wikiHow to Do Dumbbell Hammer Curls

Four Parts:Getting in the Starting PositionRaising the the DumbbellLowering the DumbbellTrying Variations

Most weight-lifters focus on their biceps when working their arms. However, there are other important muscles when it comes to building up your arms. The brachialis and brachioradialis work with your biceps to flex your elbow. Hammer curls are a great and easy way to work these muscles, along with your biceps, adding strength, definition, and size.[1]

Part 1
Getting in the Starting Position

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    Position your feet. Stand up straight with your feet even with your hips. Your stance should be solid and stable.[2]
    • Some people prefer instead to do this exercise while sitting on a bench, feet on either side.[3] This is also fine, but be sure not to slump or slouch.
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    Pick up the dumbbells. Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Your thumbs should be around the handles and your palms should face your body.[4]
    • The dumbbells should rest next to your thighs and your elbows should be straight.
    • How heavy the dumbbell should be depends on your arm strength. Choose a dumbbell that will challenge you,[5] but not one that's so heavy you have to strain just to pick it up.
    • A dumbbell that is too heavy can injure you. Don't push yourself to lift a dumbbell that causes strain, especially if you suffer from back problems.
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    Brace and align your torso. Contract your abdominal muscles to brace your torso. Pull your shoulder blades down and back, and make sure your neck is aligned with your spine.[6]
    • Hold this position throughout the excercise. Do not slump or arch your back. If you feel this occuring, you may need to consider lighter dumbbells.
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    Bend your elbows slightly. Before you begin the exercise, bend your elbows just a little to take the tension into your biceps.[7]

Part 2
Raising the the Dumbbell

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    Exhale. Let out a deep breath.[8]
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    Lift the dumbbell. Slowly bend your elbow until the dumbbell almost touches your shoulder, being careful not to let your elbow move forward.[9] Only your forearm should move.
    • Keep your wrist straight. The palm of your hand should face your body as you lift. Do not shrug your shoulders.
    • Note that you can either lift both dumbbells at the same time, or alternate between arms, raising and lowering one dumbbell and then the other.[10]
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    Hold and squeeze. When your dumbbell reaches the high-point of the lift, hold it there for just a moment and squeeze with your hand to flex your bicep.[11]

Part 3
Lowering the Dumbbell

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    Inhale. Take a deep breath in.[12]
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    Lower the dumbbell. Slowly straighten your arm to lower the dumbbell to to the starting position, keeping you back straight.[13]
    • Do not simply allow the dumbbell to drop back to your side, as this does not exercise your muscles. Lower it slowly, keeping control over it the whole way down.
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    Repeat. If alternating arms, repeat the process with the other arm. Continue through your desired number of repetitions (reps).
    • For beginners, one or two sets of eight to 12 reps is recommended. Don't strain yourself.[14]
    • For more advanced lifters, do three sets of 12 reps.[15]

Part 4
Trying Variations

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    Lift the dumbbells with your palms out. One popular variation of the dumbbell hammer curl is to lift the dumbbells with your palms facing straight out in front of you in the starting position. This is called an "offset grip" hammer curl.[16]
    • This variation exercises your forearm along with the muscles that a standard hammer curl works.
  2. 2
    Use a preacher bench. To further increase difficulty, lean on a preacher bench. With the peak of the bench in your armpit, extend one arm down the bench. Hold a dumbbell in one hand and place the other hand on the bicep of the first. Curl up. [17]
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    Incorporate a lunge press. Another variation involves adding a lunge press to the motion. Step forward into a deep lunge, touching one knee to the ground. Raise the dumbbells simultaneously toward your shoulders. Then, straighten your arms, raising both dumbbells above your head as you return to a standing position.[18]
    • Repeat this, but alternate which knee touches the ground.
    • This version of the exercise also works your legs.


  • To make this exercise less challenging you can use lighter dumbbells.
  • Do not lean back as you lift the weight, or lean forward as you lower it. This exercise is designed to work the muscles in your arms only, not your torso.
  • Raise and lower the dumbbell slowly. Keep in control of using your own strength, not using momentum or gravity.[19]


  • Injuries to your back and elbows can occur if this exercise is performed incorrectly. Be sure to keep a straight back, pulling the dumbbells up only with your arms, and to keep your elbows close to your side.
  • People with elbow problems should not use this exercise. People with back problems should do it sitting down, ideally with back support of some kind.[20]

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Categories: Sports and Fitness