Reverse Curls Vs. Hammer Curls [Total Exercise Comparison]

Hammer Curls vs Bicep Curls

Your biceps, the muscles on the front of your upper arm, are a big deal for many of us who work out. They look strong and are a sign of fitness.

If you’re trying to make your biceps bigger, you’ve probably tried exercises like reverse curls and hammer curls. Both are great for growing your biceps, but they work a bit differently.

It’s good to know how each exercise helps your biceps. This way, you can get the best results from your workouts.

So, if you want bigger or stronger biceps, using both exercises in your routine can really help.

Reverse Curls Explained

If you’re looking to work on those forearm muscles, these strength exercises are your go-to. This exercise specifically targets the brachioradialis muscle, which you can find on your forearm.

This muscle helps you bend your forearm at the elbow, and it also gives a hand when you’re doing regular biceps curls. Ready to give it a try?

Grab a weight that feels right for you, something you can curl 8-12 times without straining. Hold the weight in your hands using an overhand grip. Make sure your elbows are snug by your sides.

Now, curl the weights up to your shoulders, keeping those wrists nice and straight. Once you’ve reached the top, bring the weights back down and start again.

All About Hammer Curls

Now, if you’re more into focusing on the main bicep muscle, hammer curls are for you. This exercise zeroes in on the biceps brachii muscle.

This big guy helps you bend your elbow and also lets you turn your palm facing up. Want to try it out?

Just like with the reverse curls, pick a weight that feels good for 8-12 reps. Hold it with a grip where your thumbs face forward, kind of like you’re holding a hammer, hence the name!

Keep those elbows close to you, curl the weights up to your shoulders, and then bring them back down. And there you go, you’re on your way to stronger biceps!

Muscle Focus

Reverse Curls Vs. Hammer Curls Muscle Focus

Both of these exercises are great for working on that bicep muscle, the one that pops when you flex. But here’s a fun fact: Reverse curls give some extra love to the brachioradialis muscle in your forearm.

Why? It’s all about the grip. When you do reverse curls with an overhand grip, that brachioradialis muscle gets a bit more action.

On the other hand, hammer curls, with their neutral grip, don’t activate this muscle as much. So, if you’re aiming to work on both your biceps and that forearm muscle, reverse curls might be your new best friend.


Both of these exercises come with a bunch of cool benefits:

  1. Bigger Biceps: Want those arms to stand out in a crowd? Both exercises can help you get there.
  2. Stronger Grip: Whether you’re opening jars or shaking hands, a strong grip always comes in handy. These curls can help with that.
  3. Safer Forearms: Working on these muscles can help keep your forearms safe from injuries. It’s always good to protect those muscles.
  4. For Everyone: The best part? You can adjust the weight to fit your comfort level. Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been lifting for years, these exercises can fit right into your routine.

So, next time you’re at the gym or working out at home, give these curls a try. Your arms will thank you!

Pros and Cons

When it comes to arm workouts, the choice between reverse curls and hammer curls can be a bit tricky. Let’s break down the pros and cons of each to help you make an informed decision.

Reverse Curls

Reverse Curls Benefits

Let’s start with reverse curls.


  1. Forearm Activation: Reverse curls strongly target the brachioradialis, a muscle in the forearm. This can lead to better forearm development compared to traditional curls.
  2. Grip Strength: Holding the barbell or dumbbell with a pronated (overhand) grip can improve grip strength.
  3. Variation: Introducing reverse curls can add variety to your bicep workouts, which can help overcome plateaus.
  4. Wrist Stability: The overhand grip can promote wrist stability and strength, which can be beneficial for many functional movements.


  1. Limited Bicep Activation: While the reverse curl does activate the biceps, it doesn’t emphasize them as much as other curl variations.
  2. Wrist Discomfort: Some people may find the reverse grip uncomfortable for their wrists, especially when lifting heavy weights.
  3. Potential for Less Weight: Due to the grip, many individuals can’t lift as heavy with reverse curls as with other curl variations.

Hammer Curls

Hammer Curls benefits

Next, let’s examine hammer curls.


  1. Brachialis Activation: Hammer curls target the brachialis muscle, which sits under the biceps brachii. This can lead to a fuller arm appearance when developed.
  2. Forearm Activation: The neutral grip of the hammer curl also targets the brachioradialis.
  3. Joint Comfort: The neutral grip can be more comfortable for the wrist and elbow joints for some people.
  4. Functional Strength: The hammer curl grip mimics many real-world lifting tasks, potentially improving functional strength.


  1. Less Bicep Peak Engagement: Hammer curls don’t emphasize the bicep peak (the biceps brachii, especially the long head) as much as supinated curls.
  2. Overuse: If one relies heavily on hammer curls and neglects other variations, they might miss out on balanced arm development.

Which One Should You Choose?

The big question: reverse curls or hammer curls? It really depends on what you’re aiming for.

If it’s all about the biceps for you, go for reverse curls. But if you want a balanced workout for both biceps and forearms, hammer curls are the way to go.

Why not try both and see which one feels right for you? Whatever you choose, just remember to enjoy the process and the gains that come with it!

How to Do These Exercises Correctly

How to Do Curls Exercises Correctly

Prior to beginning these exercises, it is advisable to engage in forearm warm-up activities. Simple moves like wrist circles and stretching out your fingers can get the blood flowing and prepare your muscles.

When you’re picking a weight, go for one that feels challenging but won’t strain you. Remember, it’s all about quality, not quantity.

The Right Way to Curl

  1. Stand tall with a straight back. Imagine there’s a string pulling you up from the top of your head.
  2. Tighten your core. Think of it as hugging your belly button towards your spine.
  3. Grab your weights. For reverse curls, you’ll want an overhand grip, and for hammer curls, hold them so your thumbs are facing forward.
  4. Time to curl! Lift those weights up to your shoulders. Make sure your wrists stay straight and strong.
  5. Once you’ve curled up, bring the weights back down smoothly.
  6. Aim for a set number of reps that challenge you but still allow you to maintain good form.

Your Equipment Guide

Curls Exercises Equipment

Curious about the tools of the trade for reverse curls and hammer curls? Let’s explore equipment essentials to help you make the most of these exercises.


The trusty dumbbell is a favorite for many. When selecting dumbbells, it’s crucial to find a weight that pushes you but doesn’t compromise your technique.

Having a pair that’s just right will ensure you’re working those muscles effectively.


For those who love the feel of a barbell, it’s another excellent choice for these curls. When loading up your barbell, aim for a weight that’s challenging yet allows for smooth, controlled movements.

Bringing the Gym to Your Living Room

Curls Exercises at home

Don’t feel like heading to the gym? No problem!

Your home can be the perfect place to get those biceps burning. If you’re lucky enough to have dumbbells lying around, you’re golden.

But if you’re starting from scratch, there’s no need to fret. Resistance bands can be a game-changer.

They’re versatile, easy to store, and can be adjusted to provide just the right amount of challenge. And for those days when you’re feeling extra resourceful, everyday items can come to the rescue.

Soup cans, water bottles, or even bags of rice can double up as weights. Just make sure you’ve got a firm hold, and you’re all set to get those curls in!


Can I do these two exercises on the same day?

Yes, you can do them on the same day. However, it’s important to do them at different times of the workout.

This is because both exercises work the biceps, and doing them too close together can lead to overtraining.

How often should I incorporate these exercises into my routine?

It’s generally recommended to work on your biceps 2-3 times a week, giving them ample time to recover between sessions.

Are there any common mistakes to watch out for?

Yes, some common mistakes include using too much weight, which can compromise form, and not keeping the wrists straight, especially during reverse curls.

How can I ensure I’m using the right weight for these exercises?

Start with a lighter weight and focus on your form. If you can easily complete more than 12 reps, consider increasing the weight. If you can’t complete at least 8 reps with proper form, reduce the weight.

Can these exercises help with toning, or are they just for building muscle?

Both! While they’re great for building muscle, they can also help tone and define the biceps and forearms when combined with a balanced diet and cardio exercises.

Final Thoughts

So, you’re looking to boost those biceps, right? Both reverse curls and hammer curls are top-notch choices for that.

They each have their own style and focus on different parts of the bicep. It’s like choosing between chocolate and vanilla ice cream.

Both are delicious, but they offer different flavors. If you’re feeling a bit unsure about which one to go for, why not give both a shot?

After a few sessions, you’ll start to notice which one feels better and which one your biceps respond to more. Remember, it’s all about finding what fits best for you and your goals.

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