Hammer curls and lower biceps…
The hammer curl is a variation on a more typical bicep curl, placing a larger emphasis on the outer head of the bicep, the brachioradialis and to a lesser degree, the forearm flexors. As opposed to the traditional bicep curl where the palms face upward, the hammer curl finds the palms facing one another, with the wrists in a neutral position. This makes the hammer curl a viable alternative for those with wrist issues. This motion has a direct ‘real world’ benefit in that whenever heavy things are carried to our front our arms are held in a hammer curl-like position.
Hammer curls can be done standing, seated, single armed or simultaneously, with arms at the sides curling straight up or in a cross-body movement. It is quite common for individuals to find they can hammer curl a noticeably heavier weight than they might be able to move with a regular, conventional curl making hammer curls a great strength/mass building move.
I like to use single arm hammer curls with a cross-body movement if I find I haven’t gotten the most from my attempts at traditional curls. I can move a greater amount of weight and routinely run the rack bringing on tremendous bicep fatigue. Unfortunately this usually means that washing my hair the following day will prove difficult as my brachioradialis muscles keep cramping. This is a pretty good video of what I'm talking about. It's not me by the way, lol....
It is commonly forgotten that part of the biceps job is to assist in twisting the lower arm. Arnold mentions this in his book ‘The Encyclopedia of Modern BodyBuilding’ where he cites a widely overlooked exercise to develop lower biceps is a seated dumbbell rotation.
Many people cheat themselves of this small but beneficial movement by holding dumbbells in a palms-out fashion so that the palms face away from the body instead of palms facing the outer part of the thigh, thereby removing the part of the bicep curl where the weight is rotated outwardly prior to the actual act of curling. It’s an easy thing to test. Stand in front of a mirror holding a weight that’s typical for a working set of bicep curls. With hands facing your thighs, watch your bicep as your rotate the weight so that your palms now face the mirror. Did you see it shorten and change shape? Still not a believer? Do a set of 30 turning the weight from facing the thighs to as far outward as you can and then back again.
Use this as part of your ‘partials’ arsenal. After a set of traditional bicep curls, when you can no longer curl the weight your holding, and continue to perform rotations. Not only will you get some much needed forearm work but you’ll add a great deal of work to your lower biceps as well!