Get Bigger Biceps With Hammer Curls and Incline Curls
If you spend hours in the gym and aren’t seeing visible growth in your biceps, you probably feel that it is impossible to reach more significant biceps gains.
We are here to tell you that getting bigger biceps is possible! However, you have to utilize the best bicep movements and target all the different muscles in your biceps.
This article will help you understand the value of hammer curls and incline curls. More importantly, it will teach you the proper form and techniques to help you achieve better results in the gym!
How to Build Bigger Arms
It is essential to learn the basic anatomy of the biceps to understand how to gain arm muscle. The following are muscles that make up the biceps.
The biceps brachii is one of the main muscles in the upper arm. It consists of two parts (or heads). Each of these starts from a unique origin and crosses the shoulder joint to connect to the biceps muscle.
Long Head of the Bicep Brachii
Your long head helps control the motion of the elbow and shoulder. It attaches just above the humerus to the scapula, bones that make up the shoulder joint. The long head stretches down to the elbow, where it meets the short head.
Short Head of the Bicep Brachii
The short head attaches to the scapula as well and meets with the long head at the elbow. It is a flexor and supinator of the elbow joint and aids in the abduction of the humerus.
The brachialis is a small muscle located underneath the long and short head of your bicep. It is the principal flexor of the elbow.
The brachioradialis is the smallest of the elbow flexors. It is also the most superficial. Its job is to bring the forearm to a neutral position.
To get well-developed biceps, you need to target the short head and the long head. The short head is strengthened through exercises that involve moving your elbows in front of your body. Examples include spider curls, preacher curls, chip ups, and barbell curls with a wide grip.
Conversely, we can target the long head by moving the biceps behind the body. This occurs in incline dumbbell curls, cable curls, drag curls, and barbell curls with a narrow grip.
If you are just starting at the gym or don’t have much experience with bicep workouts, we recommend using only two exercises to target each muscle. To help you begin, we will show you our top picks for targeting the long head of the biceps- the hammer curl and the incline curl.
Why Should You Do Hammer Curls?
You are likely familiar with biceps curls, which are similar to hammer curls. This will make learning the proper form easier. Plus, these two exercises can be used in a complementary manner.
Supinated (underhand) bicep curls are great for improving the peak of your bicep. Hammer curls, on the other hand, help you add thickness. They also build strength in the arm and forearm.
How to Do a Hammer Curl
Mastering the hammer curl isn’t just about turning your hand 90 degrees and proceeding with the motion of a bicep curl. Here are some pointers to ensure you have the proper form throughout the entire range of motion.
- Sit on a bench with the back in an upright position and a dumbbell on each of your sides. While you could perform the motion standing, it will increase the likelihood of using a swinging motion.
- While sitting, tuck your elbows into your sides. Then, pull your shoulders back. This will ensure that you are not using your deltoids instead of your biceps.
- Now, pick up the dumbbells. Instead of holding them in the middle, grip them at the top end of the dumbbell. It will help isolate the muscle even more.
- Fully extend your arms with your palms facing each other. Then, curl the dumbbells so that your thumbs are near your shoulders.
- You can do the reps slowly or quickly. However, beginners can benefit more from the slower reps. So count to two when lifting and when lengthening your arm.
- Before lowering the dumbbell, pause at the top of the movement. That makes one rep.
If you are doing alternating hammer curls, make sure to do the same amount of reps with each arm.
Why Should You Do Incline Dumbbell Curls?
Incline dumbbell curls are a great way to mix up your routine. They are essentially a seated variation of the bicep curls with which you are already familiar. However, they allow your arms to move in a greater range of motion.
Using a bench to perform the exercise makes it less likely that you will swing the weight or untuck your elbows from your sides. Thus, the bench
helps you target the biceps more effectively.
How to Do an Incline Dumbbell Curl
Just as with other bicep exercises, you will want to ensure that the weight you choose is challenging enough to be effective but not so heavy that your form suffers. You can always increase the weight if it is too light or lower it if it becomes too heavy.
- Before you start, adjust your bench to a 45-degree angle. If that angle is too advanced for you, you can move it to 60 degrees.
- Now, sit down on the bench, with your back straight. Tighten your abdominal muscles. Keep your arms at your side, with a dumbbell in each hand.
- Lift each dumbbell. With your palms facing up, raise them to your shoulders. Keep your upper arms tight and move only your lower arms so that you isolate the biceps brachii.
- Next, gently lower the dumbbells back to the start position. Make sure that you don’t release them quickly, or you may strain your muscles.
That’s one rep. Now repeat until you achieve the desired number of reps and sets.
Number of Reps and Sets
The reps and sets that you perform each exercise may vary according to your goals. Since you desire to get bigger biceps, your goals should be to build bicep strength and gain muscle size.
If you want to get stronger, you need to challenge your muscles by lifting a heavier weight. We recommend performing two to six sets per bicep, with no more than six repetitions per set.
Make sure to rest two to five minutes between sets so you can continue to lift heavy. If the previous set of six reps was easy, that’s an indication that you should increase the weight you are using.
Grow Your Muscles
If you are training for hypertrophy (large, well-defined muscles), you should do three to six sets of twelve repetitions. Rest 30-90 seconds in between sets.
For best results, we recommend including a combination of repetition ranges. Always emphasize the rep range that is most beneficial to your primary fitness goal.
Common Mistakes When Performing Hammer Curls and Incline Curls
When it comes to learning new exercises, it helps be aware of what you shouldn’t be doing. You can’t just copy anyone you see in the gym since you aren’t sure if they have good form. Here are some frequent errors to look out for so that you can get the most out of your bicep exercises.
Using Too Much Weight
The most common error during bicep exercises is using momentum to lift the dumbbells. This happens because the weight is too heavy. Your body has to compensate by using your torso and shoulders to swing your elbows.
The problem is that it doesn’t allow your bicep to do the work, and you won’t get the results you intended. It can also strain your joints and cause a severe injury. If you notice yourself swinging the weights, try lowering the amount of weight you are using until you are no longer using momentum.
Not Getting a Full Range of Motion
Another mistake you make during bicep exercises is not getting a full range of motion. That means you aren’t stretching your arm out at the bottom or getting a full extension before curling it up.
When you shorten your range of motion, you aren’t using the muscle fibers at the bottom of the rep. Try keeping your elbows locked into your sides and be conscious of each rep, making sure to work through the whole movement.
Rushing Through Each Exercise
If you’re pressed for time, you might think that rushing through your reps is better than doing a fewer number of them. However, it can have a negative impact, and your sets won’t be beneficial. Therefore, even if you can only do a couple of sets, perform the exercise with controlled movement.
Ignoring Mind Muscle Connection
It can be comfortable to just go through the motions, but focusing on the muscles you are using can make a big difference. It improves your form and maximizes the benefits of your exercises. So, as you perform each rep, think about the muscles you are using and feel them work.
We Can Help You Increase Your Gains
When it comes to building bigger biceps, hammer curls and incline curls can go along way. Ensure that you supplement these movements with exercises that target the other bicep muscles, such as the short head. Now that you know how to increase arm strength with these moves, it’s time to get to work!
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