How to do a hammer on biceps with dumbbells?

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Lifting dumbbells for biceps grip “hammer”

In bodybuilding, there is one very effective and working biceps exercise called the hammer. In it, you can very well load your biceps, while part of the load will go to a muscle such as brachialis, which is located between the biceps and triceps. This muscle visually makes your arm bigger, and also pushes your biceps up a bit, making it more peak and visually more voluminous. An underdeveloped brachialis very much lacks your desired centimeters in your hands. In this movement, you can work with a good burden, which is also an important advantage. The hammer can be completed as a second or third exercise in your biceps training.  

What is this exercise? What muscle groups does it develop? The right technique and implementation secrets.

Biceps training should be in the program of each athlete. At the same time, the classic options for working out include standing bar raises, work on Scott’s bench and concentrated lifting.

We must not forget about another exercise that allows you to further work out the muscle and give it volume. It’s about the biceps hammer. The name of the exercise is explained by the similarity with a blacksmith’s hammer blows on the anvil. Synonyms – Hammer lifts, biceps flexion with a grip hammer, hammer, and so on.

What muscles are in work?

When doing the exercise, biceps (biceps brachii), brachialis (brachialis) and brachioradialis (brachioradialis) are best worked out.

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In addition, part of the load is taken by the chest (upper part) and the front deltas. If we compare the hammer with the classic lifting of the barbell or dumbbell, then in the first case, brachialis gets a big load, and in the second – biceps.


The exercise in question is considered one of the best with dumbbells for working out the biceps. There are several reasons:

  • The long head of the biceps receives a load sufficient for growth. This is due to the best stretching of the outer part of the muscle.
  • Biceps work at the limit during the entire range of movement of the “hammer”.
  • Brachialis growth occurs due to the position of the hand (lack of supination).
  • Regular training helps to increase the volume of the forearms, which additionally secrets the biceps and makes the muscles on the arm more prominent.
  • Exercise better than others strengthens and develops small muscle groups that classical barbell / dumbbell lifts do not “catch”.
  • Ease of execution and lack of need for an additional tool. Only dumbbells will be required to work out.
  • The wrists are less loaded due to the lack of torque (if compared with the classic bending). Due to this, the danger of getting grass is lower.
  • To increase efficiency, the exercise is allowed to be performed in many variations – using the EZ-shaped bar, with a rope, block and so on.
correct technique

Execution technique

After considering the benefits that the exercise differs, it is worth moving on to the technique. Here the algorithm is as follows:

  1. Take a shell in your hand with a grip, with the thumb pointing up. Straighten so that the body is level, hold the dumbbells on outstretched arms near the hips. Watch for the elbow joints – they should be located near the body, you do not need to move them forward. The described position is the starting position.
  2. Fix the upper part of the arm, contract the biceps muscle and, due to its strength as you exhale, raise your arm. Exercise is performed until the dumbbell is on a par with the shoulder joint. At the upper point, it is worth pausing for 1-2 seconds and additionally compress (strain) the muscles.
  3. On inspiration, slowly and controlledly return the load to its original position.
  4. Perform the exercise as many times as necessary.
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Secrets and recommendations

The considered bending of the arms guarantees the result of bicep growth and the absence of injuries when following a number of recommendations:

  • Watch your elbows – they should be motionless. When performing the exercise, only the forearm area works.
  • Place your wrist straight (turn or bend of the wrist should be excluded).
  • Do not allow the body (cheating) to work when performing hammers. Beginners often lean back, helping themselves cope with the load (this is a mistake).
  • Do not chase the scales. The main task is to guarantee the constancy of the load during the lifting / lowering cycle.
  • When lowering the projectile, try to feel how the biceps muscle is stretched. To guarantee this effect, the arm should not be fully extended, immediately starting a new lift.
  • When you reach the top of the peak point, you should strain your biceps.
  • Full straightening of the hands at the lower point is not recommended – this leads to relaxation of the muscle group.
  • The number of repetitions is 12-15 times, the number of sets is 3-4 . This is enough to get the biceps load and push for growth. For a variety of workouts, a decrease and increase in the number of repetitions is allowed. The main thing is strict adherence to technology. It is better to do 5-7 repetitions correctly than 15, but with a swinging back.
  • Periodically (once a month) it is allowed to work with adding weight above the norm and cheating, but this should not be abused.


As already mentioned, a hammer is an exercise that paves the way for imagination. Known variations include:

  • bending your arms on a bench while sitting upright or at an angle;
  • simultaneous raising of arms (standing or sitting);
  • Scott’s Bench Rises;
  • a single study of each of the hands;
  • work on the block with a special handle.
sitting performance

What’s better?

After the above, the question arises, which of the exercises should be added to the training program – a hammer or a classic lifting barbell (dumbbell). Here it is worth highlighting a number of points:

  • Lifting dumbbells or barbells, working on Scott’s bench are exercises that aim to increase the biceps muscle volume.
  • Hammer – an exercise that is more aimed at developing brachialis, which “pushes” the biceps, as it is located under it.
  • In the “classic” complex and hammers guarantee optimal study of the muscles of the hands, so it is better to combine them.
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Peter Roberts

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