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Hammer Curl with a Resistance Band – Expert Tips, and Mistakes to Avoid

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Advantage of the Resistance Band Hammer Curl 

Band hammer curls are an effective exercise you can perform at home to strengthen your grip, forearms, and biceps. The objective is to grab a resistance band, keep your wrists neutral (facing your thighs), and curl repeatedly.

A notable benefit of the hammer curl is that you can train with more weight and develop your brachioradialis and biceps muscles more evenly. Another advantage is that you can achieve a stronger contraction at the top, thanks to the increasing resistance as the band lengthens.

We recommend including the resistance band hammer curl near the end of your workouts, doing 15 to 30 slow and controlled repetitions per set.

Level of Exercise: Beginner

How to do a Hammer Curl with a Resistance Band 

  1. Take a looped or open-ended resistance band, step over the middle, bend forward, and grab both ends.
  2. Stand tall with your arms straight and wrists neutral to assume the starting position.
  3. Take a breath and slowly lift the resistance band. 
  4. Go up until your wrists are slightly higher than your elbows and hold the top position for a moment. Keep your elbows steady and to your sides.
  5. Lower your hands slowly, keeping the tension on your forearms and biceps.
  6. Extend your arms fully as you exhale.
  7. Take another breath and repeat.

What muscles does the band hammer curl activate?

The primary target muscles of band hammer curls is the biceps, which cover our upper arms’ front and produces elbow flexion (bending) (1). As we curl, our biceps produce much of the force needed to complete the repetition. Similarly, the brachialis, which lies underneath the bicep, contributes to elbow flexion (2).

Our brachioradialis is also involved in the band hammer curl (3). The muscle covers the top of our forearms and assists the bicep and brachialis with elbow flexion.

Tips on Band for a Hammer Curl

The most important tip for effective band hammer curls is to find the correct tension, which might require some experimenting. Your band should provide resistance from the start, progressively increasing near the top. A mistake is picking a strong band that offers no resistance at the bottom but prevents you from reaching the top position because of too much tension. Open-ended and looped bands can work so long as the tension is proper.

Another tip for the exercise is to complete each repetition slowly and without using momentum to finish each rep. Doing so is vital for keeping the tension on your biceps and forearms, forcing them to grow.

The third tip is to keep your elbows steady and to your sides from start to finish. That way, you can do each repetition with a full range of motion, forcing the correct muscles to do all the work.

Variations and Modifications of the Band Hammer Curl

1. Dumbbell Hammer Curl

man hammer curl dumbbell

Dumbbell hammer curls are a popular gym exercise that offers many of the same benefits as a band curl. The primary difference between the two is that you’re using dumbbells instead of a band, which provides greater flexibility for adjusting the resistance.

2. Pause Band Hammer Curl

The pause band hammer curl is an excellent variation for those looking to make the exercise more challenging and improve their mind-muscle connection. Instead of curling and extending your arms immediately, you have to pause at the top.

Mistakes to Avoid

Using Momentum

A common mistake with band hammer curls is using momentum. For example, you extend your arms, begin to curl and jerk your arms to stretch the band enough and complete the repetition. Instead, you should do reps slowly and with reasonable control.

Allowing Your Elbows to Travel Back and Forth

The second mistake is having your elbows travel forward when performing a curl and back as you extend your arms. Doing so makes the movement more accessible, but it prevents you from keeping the tension on your biceps and forearms. Instead, you should anchor your elbows to your sides and not move them back and forth.

Similar Exercises to the Band Hammer Curl

Bicep Curl (Dumbbell)

Bicep curl man dumbbell

Dumbbell curls are an excellent exercise that strengthens your biceps (4). Unlike hammer curls, your wrists end in a supinated position at the top, which allows you to put all of the tension on the bicep.

Bicep Curl (Cable)

The cable curl is another excellent variation that strengthens your biceps. Cable curls keep constant tension on your biceps, forcing them to grow more effectively.

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