Reverse curls vs hammer curls – A comparison
If you are looking for the perfect workout to build muscle mass and strength in your arms, bicep curls are a great option. Here is a detail of how two variations of bicep curls, i.e. bicep curls and reverse curls, impact your biceps.
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Bicep curls are an exercise that targets the muscle of the upper arm, elbow flexors, and lower arm. The primary focus of the curls exercise is on the bicep muscles; however, you can try different variations of the curls to target a specific muscle group.
What are reverse curls?
Reverse curls are a variation of regular bicep curls that are done with the help of dumbbells or any other weighted equipment. The key is to hold the weight facing away from your body.
How to perform:
- Stand straight with dumbbells in both hands, keeping your palms facing outwards.
- Keep your feet slightly apart at shoulder-width.
- Lift the dumbbells slowly by bending your arms at the elbows.
- Stop in front of your chest and then lower the weights slowly to return to the starting position.
What are hammer curls?
Hammer curls are also bicep curls performed with dumbbells in each hand. The difference between hammer curls and other bicep curls is keeping a neutral grip on the weights.
How to perform:
- Stand straight with legs slightly apart, knees under your hips.
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand and keep your palms facing your thighs with relaxed shoulders.
- Now pull up your lower arms and keep the elbows bent.
- Lift slowly till your hands reach your shoulders, keeping the upper arm still.
- Hold there for a second and then straighten your arms to return to the starting position.
A comparison of reverse curls and hammer curls
Here are some of the main categories in which we can compare the effectiveness of both types of biceps curls to decide which workout you should go for.
1. Bicep development
Both reverse curls and hammer curls are effective in the flexion of the forearm. In the case of reverse curls, the wrists point forward, leading to lesser rotation than the rotation of wrists in hammer curls.
Also, your ability to lift heavier weights is more prominent in hammer curls. Therefore due to added levels of resistance, hammer curls are more effective in this regard.
2. Brachioradialis development
Brachioradialis is a muscle that connects the upper arm with the lower arm. It acts as a flexor muscle and helps decrease the distance between the upper and lower arm.
In both types of arm curls, these muscles stay active. But the amount of work that they have to do in reverse curls is more than hammer curls. That is why it is easier to raise the arm back up in hammer curls.
3. Brachialis size
It is a large flexor muscle at the front of the upper arm. With the development and increase in the size of this muscle, the bicep size appears much more prominent.
Whatever type of curls you are doing, this muscle is active in all kinds of grip. You can make it more dynamic by putting it at a mechanical disadvantage.
Since it is a slow twitching muscle, the brachialis is more active during reverse curls than hammer curls. Hammer curls are very challenging but more effective for fast-twitch muscles.
4. Arm strength
To improve the strength of a muscle, you need to make the workout more and more challenging. In the case of reverse curls, the ability to lift weights and do more reps is limited.
You can lift heavier weights with hammer curls and do more extended sets efficiently. Therefore to build overall arm strength and biceps strength, hammer curls are superior to reverse curls.
Final verdict – Reverse or hammer curls
The type of exercise you opt for depends on the point of focus and the muscles you want to target. If you want to go for heavier weights without wearing your arms out, hammer curls are the better choice.
Whereas if you want to focus on specific elbow flexor muscles and increase muscle mass in certain areas, you can go for reverse curls. You can do a combination of both hammer curls and reverse curls for enhanced bicep strength and an increase in muscle mass.