Building your forearms are a crucial part of bodybuilding, stronger and bigger forearms correlate to stronger grip strength, and your ability to lift heavier weights. Weak forearms can essentially bottleneck your performance leading to slower overall muscle development.
Hammer curls are a workout that mainly targets your biceps, but it’s a compound workout which will engage muscles in your shoulders, and also your forearms. But does this mean it’s good for building forearms?
To answer your question, yes hammer curls are good for your forearms despite hammer curls mainly targeting your biceps. It has to do with how hammer curls target multiple muscles at the same time making it better than standard bicep curls for forearms.
What Are Hammer Curls?
Hammer curls are a strength training exercise, it mainly targets your biceps, but it will also heavily target your forearms which makes it a great workout for building forearm and grip strength.
Compared to the traditional bicep curl, hammer curls focus on having a neutral grip with your palms facing each other. This means that hammer curls will target the brachialis and the brachioradialis muscles in the forearms whilst still targeting the biceps.
An underrated benefit with the hammer curl is that it’s a more natural exercise which will have your hands in a neutral position. This means that there will be less stress on your wrists.
|Hammer Curl||Standard Curls|
|Targets Brachioradialis muscle (Forearms) & Biceps||Targets Mainly Biceps|
|Palms Must Face Each other(Neutral grip)||Palms Face Upwards through the workout|
|Can be performed with dumbbells||Can be performed with dumbbells & Barbell|
How To Perform The Hammer Curl?
Before jumping straight into performing hammer curls, it’s important that you first understand what weight is perfect for you. Find a weight that you can comfortably perform 8-12 reps for 2-3 sets.
- Find Two Dumbbells – Ensure that you’re comfortable with the weight. and ensure that your feet are shoulder width apart. Keep your posture straight, and have your core engaged. Keep your chin tucked and arms slightly bent.
- Holding The Dumbbells – Ensure that your palms are facing your legs, and ensure that you grip the dumbbells tightly and have your elbows closely tucked to your sides.
- Performing The Curl – Lift the dumbbells and ensure that you keep your elbows steady, and tucked in to your sides. Make sure when you perform the curl that you lift it as close to your shoulders as possible.
- Lowering The Dumbbells – When lowering the dumbbell, it’s important to control the weight, this is so you maintain tension in your biceps, and most importantly in this scenario, your forearms.
Can Hammer Curls Get You Big Forearms?
How your forearms develop is completely dependent on the individual, some people can easily get bigger forearms, whereas some people are required to give their forearms additional attention.
Whilst I can say that hammer curls definitely are good for forearms as I often feel the tension they have on them, I must say, for bigger forearms, you should incorporate other exercises. Hammer curls on their own are unlikely to increase the size of your forearms.
If you work out smartly, increase the weights, and increase the number of repetitions, the hammer curls can be a worthwhile workout for both your forearms, and biceps. Just ensure that you properly sleep, and consume enough protein.
What Workouts Should I Do For Bigger Forearms?
So, we’ve established that hammer curls alone might not be enough to build bigger forearms, so now I’m going to recommend workouts you can incorporate alongside hammer curls which will contribute to bigger forearms.
Wrist Curls + Hammer Curls
Wrist curls are an isolation workout that primarily focuses on building your forearms and your wrists. They target the wrist extensor and the flexor muscles.
Wrist curls alongside hammer curls are a strong combination for building stronger forearms. After completing a set of hammer curls, you can jump straight into wrist curls by simply changing how you hold the dumbbells.
Or, you can use a barbell for wrist curls, and perform the wrist curls. Doing this right after a set of hammer curls will keep the intensity up on the forearms which will force them to grow over time.
Hammer Curl + Reverse Dumbbell Curl
The reverse dumbbell curl alongside the hammer curl is a great way to target both the biceps and the forearms at the same time. It will mostly target the Brachioradialis and the Pronator teres muscles located in the forearms.
Reverse dumbbell curls are exactly how you’d imagine them, you hold the dumbbells with your wrists facing down, and raise them up to your chest. There’s a level of tension on the forearms which can cause them to grow.
Right after a set of hammer curls, you can switch to the reverse dumbbell curls, you can use the same exact weights if you’re comfortable with it, or you can use a set of lighter weights.
Hammer Curl + Zottman Curl
Zottman curls are a variation of the biceps curl, and it will target three muscles, the biceps brachii, brachialis, and the brachioradialis muscles. So it will definitely target the forearms when performed correctly.
Performing the Zottman curls involves you holding a pair of dumbbells with palms facing each other. Raise the dumbbells to your shoulders, pause, and rotate your grip so your palms are facing down. Repeat this movement, and you should notice tension build up in your forearms.
Performing the Zottman curls right after an intense hammer curl set is a great way to maximize your forearm workout. It will also improve your grip strength.
My final word would be to not only rely on hammer curls for building bigger biceps. While they are great, you should definitely implement other workouts that target the forearms to maximise the chance of them growing.
My favorite workout for building forearms would have to be wrist curls, this is because they are easy to do, you only really require a barbell or a pair of dumbbells.