FITNESS > Cross-Body Hammer Bicep Curl – Great Forearm & Bicep Workout

Is your forearm and bicep work-out too boring? Are you doing the same forearm and bicep workouts every day? Do you feel that your bicep strength has peaked out or that your forearms seem to give way when doing too many arm exercises in a single work-out?

If you’ve answered ‘YES’ to any of the above questions, you need to hit your biceps and forearms with an exciting new exercise! And that routine can include the CROSS-BODY HAMMER BICEP CURL. Essentially, it’s like a hammer curl for your bicep routine, but instead of just ‘curling’ the weight, you curl the free weight across your body to create a new movement and better motion for building your bicep muscles. Not only that, but the cross-body hammer curl is also a great workout for your forearms, which aid in many other arm, chest, shoulder and back exercise routines.

The cross body hammer curl trains your brachialis which is a set of muscles that separates the biceps from the triceps. By doing the cross body hammer curls, you will not only be shocking your arms, but you will also increase the definition between your biceps and triceps (largest muscle in your arms), making your upper arms look bigger!

Here’s the breakdown of the exciting Cross-Body Hammer Bicep Curl that should be integrated into every other bicep workout routine:

Cross Body Hammer Bicep Curl

* picture from Men’s Fitness | Photography by: D Snipes


Cross-Body Hammer Bicep Curl Exercise in a Nutshell (shown above)


Muscles shocked: biceps, forearms and core
Sets: 3 to 4
Reps: 10 to 12 per arm
Rest period: 30 to 45 seconds

How to:
Get a dumbbell (free weight) that is about 80 to 90% the weight that you usually use for a bicep curl exercise. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your arms set against your side.

Curl the right hand dumbbell/free weight across your body so that it ends up under your left shoulder and against your chest. This is why it is called the “Cross-Body Hammer Bicep Curl” because you are essentially curling the free weight across your body. At this point, your palm should be facing and kept as close as possible to your chest. Go back to the rest state as slowly as possible and in the same but reverse motion.

Then, curl the left hand dumbbell/free weight across your body so that it ends up under your right shoulder. Again, keep your palm facing your chest (and as close to your chest). Again, this ‘cross-body hammer curl’ motion should be smooth without any jerking motion to lift the weight.

Alternate your cross body curls until you’ve done 10 to 12 per arm (that’s a total of 20 to 24 cross body curls). Repeat the cross body curls until you’ve done at least 3 sets. If you can manage to do 4 sets with the weight, go for it!

You will feel the 3 core areas being worked during your Cross Body Hammer Curl. You should feel the intense throb in your forearms during the upward motion of the cross body bicep curl, as well as during the return back to the original state. In addition, you will feel the cross body hammer curl work your bicep muscles, giving it a great pump both up and down. Last but not least, in order to keep your shoulders back and your body in a relaxed non-motionless state, you will feel the Cross Body Hammer Bicep Curl work your core muscles as well.

Therefore, we consider the cross body curl a 3 in 1 exercise that is great in working out your forearms, biceps and core.

Tips for the Cross Body Hammer Curl for Biceps and Foreman Workouts

Make sure that you have your feet, body and arms positioned correctly (see above in the ‘how to’ section) to avoid any injuries to your arms and back. When you are at the rest state, make sure that your feet are shoulder width apart with your knees slightly bent. When you raise your arm for the cross body hammer curl, make sure that you are not using your leg strength, your lower back or your shoulders to do the bicep hammer curl. The entire exercise should be working your entire arm including your forearms, biceps and your core. Make sure that the motion up, across your body and back down, is slow and fluid. Each cross body bicep hammer curl should take at least 2 seconds to go up and another 2 seconds to return to your rest state. Therefore, each repetition should take 4 seconds in total. Try to keep everything but your arms stationary throughout the exercise to achieve maximum gains.


The SUPER Cross Body Bicep Curl for Core Training

For elite athletes and hard core trainers who are seeking some extra core training exercises, the Super Cross Body Bicep Curl is ideal for your core training needs.  Essentially, it is exactly the same as the above cross body hammer curl, but it works your core muscles even more!  Here are 2 variations for the super cross body bicep curl that can be done by itself, or in combination with other bicep, forearm and core exercises.  Please note that the tips are the same: fluid motion, keeping everything stationary except your arms and the 4 second rule still applies!  So NEVER cheap yourself out of the perfect core exercise!


Variation 1 for the Cross Body Core Training Exercise

The first variation for the above exercise is to do exactly the same motions but on one leg.  Before you do your first curl, raise one of your legs until your lower foot is perpendicular to the ground.  Make sure your knees are touching.  Again, curl the right hand dumbbell across your body so that it ends up under your left shoulder and against your chest.  Repeat with your left hand across your right shoulder.

You should try using 60% of your usual bicep curl free weight for this exercise.  The most important tip is to make sure that you are balanced before starting your cross body core training exercise.  Secondly, make sure that you are not compensating and making it easier by jerking the free weight or by using your back or shoulders or legs to raise the dumbbell.  The entire motion should be working only your core and your arms.


Variation 2 for the Cross Body Core Training Work Out

If the first variation is too easy for you or if you want to shock your core with an even more difficult core training work out, then Variation 2 would be ideal for you!  In this variation, get a square balance board.  If you are familiar with balancing on this square balance board, then you can head right into the exercise.  If not, please make sure you get used to the balance of the board before you start.

In order to start the exercise, grab the free weight and get on the square balance board.  Once you have maintained a perfect balance for at least 5 seconds, you can start with cross body hammer curl to work out your core.  This core training exercise is the most difficult of the three variations mentioned on this blog post as you are not only working out your forearms and biceps, but you are also balancing and working out your core on the square balance board.

Repeat the repetitions for each arm (again, try doing at least 10 to 12 reps per arm for each set).  The ongoing tip again is to maintain your balance without compromising your body form.  Core training is all about slow and fluid motion without any jerkiness or use of body parts that you aren’t suppose to use.

So if you cheat, you are cheating nobody but yourself!