Seated Hammer Curls: How to Do Them, Benefits, and Tips

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Seated Hammer Curls

If you’re looking for an effective way to work your biceps, seated hammer curls are a great option.

They’re simple to do and can be easily incorporated into your routine.

The biggest mistake many people make is underutilizing hammer curls in their workout regimen.

With seated hammer curls, you can isolate the brachialis and really focus on developing bigger arms in no time.

So if you’re looking for an efficient way to work your biceps brachii, brachioradialis, brachialis, and forearms, try incorporating seated hammer curls into your next workout and see the difference for yourself!

Here I’ll discuss when to use them and how they can benefit you.

How To Perform The Seated Dumbbell Hammer Curl

Below are the steps to perform the seated dumbbell hammer curl with proper form.

  1. Set an adjustable bench to a comfortable upright angle
  2. Sit on the bench with a dumbbell in each hand, using a neutral grip
  3. Retract your shoulder blades and keep your arms positioned at your sides, straight up and down
  4. Curl the weights up to or passed a 90-degree angle while keeping the elbows stationary
  5. Hold for a brief moment at the top of the curl, and then lower the weights back to the starting position
  6. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions


  • Focus on contracting the biceps muscles throughout the entire movement.
  • Avoid swinging the weights up, as this will take away from the focus on the biceps.
  • If you need to, use a lighter weight until you get the hang of the movement.
  • Grip the dumbbells as hard as you can towards the upper part of the handle for a bigger pump
Seated Hammer Curls

You can also perform alternating seated hammer curls to place more focus on a single side for each rep.

If you have a bit of extra time available within your workout then this version is generally more effective.

Alternating Seated Hammer Curls

Hammer Curl Set and Rep Ranges

The hammer curl set and rep ranges can be done as follows:

  • 3 sets of 8-10 reps
  • 3 sets of 12 reps
  • 3 sets of 15 reps

It is important to keep the number of sets and repetitions consistent so that you can track your progress.

This will help you see how much weight you can lift over time.

Be sure to perform each rep slowly and controlled for the best results.

Seated Hammer Curls: Benefits

The seated hammer curl is a great exercise for targeting the biceps and its surrounding muscles.

This exercise requires dumbbells and an adjustable or flat bench.

The bench provides extra stabilization, which helps to place more focus on isolating the biceps muscles, and also reducing unnecessary momentum.


  • Builds muscle in the biceps, brachioradialis, brachialis, and forearms
  • Hammer curls are a great exercise to do if you want to overload the biceps with weight for more stimulation
  • Less stressful on other body parts such as the shoulders in comparison to normal dumbbell curls and barbell curls
  • The reduced stress makes implementing this exercise at the beginning of your arm workout very beneficial as a warmup before beginning other movements
  • Feel the burn as you curl the weight up
  • Gain satisfaction from completing a set of hammer curls with heavyweights
  • Increased forearm strength
  • Improved grip strength

Seated Hammer Curl: Muscles Worked

Hammer curls work the biceps brachii, brachioradialis, brachialis, and forearms.

Biceps Brachii

The biceps brachii is a muscle in the upper arm that helps to bend the elbow and rotate the forearm.

It is a large muscle that is made up of two heads – a short head and a long head.

This muscle is innervated by the musculocutaneous nerve.


The brachioradialis is a muscle that helps to extend the elbow.

Its main function is to help straighten the upper limbs.

The brachioradialis is a strong muscle, and it is one of the main muscles used in weightlifting and other activities that require arm strength.


The brachialis is a muscle located in the upper arm.

It helps to flex the forelimb at the elbow.

The brachialis is one of three muscles that make up the bulk of this muscle region.

The other two are the biceps and triceps.

The brachialis is the strongest of these three muscles.


The forearm is the lower region between the elbow and the hand.

It is composed of two bones, the radius and the ulna, and several muscles.

There are many different muscles in this area that allow for a wide range of motion.

These include Flexion and Extension of the elbow, Pronation, and Supination of the radius, and Opposition of the thumb.

Hammer Curl Variations

For an even bigger pump give these hammer curl variations a try!

Machine Seated Hammer Curl

  1. Set the seat to a comfortable height
  2. Dig your elbows into the resting pad and grasp the handles with a neutral grip
  3. Plant your feet on the ground
  4. Begin curling the weight while focusing on squeezing your bicep muscles
  5. Bring the handles up towards your shoulders and stop when you feel your arms are fully contracted
  6. Lower the weight back down slowly and repeat

Standing Hammer Curls

To perform hammer curls from the standing position begin by:

  1. Placing the feet hip-width apart and hold a weight in each hand with a neutral grip
  2. Bend your elbows and curl the weights up towards your shoulders.
  3. Stop when your arms are at about 90 degrees
  4. Lower the weights back to the starting position.

Single Arm Standing Hammer Curls

  1. Start by positioning your feet hip-width apart holding a dumbbell in one hand.
  2. Grap onto something with your free hand for extra stability
  3. Let the working arm hang straight up and down, keeping your body weight favored towards that side.
  4. Bend at the elbow and curl the weight up towards your shoulder, keeping your back straight and core engaged.
  5. Pause for a moment, then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position.

In comparison to a traditional hammer curl, this is a great variation to concentrate on one side at a time.

Start with your weaker side first and be sure to use the same tempo and rep/set range with each, to avoid imbalances.

Cable Rope Hammer Curl

The steps for performing cable rope hammer curls are as follows:

  1. Select the appropriate weight for your fitness level and attach a rope to the cable pulley machine.
  2. Step in front of the pulley machine and grab the handles with palms facing each other.
  3. Curl your hands toward your shoulders, keeping your palms neutral.
  4. Squeeze at the top and slowly release back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.


If you’re looking for a bicep isolation exercise that is effective at achieving progressive overload, seated hammer curls are a great option.

They’re less stressful on other body parts than a normal dumbbell or barbell curl, making them a good choice if you have any underlying injuries.

  • Targets many of the main muscles in the upper arms
  • Requires a bench and dumbbells
  • The bench helps improve stability to reduce unnecessary momentum
  • A great exercise to achieve progressive overload
  • Less stressful on other body parts than other curl variations
  • Can help build overall size and strength in your arms
  • Improves grip strength

If you’re looking to add an exercise that will really help you grow, give the hammer curl a try!

Eric De Cremer
Eric De Cremer

Eric is an NCCA-accredited Certified Personal Trainer and competitively trained powerlifter. Feel free to contact him anytime at!