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Do Hammer Curls Work Triceps? (Are They Good For Triceps?)

Hammer curls. The back of your arms. A match made in heaven? Or not a match at all?

This article will give you clarity on the matter.

Do Hammer Curls Work Your Triceps?

Hammer curls do not work your triceps. They work your biceps, primarily. That’s the opposite of working your triceps!

Hammer curls work forearms too.

Man doing standing hammer curls

Why Some People Feel Tricep Activation During Hammer Curls

The dumbbell is moved by flexing and extending the elbow.

The triceps are moving along with the biceps, but they aren’t under any direct tension from the weight.

You’re most likely to feel a contraction in the triceps at the bottom of the movement, when your arm is straight. If you hyperextend a little at the elbow, you will feel the triceps tense up.

The tricep isn’t being trained as a result of this contraction.

Watch out for cramps, too!

I’ve had a fair few cramps in back of the arm from pushing a hard set, and then extending my elbow.

You can get a cramp on the inside of the elbow as well from hammer curls. Or any curls, for that matter.

Some people are crampier than others.

Drink more water? Eat a banana? Supplement with magnesium? I don’t know.

Don’t do any of the things I just said.

Are Cable Rope Hammer Curls Good For Triceps?

Like other curl variations, cable rope hammer curls work the biceps and forearms. The triceps are on the back of the arms and aren’t taxed by the movement.

While you’re at that cable station, flip that cable to the top and you’ll have access to a slew of triceps pushdown exercises.

The rope tricep pushdown (the clue’s in the name) are a staple movement for building the triceps.

Should You Do Hammer Curls If You Have Sore Triceps?

If your triceps are excessively sore, performing hammer curls will not feel pleasant.

Even though hammer curls won’t work the triceps, you’ll still be moving the triceps.

As movement exacerbates DOMS, you’ll have your attention constantly drawn to the pain.


So the answer is yes, if that’s what’s in your program. If hammer curls aren’t in your program, don’t do them. Obviously.

It’s probably not a bad idea to move sore triceps around.

You will get a little blood flow into the area to aid in recovery. But you will probably hate life for the duration of the sets.

That’s all for this article, but do hammer curls work shoulders? Or perhaps you’re interested in Zottman curl vs hammer curl?

Hope this helped!


Hammer Curls Muscles Worked