Cable Hammer Curls

Cable Hammer Curls

Cable hammer curls aren’t the most popular bicep exercise, which is a shame. The movement offers numerous benefits, leads to impressive growth, and is helpful for all kinds of trainees.

But what exactly is a cable hammer curl, what benefits does it offer, and how can you do it safely? Let’s discuss.

How Hammer Curls Differ From Regular Bicep Curls

How Are Hammer Curls Different

Hammer and regular bicep curls seem like the same exercise at first glance. In many ways, that’s true. Both movements train your biceps through a similar range of motion. Many of the rules you would follow for a bicep curl also apply to hammer curls.

But despite the similarities, both movements offer their unique benefits. The most notable difference is wrist position. 

Your palms face up during regular bicep curls, and your palms face toward each other during a hammer curl. As such, regular curls allow you to emphasize your biceps better, whereas hammer curls offer a more balanced stimulus for the biceps and brachioradialis. (1)

When performing cable hammer curls, your palms face each other (as they hold the ropes). This engages and works your forearms more than traditional bicep curls.

Performing Cable Hammer Curls

What Are Cable Hammer Curls

What Makes Cable Hammer Curls Beneficial?

A profound benefit of hammer curls is that you get to develop your biceps and forearms simultaneously. Instead of doing unique exercises for both areas, you can do hammer curls and kill two birds with one stone. 

The benefit is possible because of the wrist position, which puts your biceps in a slightly disadvantaged position. As a result, your forearms engage more, leading to more balanced growth.

Another benefit of the cable hammer curl is the constant tension you feel from start to finish. Unlike free weights that offer varying resistance levels, cables aren’t influenced by gravity, which forces your muscles to work hard throughout each repetition.

Similarly, cables are great because you can create numerous angles to attack your muscles effectively. For example, you can stand over a low pulley and perform cable curls traditionally. 

You can also place the pulley in a high position, grab the attachment, and do curls with your arms elevated in front of you. Additionally, you can use various attachments (straight bar, handles, rope, etc.) to switch things up.

How to Make Cable Hammer Curls Safe And Effective

One of the most important things you need to do is stand erect with your back straight. Doing so will help you stay balanced, allowing you to keep all the tension on your biceps and forearms. You should also lift the weight smoothly and with reasonable control. Avoid jerking the weight because doing so robs your muscles of tension, making the exercise less effective.

Another vital tip to remember is to manage the load safely. Start with a lighter weight and gradually increase the resistance as you develop your skills with the exercise. Also, make sure to have a firm grip on the cable attachment while doing cable hammer curls.

For safety, take your time to inspect the machine you’ll be using. Ensure that the cable is solid on both ends and throughout because you can get hurt if it breaks during a set.

Increased Strain On Your Wrists

Cable hammer curls put more tension and pressure on your wrists than regular curls. So do some wrist warm-ups where you roll your wrists in a circular motion (and then reverse direction) to ensure they are fully warmed up and ready. If your wrists are not fully warmed up and stretched, it’s easy to strain your wrists.

And in general, warming up well before training is also important. Take your time to prepare your body by doing some light cardio, followed by a dynamic stretching routine and some warm-up sets.

See more cable workouts:

Click to return to building lean muscle, and also our video library of cable workouts.

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Philip Stefanov

Philip is a fitness writer, blogger, certified personal trainer, and the founder of He has spent the last nine years writing fitness content and training men and women in the gym, as well as online. His passion is fitness and exercise, and helping others improve their fitness and wellness.

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  1. Brachioradialis. Physiopedia. (n.d.).

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