grip provides the opportunity to lift more weight compared to the bicep curl. Thus, hammer curl helps to strengthen the elbow and forearm muscles. The nature of the hammer curl exercise lets the impact go into more inner parts of the bicep muscles.

Hammer curl muscles worked are biceps brachii, brachioradialis, and brachialis.

Bicep brachii handles create motion for the elbow and the shoulder joints. It’s done by flexing the elbow and also by supporting while flexing the shoulder.

The brachioradialis is an upper arm muscle. It is spread between the elbow joint and the forearm. It also helps the flexion of the elbow and provides mass to the forearm.

Finally, the brachialis is another upper arm muscle. It is attached to the ulna bone. It is the strongest flexor of the elbow while doing the hammer curl exercise, but it’s hardly visible.

A slight modification of the hammer curls is the cross-body hammer curls.  lift the dumbbells one by one. After lifting, the dumbbell should be brought towards the chest.

In cross-body hammer curls, the palms should be facing the chest.Whereas, in hammer curls, your palms face each other. It’s also a very good exercise for the long head of the bicep muscles than the standard hammer curl.

Hammer Curl Benefit

  •  Hammer curl lets the lifter use which enables him/ her to lift more weights. These extra weights help the weight lifter to make their arms stronger than traditional dumbbell curls. 
  • In the hammer curl exercise, more emphasis is given to the short head of the biceps compared to the longer one.
  • This exercise will help you to increase your bicep size along with your strength.
  • Hammer curls improve the stability of your wrist. It also helps you to make a stronger grip.
  • Hammer curl has an impact on all three muscles that are related to the flexion of the elbow.
  • To increase your muscle endurance, you should look forward to hammer curls.
  • Shoulder pains normally originate from the long head of the biceps muscle injury. Since hammer curl puts focus on the short head more than the long head of the bicep muscle. If you are struggling with shoulder or forearm pain, hammer curl can be useful.
  • Starting hammer curl with a lightweight will help you to understand whether you are experiencing any problems or not. If hammer curl becomes struggling for you, then you should consult with your doctor.

Comparison Table

CharacteristicsHammer CurlBicep Curl
Muscles Worked OnIt impacts all the three muscles connected with the elbow. Moreover, it focuses on the short head of the bicep muscles.The long head of the bicep is the main concern of the common bicep curl exercise.
ModificationHammer curl can be modified to a Cross-body hammer curl, preacher curls, incline seated bicep curls, etc.Bicep curl can be modified to the hammer curl and Zottman curl and every modified version of hammer curls.
Which one to chooseTo train the whole arm along with the forearm, go for hammer curl.If you want to train your biceps without considering about the rest of the upper body muscles, the bicep curl is better in that case.
EffectivenessTo get a quick result for gaining a massive bicep, hammer curl might be a better option.If you think you can show perseverance and want to do it at a regular pace, go for a bicep curl. 
WeightHammer curl will be convenient for you while lifting more weight.For most people, bicep curls don’t allow them to lift more weights than hammer curls.
GripHammer curl gives you a natural grip that helps you to make your wrists more stable.Bicep curl doesn’t strengthen your grip and can strain the wrist.

Bicep curls vs hammer curls, which one is better among these two – can lead to an endless debate. Both of these exercises have their own benefits and methods.

Actually, it’s pretty simple. If you are interested in getting bigger arms as soon as possible, then hammer curl is your thing. Doing regular hammer curls will lead you to that goal very quickly compared to the bicep curls.

Bicep curls work on the bicep brachiis. Whereas hammer curls cover a wide area of the upper body. 


  1. Are hammer curls better than bicep curls?

Ans: It’s not about which one is better or which one is worse since the comparison is meaningless without the goal. If you want the biceps to be bigger and faster, choose hammer curls.

  1. Is the hammer curl harder than the bicep curl?
    Ans: Hammer curls can help you to lift more weights but that doesn’t make it harder than bicep curl.
  2. Dumbbell or Barbell bicep curls-which one is better?
    Ans: Dumbbells are always a good option if you want to make your arms stronger and gain stability. Dumbbell bicep curls will help you achieve a bulging bicep and there’s no extra requirement.
  3. Are bicep curls and hammer curls enough?
    Ans:Whether these two exercises are enough or not, depends on your target. If you are satisfied with the result and don’t want any more progress, then it’s okay to work out with those two.


  • Kelly Clanton

    Hi there! I'm Kelly Clanton. I am an educated fitness coach with a master degree in Sports Education, and more than ​9 years of working in fitness industry. I love doing and teaching fitness because in my own little way, I am able to encourage people to take health back into their own hands. I'm a Mom,Wife, Fitness Instructor at Fitness Instructor.

    View all posts

Leave a Comment