Alternating Hammer Curls - Biceps Exercise Guide
Muscles Targeted: The alternating hammer curl exercise,
which is also referred to as neutral grip bicep curls or dumbbell
curls with a neutral grip, is an integral gym technique which helps
to build up the muscles of the arm. This exercise primarily focuses
on the bicep muscle group (bicep brachii) which is located on the
front part of the arm between the shoulder and the elbow. It also
hits the forearm muscle group (brachioradialis) extremely well due
to the wrist position with the hammer grip as you curl the weight
up. This exercise employs the use of dumbbells which are held with
each hand and then raised to shoulder level and returned down to
waist level. The dumbbells are held like a hammer and the movement
emulates that of hammering a nail, hence the name. This exercise
is performed by alternating both arms for a full repetition.
Exercise Instructions: With a dumbbell
in each hand, stand with your arms naturally hanging at your
sides with your palms facing in toward your body. While keeping
your palms facing inward, curl the weight in your right hand
directly up toward your shoulder while keeping your wrist
in a fixed position (do not supinate or turn your wrist as
you curl up). Squeeze the biceps hard at the top for a one-count
and then slowly return to the starting position. Repeat this
movement with your other arm and keep alternating for several
reps. Be sure to keep your wrists locked throughout the movement
and facing in toward your body the entire time.
Why This Exercise is Important: The bicep is a very important
muscle group in the human body, and as such should be trained effectively.
They help with day-to-day activities such as lifting objects (groceries,
kids) and other basic daily functions. This exercise is very important
due to the fact that it targets and stimulates the biceps very well.
For first time beginners, you are advised to use a light weight
that you can manage to lift using strict form. There is no need
to rush and compete the set quickly. You should then increase the
weight of the dumbbells once your technique is spot-on. Remember
that doing the exercise correctly is the most important factor for
getting the results you want.
Things To Avoid: You should avoid using too much weight
when doing this arm exercise. This can be done precariously by choosing
dumbbells that are simply too heavy which will lead to "cheating"
to get the weight up and not following proper technique. You are
therefore advised to start off with less weight and increase with
time as your muscle grows and gets stronger. You are also advised
not to train your bicep muscle too often (only 1-2 times per week)
so as to give it a proper rest period for it to recover.
Reps and Sets: With the alternating hammer curls, you should
start off doing 1015 repetitions per set with a rest period
of 60-90 seconds which should be utilized to recover fully after
each set. For beginners you should only do 2-3 sets for this exercise
and as you can advance later to 3-4 sets and lower reps (8-10).
Other Exercises To Use: While working on your arms, the
alternating hammer curls can be coupled with other exercise to complete
your arm training at the gym. Since we are placing emphasis on the
arms, it's also important to target the triceps in your workout
also since this area is actually the largest muscle group of the
Once again, please ensure to lift weights which are suitable to
your fitness level to avoid overstraining your muscles or causing
injury due to improper form and technique. Stick to a basic routine
when you're first starting out and then add more exercises and overall
sets once you feel you have advanced to the next level. View our
of exercise guides for a comprehensive list of exercises that
target the biceps.