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Cross Body Hammer Curls vs Hammer Curls (For Biceps!)

If you’re looking for a cross body hammer curls vs hammer curls breakdown, then you’ve come to the right place!

In this article, we compare the muscles worked between hammer curls and cross body hammers curls, as well as looking at which is best for bicep growth.

We also look at the technique for each one so that you can do them safely and effectively.

Man doing hammer curls

What Muscles Do Hammer Curls Work?

Despite having a different name, hammer curls are not too different from standard bicep curls.

In fact, it could be argued that they’re the same exercise performed with a different grip.

Hammer curls work your forearms and biceps. More specifically, the long head of your biceps, the brachialis, and your brachioradialis (forearm muscles).

It’s worth bearing in mind that, although your brachialis and brachioradialis muscles are involved in hammer curls – it’s your biceps that’ll predominantly be working during the movement.

As the hammer curl is a pretty easy exercise to perform, it’s a great way of adding size and strength to your arms regardless of your level of experience.

What Muscles Do Cross Body Hammer Curls Work?

Like hammer curls, cross-body hammer curls work your biceps and forearms. 

Cross-body hammer curls place a bit more emphasis on the brachialis which helps to push your biceps and triceps apart resulting in thicker-looking arms.

Your shoulders also come into play a bit more than they do in hammer curls. This can take some of the emphasis off your biceps.

Despite more muscle groups being used, cross-body hammer curls are still a very effective bicep building exercise.

Are Cross Body Hammer Curls Better Than Hammer Curls?

There is no obvious winner when it comes to which is better out of the two.

It ultimately depends on what you’re trying to achieve in your workout that’ll be the deciding factor as to which one is better for you.

Cross-body hammer curls work your biceps (like hammer curls) but they place a slightly bigger emphasis on your forearms.

They require more effort from the muscle that sits between your biceps and triceps. This causes these muscles to get further apart the bigger the muscle between them gets.

It’s this growth that makes your arms appear thicker or wider. 

If you’re trying to increase the thickness of your arms and you also want to have bigger and stronger forearms, then cross-body hammer curls could be the choice for you.

Standard hammer curls put more focus on your biceps and a little less on your forearms. 

If you’re focusing on getting wider-looking arms and don’t want your forearms assisting as much in the exercise, hammer curls could be a good choice.

Both of these exercises are very effective at building strong and muscular arms so it’s extremely difficult to say one is better than the other.

Are Cross Body Hammer Curls Harder Than Hammer Curls?

Depending on your current fitness level, you could find either one of the exercises harder than the other.

With hammer curls, the movement is much simpler and more basic compared to cross-body hammer curls. The movement is done predominantly by your biceps with assistance from your forearm muscles.

Cross-body hammer curls bring your shoulders into play a bit more and can also require more effort from your core muscles to keep you stable throughout the exercise.

In terms of complexity, cross-body hammer curls are harder to perform correctly than standard hammer curls.

This isn’t always the case though.

As more muscles are being used in cross-body hammer curls, it makes sense that each working muscle only has to do a percentage of the work.

With fewer muscles working in hammer curls, each muscle needs to exert more effort to perform the exercise correctly.

Depending on your current fitness level, your experience with weight lifting, and muscle condition, both hammer curls, and cross-body hammer curls are challenging exercises.

How To Perform Hammer Curls

Hammer curls are performed in a standing position using dumbbells. To do hammer curls correctly, you should:

  1. Stand up straight with a dumbbell in each hand. Your palms should be facing your body
  2. Start lifting the dumbbells by flexing your elbows. Keep your upper arms still
  3. Keep moving the dumbbells upwards until they reach around shoulder level
  4. Hold briefly before lowering the dumbbells back down to the starting position
  5. Repeat this movement for the required number of reps and sets

You may choose to do hammer curls in a seated position if this is more comfortable for you.

How To Perform Cross Body Hammer Curls

While cross-body hammer curls are similar to hammer curls, there are differences in the technique. 

To do cross-body hammer curls correctly, you should:

  1. Stand up straight with a dumbbell in each hand keeping your palms facing your body
  2. Flex one arm at the elbow lifting the dumbbell towards the opposite shoulder, keeping your upper arms still
  3. Hold the position briefly when the dumbbell is level with your shoulder before lowering it to its starting position
  4. Repeat with the other arm
  5. Complete the required number of reps and sets making sure you work each arm equally

Cross Body Hammer Curls vs Hammer Curls: Which Is Best?

In summary:

  • Cross body hammer curls work your forearm muscles more than regular hammer curls.
  • Regular hammer curls work your biceps more than cross body hammer curls.
  • Both cross body hammer curls and hammer curls have a similar difficulty level.

That’s all for this article, but how many hammer curls should you do? Or perhaps you’re interested in seated hammer curls vs standing?

Hope this helped!


Hammer Curls Muscles Worked

Cross-Body Hammer Curls Muscles Worked