For the classic bodybuilder physique, add hammer curls to your arm exercise routine.
If you want bulging biceps, adding hammer curl variations to your strength training program is one of the best things you can do for arm physique. The biceps, which initiate elbow flexion, are comprised of several muscles that run from the elbow to the shoulder: the biceps bracii, brachioradialis and brachialis muscles. According to "The Best Arm Exercises You've Never Heard Of," hammer curls are one of the best exercises you can perform to beef up the biceps.
Dumbbells for Hammer Curls
The standard variation of hammer curls, as recommended by the American Council on Exercise, uses two weighted dumbbells. To perform dumbbell hammer curls, stand with one foot slightly in front of the other for stability. Straighten your spine and draw in your abdominal muscles. Hold one dumbbell in each hand by your sides, with your palms facing each other and thumbs pointing away from your body. Inhale and draw both hands toward your shoulders, making sure to keep your elbows tucked close to your body throughout the entire exercise. Exhale and lower the dumbbells back down to your sides.
Cable Hammer Curls and Resistance
Cable hammer curls are a bicep exercise variation using a resistance band or exercise cable. If you are using a resistance band instead of an exercise cable, choose a band that has a handle on each end. To perform this exercise, stand on the center of a resistance band or in front of an exercise cable and hold one end of the band or cable in each hand. The palms face one another and thumbs point toward the ceiling. Stand up tall and glue your elbows to your sides for the duration of the exercise. Inhale and curl both forearms toward your shoulders. Exhale and release your hands back down to your sides.
Medicine Ball Hammer Curls for Biceps
Using a medicine ball offers a unique hammer curl variation. In this variation you only use one medicine ball held with both hands, so you might need to adjust the weight accordingly. For example, if you perform a dumbbell hammer curl with 10-pound weights, consider using a 15- to 20-pound medicine ball. To perform the exercise, stand up tall with a straight spine holding one medicine ball in front of your thighs with both hands. Tuck your elbows into your sides for the entire exercise. Inhale and bend your elbows, curling the medicine ball toward the top of your chest. Exhale and lower the ball back to the starting position.
Before performing any strength training exercise, be sure to warm up the body first. Perform five to 10 minutes of light to moderate cardiovascular activity -- jogging in place or jumping jacks -- to warm up your muscles. Avoid any biceps strength training exercises if you have a history of shoulder or elbow injury until you have a chance to speak to your doctor. If you are new to strength training, start off with light weights and work your way up gradually. As a rule of thumb, you should be able to perform 10 to 15 repetitions of each exercises before your muscles fatigue, working your way up to three sets.