How To

1 Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing toward you.
2 Curl one dumbbell up and bring it diagonally across your torso toward the opposite shoulder. Rotate your wrist slightly as you bring the dumbbell up.
3 Lower your dumbbell back down with control. Repeat on the other side.

Muscle Worked in How to Do a Cross-Body Hammer Curl

Primary Muscles

Biceps The biceps are muscles that sit at the front or your upper arms between your elbows and shoulders

Secondary Muscles

Forearms The forearms help you grip objects and move your hands, wrists and fingers
Shoulders Your shoulders are ball-and-socket joints which connect your arms to your torso

Pro Tips

  • Think about bringing the dumbbell in an X-shape across the chest. This will help you move diagonally rather than straight up and down.
  • Don’t swing your dumbbells or use too much momentum to lift your weights.
  • Make sure your wrists are engaged and aren’t dropping backwards. Keeping your wrists stable allows you to maintain the integrity of this movement to build stronger biceps and bigger forearms.
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  • Cross-body hammer curls promote better grip strength.
  • This exercise may help you grow your forearms to create more balance between upper arm and forearm size.
  • Easier on the wrist for those who have wrist strength problems or pain in the wrists.
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Exercises that target the same primary muscle groups with different equipment

Common Mistakes

  • Don’t let your elbows flare too far out. This reduces the emphasis on your biceps. Try to keep your elbows in tight to your sides.
  • Try not to swing your dumbbells. Using momentum doesn’t let you put the effort into the muscles you should be working, making this move less effective. You’re also more likely to hurt yourself or others.
  • Not squeezing your biceps at the top of this movement makes it less effective. Try to think about really contracting your muscles to reap the benefits of this exercise.
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Warm Up & Cool Down

To warm up before cross-body hammer curls, try arm circles. These involve rotating your arms in circles to energize you, increase blood flow and wake up your shoulder joints. Warm Up Before Barbell Squat
1 Roll each arm at the shoulder joint in circles. Start small, increasing the size of the circles until you are making wide arm circles.
2 Reverse the direction of your arm circles, starting with big circles and getting smaller.
Cool Down After Barbell Squat Try a wrist flexor stretch. This helps you stretch your forearm and wrist to relax and work on your joint flexibility.
1 Stick one arm out in front of you with your palm facing up. Use the other hand to pull your fingers back towards you until you feel a stretch in your forearm. Hold it for 10-30 seconds, or as long as you need, then switch arms.


What is hammer grip vs. normal grip?
Hammer grip is also referred to as “neutral grip.” In this grip type, your palms face in towards one another, rather than pronating (facing downward) or supinating (facing upward).
Are cross-body hammer grip curls an effective exercise?
If you’re looking to improve the strength of your biceps and forearms, cross-body hammer grip curls are a great option to challenge you and help these muscles grow.
What is the difference between a regular hammer curl and a cross-body hammer curl?
The cross-body variation puts more emphasis on the brachialis muscle. This is the muscle that sits in between your biceps and triceps. Regular hammer curls work most of the brachioradialis— the muscle that connects your upper arm to your forearm.