Cross Body Hammer Curl ( How To, Variations, Muscles Worked)

In this guide, I’ll show you how to perform and benefit from the cross-body hammer curl with a dumbbell, highlighting its benefits, muscle activation, and possible variations.

You will learn all about this exercise and how to implement it into your training program in just a few minutes.

Exercise Details

  • Also known as: The cross-chest hammer curl 
  • Exercise type: Strength 
  • Body type:  Arms, Biceps
  • Level: Beginner
  • Main targets:  Brachialis, brachioradialis (forearms)
  • Secondary targets:  Brachialis, long head of the biceps
  • Compound/Isolated: Isolated
  • Force type: Pair of dumbbells

Related Guide: Hammer Curl Vs Reverse Curl, Which One Is Better?

What Is A Cross Body Hammer Curl


The cross body hammer curl is an isolated exercise that targets the muscles of the biceps and forearms.

In contrast to normal dumbbell curls, which are performed with hands facing upward, the hammer curl is performed with your palms facing your body.


When you change the position of your hands in this way, particular arm muscles perform more work than when you do a standard dumbbell curl.


How To Do A Cross-Body Hammer Curls With Proper Form


I’ll demonstrate how to execute cross body dumbbell hammer curls while standing in the same position as you would for regular dumbbell hammer curls.


  1. Position your feet about shoulder-width apart while you stand.
  2. While keeping the dumbbell as near to your body as possible, slowly curl your right arm up from your thigh across your torso as possible until you reach the top position of the curl
  3. then turn the movement back to return the dumbbell to the starting position.

  4. Next repeat the same exercise with your left arm, alternating until you have completed the desired number of reps.

Gymgoers usually combine it with other biceps and triceps exercises for mainly forearm growth, I advise performing the cross-body dumbbell hammer curl after exercising your biceps.

Recommended Sets and Reps:

  • 3-4 sets
  • 8-12 repetitions

Pro Tips:

  • Throughout the whole exercise, keep your wrists in a neutral posture.
  • Pause for a moment at the peak before returning the dumbbell to the starting position with control.
  • Don’t be concerned about keeping your elbow still. As you can see in the video demonstration, a tiny bit of elbow movement is normal as you finish each exercise.


What Muscles Are Worked By Cross Body Hammer Curl


Generally, this workout involves only a few smaller muscles, it strengthens the forearms while targeting the biceps.

While traditional dumbbell hammer curls are excellent for targeting the brachioradialis, brachialis, and long head of the biceps, simply rotating your arm in what is technically known as the medial rotation can place the majority of the focus on the long head of the biceps. For this reason, I advise using cross body dumbbell hammer curls in your biceps training.


Cross Body Hammer Curl Benefits


  • Helps you to warm up: It is a shoulder flexion exercise that lowers biceps muscle activation and may thus be involved as a warm-up exercise.
  • Increased Upper-Lower arm balance: It strikes a balance between the bottom and upper sections of your arms.
  • Bone density: Cross body hammer curls are excellent for increasing bone density.
  • Improve muscular endurance: Improving arm and shoulder strength improves total muscle endurance, Any trainer can reap advantages from upper body workouts, particularly the biceps.
  • Better grip strength: A strong and solid grip is required for a variety of workouts. One of the numerous benefits of wrist stability is a lower chance of injury.
  • Isolation: It can be employed to isolate certain biceps parts, letting you concentrate on improving any weak ones. This exercise also stimulates the core muscles and improves posture as an extra bonus.


Best cross body hammer curl alternative or variations


Changing up your training regimen might help you stay motivated while challenging your muscles in new ways.

Here are some variants, supplementary, or alternate workouts that train comparable muscles to the Dumbbell Cross Body Hammer Curl:

1. Cable Cross Body Curl

Cable cross body curl image

The cable cross-body hammer curl is a good variation of a dumbbell hammer curl that targets the biceps, brachialis, and forearm muscles. You raise the weights across your body instead of directly in front of your body.

2. Cable Rope Hammer Curls

Cable Rope Hammer Curls Image

The cable rope hammer curl is a cross body hammer curl alternative that is used to develop the anterior muscles of the biceps.

The only difference between it and a biceps curl is the outsider’s (hammer) hand posture.

Examine your training program and see where you can include this for an enjoyable challenge because the outcomes are going to satisfy you.

3. EZ Bar Close Grip Curl

EZ Bar Close Grip Curl Image

The EZ Bar Close Grip Curl is an excellent supplement or substitute for the Dumbbell Cross Body Hammer Curl.

This exercise targets the same muscle areas as the cross body technique, but instead of dumbbells, you implement an EZ bar.

You will be grasping the bar near the center for this exercise, allowing you to target the biceps more than a broader grip.

Furthermore, this exercise provides a wider range of motion, allowing for greater depth and more efficient muscle contraction.

4. EZ Bar Close Grip Preacher Curl


EZ Bar Close Grip Preacher Curl Image


Close grip preacher curls make it tough to swing the weight up, resulting in extra load on the target muscles.

The great thing about this exercise is that it is simple to begin with and master, yet it has significant advantages for your arms. If you have trouble with them at first, attempt to increase your strength, especially in your wrists and forearms.

Hammer curl vs cross body hammer curl

Cross-body hammer curls put a little greater focus on the brachialis, which is helpful in spreading your biceps and triceps and giving you the appearance of having larger arms.

Your biceps and forearms are trained with hammer curls. more specifically, the long head of your biceps, brachioradialis, and brachialis.

You can pick one or do both depending on your fitness goals, thus here is the caveat:

Cross-body hammer curls might be the best option for you if you want to strengthen and grow your forearms in addition to thickening your arms.

On the other hand, hammer curls could be an excellent option if you want to focus on developing wider-looking arms and avoid allowing your forearms to play a large role in the workout.

So, it is really tough to decide which of these workouts is superior because they are both highly efficient at developing strong and muscular arms.

People Also Ask


Are Crossbody Hammer curls effective?

Hammer curls work the brachioradialis, brachialis, and the long head of the biceps while Cross body hammer curls, requiring turning the arm in, target the same muscles. They do, however, impact the long head of the biceps a little harder than regular hammer curls.

Are cross-body hammer curls harder?

Not really, this exercise is beginner-friendly because you can start with light weights. 

Do cross body hammer curls target long head?

Yes, the cross body hammer curls work mainly the long head of the biceps, However, they also work the brachioradialis, brachialis, and short head of the biceps brachii.


When performed correctly, the cross body hammer curl is one of the excellent upper body-building exercises. Because you have to focus on training one arm at a time, this exercise is far better for creating a stronger mind-muscle connection than traditional curls.

Cross body curls also allow you to put on more weight than normal hammer curls because they need less core stability and your attention is not divided between both sides of your body.

Hassane Sghir
Follow Us

Leave a Comment