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Do Hammer Curls Make Biceps Wider? (How To Widen Biceps)

When training biceps, most people tend to focus on getting a bigger bicep peak.

In some cases, they could be missing out on a ton of gains by not working on making their biceps wider.

No matter how big your bicep peak is, your arms could still look pretty scrawny when seen from head-on. 

Adding width to your biceps can make your arms look a whole lot bigger, which can give you a nice confidence boost.

In this article, we explore whether hammer curls make your biceps wider.

We also cover the anatomy of your biceps, what hammer curls can do for your arm size, as well as other exercises that help increase bicep width.

The Anatomy of the Biceps

The biceps are made up of two heads – the long head and the short head.

Both have important roles when it comes to flexion of the arm and lifting weights during bicep curls.

But they both also have different roles when it comes to the look of your biceps.

The long head of the biceps is the one that causes growth to the peak of your arm.

The short head is the biggest factor when it comes to bicep width, so it’s important to give it enough attention if you want some truly muscular arms.

While you shouldn’t focus on one head more than the other, if you’re looking to add width to your biceps, building the short head can undoubtedly be beneficial.

Do Hammer Curls Make Your Biceps Wider?

In general terms, hammer curls can make your biceps wider.

That isn’t the full story though, as it’s easy for the exercise to focus on the long head of your biceps, depending on how you execute it.

Now, the key to hammer curls making your biceps wider is in the grip.

In standard hammer curls, your hands are in a neutral grip (palms not pointing up or down, instead your knuckles are pointing forwards). 

As you’re performing hammer curls, the long head of the muscle kicks in slightly which takes some of the work away from the short head.

The key to activating the short head as much as possible is by changing from standard hammer curls to crossbody hammer curls.

This then allows you to turn your hands into a more downward-facing grip at the top end of the movement, which will engage the short head while reducing the activation of the long head.

Why Hammer Curls Make Your Biceps Wider

Pretty much any time you’re performing a curl with a supinated grip (palms facing up), the long head of your biceps is doing most of the work.

As standard hammer curls keep your hands in a neutral grip, the short head of your biceps comes into play more.

Crossbody hammer curls take this one step further and allow you to bring your forearm across your body and turn your hand slightly into a more pronated grip.

This activates the short head even more and keeps the long head out of the exercise as much as possible.

As the short head is mainly responsible for how thick your biceps look, exercises like hammer curls are great for building arms that are as thick as they are strong.

Other Bicep Exercises Which Help Make Your Biceps Wider

Concentration Curls

Isolating your biceps so there’s minimal help from any other muscle group, concentration curls are a great biceps exercise that can give your arms a thicker and more developed look.

These can be done by sitting on the end of a bench, leaning forwards, and placing the back of your arm and elbow against your leg.

This position prevents you from gaining additional momentum by swinging the dumbbell on the downward phase of the movement.

Wide Grip Barbell Curl

Simply changing your grip to a wider one during barbell curls can switch the focus onto the short head of your biceps.

Wide grip barbell curls do reduce your range of movement compared to standard bicep curls. But they do a great job at engaging the short head as much as possible.

Narrow Grip Pull Up

Building big biceps isn’t all about lifting heavy weights. Sometimes your body weight can be enough to challenge your muscles into some big growth.

The overhand and narrow grip during the movement helps remove the long head of your biceps from the exercise.

This is a challenging exercise but it’s extremely effective at working the short head of your biceps.


Hammer curls on their own aren’t great at making your biceps wider, but by changing the grip so that you perform cross body hammer curls, you can target the short head more which will make your biceps wider.

That’s all for this article, but are hammer curls compound? Or perhaps you’re interested in hammer curls vs concentration curls?

Hope this helped!


Biceps Anatomy