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Hammer Curls vs Concentration Curls (For Biceps & Forearms)

Many people seek big, muscular arms. They want bulging biceps or defined arms that’ll give them a big confidence boost.

Finding the right exercises to work your arms effectively can be challenging as there are a ton to choose from.

Two fantastic bicep exercises are hammer curls and concentration curls.

But without knowing too much about them, it can be hard to know which exercise is better.

And that’s exactly why we’ve put this article together.

In this post, we look at both hammer curls and concentration curls and compare various aspects of the exercises.

What’s The Difference Between Hammer Curls And Concentration Curls?

One of the main differences between hammer curls and concentration curls is the position you take during each movement.

During hammer curls, you’re in a standing position with free movement of your arms.

During concentration curls, youre in a seated position with your working arm supported by your leg. This prevents any movement or momentum from being generated from anywhere other than the working muscles.

Which Is Best For Building Biceps?

Concentration curls are better for your biceps compared to hammer curls.

This is because concentration curls do a far better job at isolating your biceps. As a result, your biceps work harder than they do during hammer curls.

Also, you’re less likely to use momentum or other muscles during concentration curls, which puts more focus on the biceps.

This means your biceps are required to do more work during concentration curls, resulting in more strength and growth.

Which Is Best For Building Forearms?

There aren’t many upper arm exercises that bring your forearms into play quite as much as hammer curls.

Hammer curls put your wrists and forearms into a powerful position where your forearm muscles engage quite a bit during the movement.

Hammer curls work your brachialis which is a key muscle in your forearm. Working your brachialis can lead to impressive gains in your forearm size and strength.

Difficulty Level

Hammer Curls

Hammer curls have a relatively low difficulty level.

To perform hammer curls correctly, there’s no complex movement required as the entire exercise is executed via flexion of your elbow.

This is a very simple movement to do.

And the fact that hammer curls allow you to lift more weight than most other bicep curl variations, you can see that they’re an easy exercise to do correctly.

Concentration Curls

In terms of movement required in the exercise, concentration curls are easy to perform.

However, the increased difficulty comes from the position you’re in and ensuring the proper technique is maintained throughout.

The position you need to get into to perform concentration curls can put extra pressure on your lower back, which is something to be mindful of.

You can also get the technique wrong if your position isn’t completely correct to begin with.

Lifting weights when isolating your biceps isn’t an easy thing to do, so concentration curls can be quite challenging.

The Verdict

Although hammer curls and concentration curls both appear to be relatively easy to perform, the positioning and technique of concentration curls make them a slightly more difficult exercise to execute.

With a bit of practice and making sure you use the correct weight for the exercise, concentration curls can get easier.

Ease of Access

Hammer Curls

To perform hammer curls, you only need dumbbells, making them a very accessible exercise.

As long as you have an appropriate set of dumbbells and a little bit of space, you can easily add hammer curls into your arm workouts.

Concentration Curls

Along with at least one dumbbell, you will need a bench or something to sit down on during concentration curls.

That being said, concentration curls are still very accessible as minimal equipment is needed.

Whether you work out at home or in the gym, you should be able to find everything you need to do concentration curls with little issue.

The Verdict

When it comes to accessibility, both hammer curls and concentration curls score highly.

Both exercises require dumbbells and pretty much nothing else.

Although concentration curls need you to be seated, this can easily be achieved with a bench or a chair.

Variability

Hammer Curls

There are several variations of hammer curls that you can do.

Changing from dumbbells to a cable rope or kettlebells can be a good way to keep things interesting in your workouts.

You could also do cross-body hammer curls which will bring in additional muscle groups and provide more of a challenge for you.

Alternating your starting position between seated and standing is another way to mix things up.

Concentration Curls

There aren’t quite as many variations of concentration curls as you might find with other exercises.

You could move to a bent-over standing position to do the exercise but you’ll need to be careful not to put too much stress on your lower back.

You could also use a weight plate instead of a dumbbell to change things up a bit more.

The Verdict

Hammer curls are an extremely adaptable exercise so they offer more variability than concentration curls.

While you can perform a couple of variations of concentration curls, it can be difficult to do so without sacrificing technique or bringing other muscle groups into the movement.

Hammer Curls vs Concentration Curls: Which Is Better?

It’s a difficult call to say whether hammer curls or concentration curls is the better exercise.

If you’re looking for an upper arm exercise that also helps to develop your forearms, hammer curls are a great choice. And as they have a low difficulty level, they’re suitable for most gym-goers too.

Concentration curls do a better job at isolating your biceps, so this could make them a better choice if you want to work your biceps as much as possible. That said, they do offer fewer variations though.

Hammer curls and concentration curls are both awesome exercises that are easily accessible so, ultimately, your personal preference and fitness goals will likely be the biggest factor in deciding which is better for you.

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Sources

Hammer Curls Muscles Worked

Concentration Curls Muscles Worked