The Critical Body logo

Resistance band hammer curls exercise guide, advantages, and variations

Training at home? Check out the 4 types of banded hammer curls for building your biceps anywhere.
Written By  Liam Brown
Last Updated on 10th August 2021
Man performing hammer curls with bands

Banded hammer curls are a brilliant exercise for building the biceps because they provide your muscles with constant tension. This means that your arms spend more time working and less time resting, which can ultimately lead to more muscle growth if your diet is healthy and high enough in protein.

This guide will show you how to do a proper hammer curl with resistance bands. We'll then discuss the benefits of using bands for this specific exercise, as well as the three other variations of the banded hammer curl that you can do to add variety to your training regime.

You can also check out our guide to doing resistance band bicep curls with the proper form if you want to focus purely on isolating your biceps (rather than working your brachioradialis).

Related: Back bicep workout

Banded hammer curl exercise details

  • Main Muscles: Biceps brachii, brachialis, brachioradialis
  • Secondary Muscles: Forearm extensors, forearm flexors
  • Exercise Type: Strength
  • Exercise Mechanics: Isolation
  • Difficulty Level: Beginner
  • Equipment Needed: Resistance bands

How to do hammer curls with bands

As you'll learn in the variations section, there are many ways to perform band hammer curls. For this tutorial, however, we're going to use a resistance band set that comes with handles, so that the equipment is easier to hold.

  1. Connect the handles to either end of your resistance band.
  2. Hold each handle with a neutral grip and then step on the middle of the band with your feet to secure it.
  3. While keeping your elbows still, curl the handles toward your shoulder by squeezing your biceps.
  4. Keep curling until you feel a strong contraction in your brachioradialis and biceps.
  5. Lower the handles under control until your elbows are almost fully locked out.
  6. Repeat for 3-4 sets of 15-30 reps.

Banded hammer curl advantages

Resistance bands are so effective and affordable these days that they've quickly become the training tool of choice for many home workout warriors. Let's see how their benefits apply to banded hammer curls.

Constant muscle tension

Man doing resistance band hammer curls

While exercises like the 1 1 2 hammer curl can indeed build muscle mass, they provide lackluster tension at the bottom of the rep. And it's not like resistance bands are particularly heavy when you're just holding them by your sides, either. However, contrary to free weights, resistance bands provide tension during every part of the lifting motion.

Your biceps receive more tension the further that you stretch the band. So, naturally, banded hammer curls are the most challenging when your biceps are fully contracted. This results in a stronger muscle pump because it's repeated muscle contractions that actually cause the influx of lactic acid into your arms (which is the pump) in the first place.

Moreover, research shows that bands can be just as effective as free weights for developing strength. [1]

Highly convenient

A woman doing a banded hammer curl outside

You can perform resistance band hammer curls absolutely anywhere. So whether you're enjoying a blissful beach workout or getting your pump on in your apartment, you can always rely on your trusty resistance bands for achieving an excellent arm workout.

TRX hammer curls are similarly convenient. However, suspension trainers are still more complicated to set up than resistance bands because you have to connect them to something sturdy.

The convenience of band hammer curls also makes it easier to stick to your training regime. In other words, you don't have to rely on free weights or bulky exercise equipment that only specific gyms may stock. As a result, you can get outside and explore without being constrained to locations that have suitable fitness facilities.

With resistance bands, the world is your gym. Unless, of course, you decide to do preacher curls with bands, in which case, you'll need a bench.

Easy on the joints

Man performing heavy band hammer curls

Many personal trainers and exercise scientists are fond of free weights for building mass—and rightly so, like bands, they have a proven track record for building muscle and strength. [2]

However, since your connective tissue has to bear 100% of the load in order to stabilize the bar or dumbbells, free weights are quite injurious compared to other training tools such as resistance bands. This is especially true for something like hammer curls, where we're working particularly vulnerable joints—the elbow and the wrist.

Of course, any exercise that you perform with poor technique can result in injury. Resistance bands just so happen to be easier to stabilize than free weights, which can help to shift tension off your joints, tendons, and ligaments.

This naturally makes movements like the banded spider curl and the banded drag curl a great choice for working around injuries and speeding up your connective tissue recovery.

Resistance band hammer curl variations

Did you know that there are actually at least four different types of resistance band hammer curls? We created tutorials for each so that you can decide which variation is right for you and your resistance band bicep workout.

Heavy banded hammer curls

Man doing a heavy banded hammer curl

If you come from a powerlifting or bodybuilding background, then this is the band hammer curl that you should be doing because it provides the most amount of resistance.

To perform it, you'll need a heavy resistance band, such as one that you might use for assisted pull-ups.

Hold the band at its sides, and then stand in the middle of it with your feet. From there, you simply curl the band toward your shoulders and squeeze your biceps and brachioradialis muscles as hard as you can. Then, lower the band toward the floor, being careful to avoid full elbow extension so that you can keep tension on the target muscles.

Single arm banded hammer curls

Man performing a single arm resistance band hammer curl

If you have muscle imbalances that you'd like to correct or if you just want to improve your mind-muscle connection by honing in on each arm, then give this version of the resistance band hammer curl a try.

To perform it, you'll need a slim resistance band.

Double-loop the band (this way, you'll get heavy tension during all parts of the movement). Hold the band with a neutral grip, and then step in the middle of the band with the foot on the same side of your body as that which is holding the band. From there, you want to curl the band toward your shoulder until your bicep and forearm make forceful contact. Hold the contraction for a moment, and then lower the band down until your elbow is almost—but not quite—fully locked out.

Door resistance band hammer curls

Man demonstrating how to do resistance band hammer curls

If you're training at home and have a door anchor for your resistance bands, then you can take advantage of this unique banded hammer curl variation.

Connect your bands to the door anchor, and then slip the anchor under the door. Then, hold the handles with a neutral grip, and take a couple of steps away from the door. Begin the rep by curling the handles toward your shoulders. Squeeze your arms at the top of the rep, and then lower the handles back down until your elbows are close to lockout.

The further that you step out from the door, the more you're going to stretch the bands, and so the heavier the bands are going to feel. As such, you might want to use a staggered stance where you put one foot in front of the other for extra stability.

Read More: Back and bicep workouts with bands

Should you do resistance band hammer curls for your biceps?

Performing hammer curls with bands is not only convenient, but the activity can also build some seriously impressive arms as well. Because the bands exert constant tension throughout the entire set, your workouts will feel more intense because your muscles don't get a chance to rest until the set is over.

Therefore, banded hammer curls are an ideal exercise to try if you enjoy short and intense workouts that you can do anywhere. Just make sure to stick to high reps so that your muscles get enough time under tension.

If you want to test your strength and lift heavy, then you can also double loop your bands to create more tension.

References

  1. Santos, J., Lopes, S., Flauzino Machado, A., Micheletti, J. K., Castilho de Almeida, A., Cavina, A. P., & Pastre, C. M. (2019). Effects of training with elastic resistance versus conventional resistance on muscular strength: A systematic review and meta-analysis. SAGE Open Medicine, 7. https://doi.org/10.1177/2050312119831116
  2. Shoepe, T., Ramirez, D., Rovetti, R., Kohler, D., & Almstedt, H. (2011). The Effects of 24 weeks of Resistance Training with Simultaneous Elastic and Free Weight Loading on Muscular Performance of Novice Lifters. Journal of Human Kinetics, 29(2011), 93–106. https://doi.org/10.2478/v10078-011-0043-8
Liam Brown
Liam Brown has been coaching clients as a personal trainer for more than 12 years. Raised by his athlete mother and physiotherapist father, he understands the critical importance of learning the proper technique for both avoiding injury and building muscle.
chevron-upmenu-circlecross-circle linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram