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Kettlebell Hammer Curl

Kettlebell Hammer Curl

In the world of strength training, kettlebells have emerged as versatile tools that offer a dynamic and effective way to build muscle and enhance overall fitness. Among the many exercises that can be performed with kettlebells, the kettlebell hammer curl stands out as a potent movement to target the biceps, forearms, and grip strength. This exercise not only helps you develop functional strength but also adds variety to your routine, keeping your workouts engaging and challenging. In this blog, we'll delve into the mechanics, benefits, and proper technique of the kettlebell hammer curl, empowering you to add this exercise to your fitness arsenal.

What this article covers:

Understanding the Kettlebell Hammer Curl

The kettlebell hammer curl is a variation of the traditional dumbbell hammer curl. Instead of using a dumbbell, you grip a kettlebell by its handle, and perform the curling motion with a neutral grip, resembling the grip you'd have while holding a hammer. This grip engages not only the biceps but also the brachialis muscle, which lies underneath the biceps, and the forearm muscles, creating a well-rounded arm workout.

Benefits of the Kettlebell Hammer Curl

Muscle Development: The kettlebell hammer curl targets both the biceps and the brachialis muscle effectively, leading to balanced arm development and enhanced functional strength.

Forearm Engagement: The neutral grip used in this exercise engages the forearm muscles more than a traditional supinated (palms up) grip, helping improve grip strength and forearm stability.

Variety: Introducing the kettlebell hammer curl into your routine adds variety to your arm training, preventing stagnation and keeping your muscles guessing, which can lead to better gains.

Joint Health: The neutral grip places less stress on the wrists and elbows compared to other curl variations, making it a safer option for those with joint sensitivities.

Functional Strength: The grip used in the kettlebell hammer curl mirrors real-life activities where you might need to grasp objects with a neutral grip, contributing to functional strength development.

kettlebell hammer curls

Proper Technique

Follow these steps to perform the kettlebell hammer curl with proper form:

Choose the Right Kettlebell: Select a kettlebell with an appropriate weight for your fitness level. Start with a manageable weight to focus on form before progressing to heavier loads.

Grip the Kettlebell: Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart. Hold the kettlebell's handle with a neutral grip, ensuring your palms are facing each other. Keep your shoulders relaxed and your core engaged.

Initiate the Curl: While keeping your upper arms stationary, exhale and curl the kettlebell upward by contracting your biceps. Maintain a straight wrist and avoid excessive swinging or using momentum.

Full Contraction: Continue curling until the kettlebell is at shoulder level or slightly higher. Squeeze your biceps at the top of the movement to achieve maximum contraction.

Lower the Kettlebell: Inhale and slowly lower the kettlebell back down to the starting position, maintaining control throughout the descent.

Repeat: Perform the desired number of repetitions, ensuring you maintain proper form throughout the set.

Safety Considerations

Start Light: Begin with a weight that allows you to perform the exercise with good form. Progressively increase the weight as your strength improves.

Controlled Movement: Avoid using momentum to lift the kettlebell. Focus on controlled movements to engage the targeted muscles effectively.

Neutral Wrist: Keep your wrist in a neutral position throughout the movement to prevent strain.

Listen to Your Body: If you experience discomfort or pain, stop the exercise and reassess your form or consult a fitness professional.


In the world of strength training, kettlebells continue to gain popularity for their versatility and ability to engage multiple muscle groups. While the kettlebell hammer curl is a fantastic exercise, it's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the myriad of movements you can perform to get a next level kettlebell bicep workout! Let's explore some additional kettlebell curl variations that will help you take your arm training to the next level.

Kettlebell Curls

The traditional kettlebell curl is performed with a palms-up grip, similar to a dumbbell curl. This variation engages the biceps and forearms while providing a different angle of contraction compared to the hammer curl. By alternating between hammer curls and kettlebell curls, you ensure a comprehensive arm workout that targets various muscle fibers for balanced development.

Kettlebell Crush Curl

The kettlebell crush curl is a creative twist on the traditional curl. In this movement, you hold two kettlebells by their horns (the sides of the handle) with an overhand grip. As you curl the kettlebells toward your shoulders, they should come close enough to touch, mimicking a "crushing" motion. This variation not only challenges your biceps but also activates the brachialis and forearm muscles differently, providing a unique stimulus for growth.

Kettlebell Towel Curl

For those seeking to enhance grip strength and forearm engagement even further, the kettlebell towel curl is an excellent choice. To perform this exercise, loop a towel through the handle of a kettlebell and grip the ends of the towel with each hand. As you curl the kettlebell, the towel's thickness adds an element of instability, forcing your grip muscles to work harder to maintain control. This variation offers a significant challenge to your forearms and grip strength while still targeting the biceps.

Kettlebell Curl to Press

The kettlebell curl to press is a dynamic movement that combines the benefits of a curl with the added challenge of a shoulder press. Start by performing a kettlebell curl with your palms facing up, lifting the kettlebell to shoulder level. Then, transition smoothly into a press, extending your arms overhead. Lower the kettlebell back down to your shoulders and then, with control, back to the starting position. This exercise not only works your biceps but also engages your shoulders, upper back, and core for a full-body effort.

Remember, while these kettlebell curl variations offer exciting opportunities for growth, proper form and technique are paramount. Start with lighter weights to ensure you can perform the movements correctly before gradually increasing the load. If you're uncertain about form or technique, don't hesitate to seek guidance from a fitness professional. By expanding your kettlebell repertoire, you'll not only keep your workouts fresh and engaging but also unlock new levels of strength and muscle development.

The kettlebell hammer curl is an excellent addition to your strength training routine, offering a unique way to build biceps, forearm, and grip strength. Its neutral grip and multifaceted benefits make it a valuable exercise for both beginners and experienced lifters alike. Remember, mastering the technique is key to reaping the full rewards of this exercise, so start light, focus on form, and gradually progress to heavier weights. Incorporating the kettlebell hammer curl into your workouts will undoubtedly contribute to your journey towards stronger and more defined arms.

hammer curls kettlebell