Band Hammer Curl
How to Do the Band Hammer Bicep Curl Alternative | In-Depth Guide [VISUAL LEARNERS]
Proper Form, Common Mistakes, Variations + Easier & Harder | Home Resistance Training
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MAIN MUSCLES WORKED IN Band Hammer Curl
OTHER MUSCLES WORKED:
- Rectus Abdominis
- Erector Spinae
HOW Band Hammer Curls SHAPE OUR BODY
Bicep curls will tone and give you muscle definition in the front of your upper arm (where your bicep is haha!)
It helps give a curvy yet FIRM sculpted look to the arm.
WHAT WE'RE DOING TODAY
Other names for this exercise: Neutral Grip Biceps Curl
ALL WE'RE DOING:
Basically, bend your elbows.
This easy biceps curl alternative will work all three of the muscles that bend (flex) the elbow. The position of the forearm is “neutral” meaning that the forearm is not rotated to turn the palm up or down - it is just in the middle - the position that your forearm would be in when you were using a hammer. In this position, the brachialis muscle is very active - even stronger than the biceps. The smallest of the three - the brachioradialis, will contribute most when the movement is fast and/or you are using heavy resistance.
This is a good movement to include in your workout programs because it does work all three of the elbow flexors in a very functional position - not only for hammering, but it is the same way that you hold your forearm for drinking your coffee and brushing your hair.
PROPER FORM: Band Hammer Curls
EQUIPMENT, SETS & REPS
Main set (3: Light/Med/Heavy):
X-Heavy Band (I recommend getting this too if you plan to use resistance bands frequently).
SUGGESTED STARTING WEIGHT FOR WOMEN:
Moderate resistance bands
SETS & REPS:
2 sets of 8 reps
Quick up and slower down.
BODY POSITION FOR THE Band Hammer Curl
BAND: Secure the band under both feet.
FEET: Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent
BODY STANCE: Neutral spine, shoulder blades in and down the back, sternum lifted.
HAND/GRIP: Neutral grip, holding one end of the band in each hand. The band enters your hand on the side of the little finger, crossing the palm to the thumb side.
ARM: Arms begin at the side hanging straight down.
NECK: Neutral and relaxed.
HOW TO DO
HOW TO DO Band Hammer Curl
CUE: Try to squeeze your hands in towards your shoulders as you pull the band up. Isolate the movement to your elbows.
Keeping your upper arms still, bend your elbows (flexion).
Continue to pull your hands up as far as you are able with good form and no discomfort.
Pause at the end and squeeze your biceps.
Slowly straighten your elbows.
Begin the next rep.
HOW TO SAFELY GET OUT OF THE EXERCISE
From the starting position, release the band.
WHAT TO AVOID WITH THE Band Hammer Curl
Guess what? Good news! Many avoids are the same for most movements. Once you learn the basics, there's really only a few extra avoids for each individual movement.
1. Avoid Shoulders Hunching Up
AVOID: Avoid hunching the shoulders up towards the ears.
- You're just not working the bicep muscles when you do this, that's all. This gets your upper traps (muscles to the sides of your neck where your bra straps usually lay) more involved.
WHAT TO DO:
- You will note decreased space between the shoulders and earlobes.
- Pull the shoulders down to keep the space between the ear and the shoulder during the entire rep - this opens up the shoulder to avoid tendon irritation and decreases the activity of the upper traps.
2. Avoid Elbows Flaring Out
AVOID: Avoid letting your elbows move out to the sides.
- This will change the downward pull of gravity and will increase the activity of the shoulder.
WHAT TO DO:
- The upper arm should be resting on your sides, not moving.
3. Avoid Rounding Shoulders
AVOID: Avoid rounding the shoulders forward.
- This means that you are trying to use the anterior deltoid and chest muscles to help bend the elbow.
- This can decrease the space between the shoulder blade and the upper arm bone (humerus) and irritate the tissues.
WHAT TO DO:
- Pull the shoulders blades in and down the back, lift the sternum to correct your posture.
4. Avoid Elbows Behind Body
AVOID: Avoid elbows behind body.
WHAT TO DO:
- Elbows should stay in line with the torso.
5. Avoid Bending Wrists
AVOID: Avoid bending at your wrists.
- Poor alignment (bent forward or backward) or repetitive movement through the wrist can lead to joint and/or soft tissue irritation or injury over time.
WHAT TO DO:
- Your wrists should be in line with your forearm and should be still throughout the exercise.
VARIATIONS OF Band Hammer Curls
One Arm Banded Hammer Curl
This helps you train both arms equally. Holding the non working arm in the starting position (elbow straight) will let the muscles relax before exercising it; Optionally: hold the arm at the end range of the movement - elbow bent with forearm parallel to the floor - this will keep the muscles of the “non-working” arm under tension as the other arm completes its reps.
alternating band hammer curl
Work one arm at a time, alternating left and right. This will work the core muscles differently - the obliques and quadratus lumborum will be more active to stabilize against the uneven left and right loading. There are two options: 1) complete one rep on the right and then one rep on the left - this will allow each arm a short rest between reps, it will also put less demand on the core muscles so you may be able to use more resistance. 2) Bend one elbow, hold the bent elbow position, bend the other elbow and hold. Straighten the first arm, and then the second arm to complete the one rep. This will keep the biceps under tension for a longer period of time.
MAKING THE Band Hammer Curl MORE CHALLENGING
Iso Hold Band Hammer Curls
Isometric hold at 90 degrees of elbow bend (called elbow flexion).
Keep constant tension
Keep constant muscle tension
Lifting the upper arm forward and holding the arm in slight flexion as you do the bicep curl. This will keep some tension on the biceps throughout the exercise. The arm is lifted so the elbows are about 4 inches from the torso.
MAKE THE Band Hammer Curl MORE DOABLE
Seated Band Hammer Curl
Use a chair without arms or a bench. Sit up tall without leaning back, sit close to the edge of the seat. Neutral spine. The feet are flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart. Anchor the band under both feet. Your arms can be slightly forward to clear the chair and to reach the band. Moving the feet closer together will be slightly more difficult and further apart will be easier.
This movement is done in a very stable position, the core muscles and leg muscles will not be as active. This is a good position for those who have problems with balance, leg or core strength, and for first learning the movement.
SEATED ON STABILITY BALL
Stability ball hammer curl
Sit up tall on a stability ball, without leaning back. Neutral spine. The feet flat on the floor, shoulder width apart. Anchor the band under both feet. Your arms can be slightly forward to clear the ball and to reach the band. Moving the feet closer together will be slightly more difficult and further apart will be easier. This variation is less stable than sitting on a chair but more stable than standing. The core muscles and leg muscles will not be as active. This is a good position for those who have problems with balance, leg or core strength, and for first learning the movement.
WHAT & WHY
BENEFITS OF TRAINING THE biceps
The biceps brachii (bicep means that the muscle has two heads connecting at different places, and brachii - meaning arm) is the big muscle lying on the upper part of the front of the arm - between the elbow and the shoulder. This is probably the most well-known muscle of the arm - sometimes referred to as the beach muscle. The main function of the biceps brachii (not to be confused with the biceps femoris which is one of the hamstring muscles) is to bend (flex) the elbow, moving the hand closer to the body.
The biceps brachii also can rotate the forearm so that the palm is facing up. The rotation of the forearm is due to one of two long bones in the forearm rotating across the other. This is called supination.
Most of the exercises for the biceps muscle most effectively are movements that combine bending (flexing) the elbow with rotating the forearm to a palm-up position (supination). The bicep is a big, powerful muscle. Exercises that target this muscle can usually be done with quite a bit of resistance.
WHY DO WE EVEN CARE?
Crossfitting for 8 years we never did specific bicep work, and most of the movements didn’t really work your biceps much. Once I started doing bicep curls regularly, I noticed a big difference. One day I needed to carry a 5-gallon bucket of stuff in each hand for quite a long distance. I was amazed at how much easier it felt than a while back! That’s from the biceps being stronger. This is also helpful for holding other things in your arms - a stack of books, children, getting all the groceries into the house in one trip, pulling heavy pans full of turkey and potatoes out of the oven, carrying a load of firewood, or a stack of lumber.
The biceps brachii crosses the shoulder joint, so it is able to lift the arm up (shoulder flexion). Since it crosses both the elbow and the shoulder it plays a role in stabilizing those joints. The job of the arm is to move the hand to where it needs to be, and then to hold the arm still as the hand does what it needs to do. The biceps is extremely important for both moving the arm through an endless number of positions and holding it still. Strong biceps will make everyday life activities easier and will improve the health of your elbows and shoulders.
EVERYDAY LIFE &
HOW WE USE OUR biceps MUSCLES IN EVERYDAY LIFE
1. BENDING THE ELBOW (ELBOW FLEXION)
- Lifting glass for drinking
- Washing/brushing hair
- Brushing your teeth
- The list is pretty much endless...
2. TURNING YOUR FOREARM UP (SUPINATION)
- Turning a doorknob
- Using a screwdriver
- Turning a key
- Turning a spigot
- Receiving change
- Carrying a plate
3. LIFTING THE ARM (SHOULDER FLEXION)
- Reaching up
- Pushing a window up
- Washing windows
- Lifting up to the front - kids, boxes
- Carrying in front: kids, groceries, books
4. STABILIZING THE ELBOW AND SHOULDER
- Reading a book
- Using a screwdriver
- Holding items in front of you - carrying a heavy box, pushing a wheelbarrow
How to Feel What Muscle is Working
Bend your elbow. Place the other hand on the upper arm with the bent elbow. Lift a heavy object with the arm - you will feel the biceps contract under your hand.
ALLLL MUSCLES & WHEN
ALL MUSCLES WORKING & WHEN DURING THE Band Hammer Curl
The shoulder and core stabilizers work throughout the movement to hold the spine in a neutral position, hold the shoulder blade down and back (depression and retraction), and hold the upper arm still.
The biceps, brachialis work to bend the elbow. The brachioradialis does not contribute unless power or speed is needed – for quicker movements or heavy loads.
The wrist muscles (flexor carpi radialis FCR, extensor carpi radialis longus (ECRL) work to hold the wrist in a neutral position as the weight of gravity pulls down on the weight held in the hand.
The biceps brachii and brachialis work eccentrically to straighten the elbow and return to the starting position.