A hard-hitting way to do bicep hammer curls

Stop cheating your hammer curls and using too much swing! Instead, try this simple gym ‘hack’ to lock your elbows back and keep this bicep exercise honest.

Option 1: Misuse a preacher curl bench

Yep, I’m suggesting you use the bench in a way it wasn’t intended. But there’s good reason. Sit backwards on a preacher bench with the seat set high enough so your upper arm can be fixed against the backrest.

This setup is surprisingly comfortable, it’s also useful if you’re looking to superset these hammer curls with something else on the preacher bench – another curl variation, or even using the preacher to perform some French presses. For example:

A1) Supported Hammer Curls x 8-10 reps, 45 seconds rest

A2) French Press x 8-10 reps, 45 seconds rest, return to A1.

Option 2: Hammer curls using the lat pulldown

Sit backwards on a cable lat pulldown machine. Instead of setting the height according to your knees, set is so when you’re back-facing its supporting your upper arms – somewhere around the middle of your tricep depending on comfort.

These hammer curls work great as a lone-star exercise. Alternatively, you could try making use of the cables by alternating with some close-hammer grip pulldowns. A post-fatigue superset could look something like this:

A1) Supported Hammer Curls x 8-10 reps, 10-30 seconds rest

A2) Hammer Grip Pulldowns x 10-12 reps, 60 seconds rest, return to A1.

I wouldn’t even be opposed to you sticking the donkey bollocks (triceps rope) on there instead, and antagonist super-setting with some triceps work.

Why these work?

Being more locked in keeps you honest and eliminates cheating. The setup keeps your humerus directly perpendicular to the floor, allowing you to really isolate the tension in the top part of the exercise.

Hammer curls target the brachialis portion of your upper arms a little more, which responds well to high tension, a fast concentric contraction, and a controlled (or accentuated) eccentric. Try 3 sets of 8-10 reps with a 2-4 second eccentric for some extra biceps thickness.

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