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Build Big Arms with Hammer Curls

Updated on November 9, 2017
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How to Build the Outer Bicep Head with Hammer Curls

Hammer curls are great for making your biceps look big and thick without them really being very big and thick. In other words they look bigger than they really are.

The reason is that hammer curls mainly hit the outer smaller head of your biceps brachii muscle therefore needing less weight to make them grow to build a bigger muscle than your bigger inner biceps brachii head.

Hammer curls are typically done with dumbbells but you can do hammer curls with a special short barbell that is formed so that when you grab the bar your thumbs are pointing upright and palms are facing each other which is key in building the muscle of the outer bicep head that will make your biceps look more massive.

If you want to build big arms that look huge in a t-shirt then this is the exercise for you. Make sure when starting out doing hammer dumbbell curls you use a light weight so you do not strain anything since the outer biceps head is a smaller muscle you won’t need really heavy weight to build it. Once you strain or pull a tendon chances are it will be a recurring issue and that is something you do not want. Remember you are trying to build muscle not become a power lifter.

The Bigger Bicep Workout Plan

Perform hammer dumbbells curls after you have completed 2 or 3 sets of another bicep exercise like barbell curls or preacher bench dumbbell or barbell curls.

  • When performing the hammer curls second your biceps will be well warmed up and also tired out a bit.
  • Hammer curls can be performed sitting or standing whichever is more comfortable for you.
  • One thing I should mention is you don’t even need dumbbells if you don’t have them you can use a heavy book or anything you can hold onto just so that your thumb is always in the upright position and your palms are facing each other or towards the side of your body.
  • My instructions will assume you are using a dumbbell for this exercise. You can use one dumbbell at a time or if you like you can use two dumbbells and alternate repetitions. Let’s get started.

Video of How to Perform a Dumbbell Hammer Curl

Building Bigger Biceps Plan

Grab your dumbbells and hold them at arm’s length so that your palms are facing the side of your thighs.

  • Holding your upper arms stationery beside your torso or side lift one of the dumbbells upwards keeping your thumb always in an upright position and at the top of the movement squeeze your bicep (flex) it for a second or two and then lower the weight slowly.
  • If you are using two dumbbells then curl the other arm upwards once the other is back to the starting position. You don’t really have to go to failure doing this exercise as I feel doing that will just cause you to strain the muscle. Perform approximately 10 to 12 repetitions per set and do 2 sets.
  • If you can’t do 10 reps a set then the weight is too heavy. If you can perform more than 12 then the weight is too light. Perform this exercise a couple times a week and you will notice a difference in how your shirts fit in as little as a few weeks, if of course you are eating properly to promote muscle growth.
  • Make sure to give your biceps a lot of recovery time especially if you do back exercises on days other than bicep days. You might want to consider training your back and biceps on the same days. Good luck.

Dumbbell Hammer curls will give you big arms

The dumbbell hammer curl to build big biceps
The dumbbell hammer curl to build big biceps
front bicep pose
front bicep pose


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