Zottman Curl Vs Hammer Curl: Which One Is More Effective?

Building muscle and improving arm strength is possible with various exercises that you can try. Commonly chosen are the Zottman curl and the hammer curl.

These two exercises engage your biceps muscles in varying ways despite having a similar effect. This article will scrutinize the dissimilarities between the zottman curl vs hammer curl and support you in determining the right one for yourself.

You may also like: Definitive Guide On Hammer Curl Vs. Preacher Curl

What is the Zottman curl?

Zottman curl is an exercise that is performed for the biceps and was named after the strongman George Zottman.

This bicep workout is designed to improve both biceps and forearm strength. Hence, it is a frequently opted method for those who aim to build both muscle groups.

The brachialis muscle is targeted alongside the biceps during a hammer curl exercise. In comparison to other workouts, the Zottman curl particularly concentrates on developing the biceps and forearms.

For more effectiveness, you can do the Zottman bicep curl in a seated position.

How To Do the Zottman Curl

Seated Zottman Curl


  1. Take a shoulder-width position and grasp a dumbbell in both hands with your palms tilted upwards.
  2. Ensure that you keep your elbows close to the body as you curl the dumbbells up to the shoulders.
  3. Twist your wrist to face downwards and have palms facing down at the peak of the curl.
  4. Bring the weights back to their starting position while maintaining a palm-down position.
  5. Ensure that when you get to the bottom of the curl, you rotate your wrists thereby facing your palms upwards.
  6. Repeat the curling for your desired number of reps.

Benefits of the Zottman curl

The Zottman curl has several benefits, including:

  • Targets both the biceps and forearms
  • Improves grip strength
  • Helps to prevent muscle imbalances
  • You can use dumbbells or a barbell

What is the hammer curl?

For developing your biceps, one effective exercise is the hammer curl. Hammer curls are known to primarily target the brachialis muscle as compared to Zottman curls which also work on the biceps. The exercise is titled after the hammer’s motion since the dumbbell’s movement during the curl imitates a swinging hammer.

How To Do hammer curls?

Image of a Man doing Hammer Curl Exercise

  1. Stand with both feet separated at shoulder width and hold a dumbbell on each hand, while keeping the palms facing towards you.
  2. While curling the dumbbells up to your shoulders keep your elbows close to your body.
  3. Keep your palms facing your body as you lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.
  4. Execute this process until you achieve your preferred number of repetitions.

Related Exercise: Cross Body Hammer Curl: How To Do, Benefits, Variations, and More

Benefits Of The Hammer Curl

The hammer curl offers several benefits, including:

  • Targets both the biceps and brachialis muscle
  • Builds forearm strength
  • Improves grip strength
  • Allows for variation
  • Can help to prevent elbow pain
  • Can be done at home

Zottman Curl vs Hammer Curl: Which One Is Better?

Best For Hypotrophy And Size: Hammer Curl

Which exercise produces optimal results may cross your mind when trying to achieve larger biceps. The answer isn’t necessarily straightforward as you imagine.

Performing hammer curls allows the lifting of heavier weights and applying more resistance on the arm muscles that may trigger their growth.

To achieve optimal bicep development (hypotrophy) on a per-muscle basis, consider curling with your palms up. Using a supinated grip while lifting weights during Zottman curls’ concentric phase might be considered advantageous for building stronger biceps.

Best for Gaining Strength: Hammer Curl

The most effective way to attain your main objective of getting stronger is likely through hammer curls because they make use of all three target muscles: biceps, brachialis, and brachioradialis.

However, during Zottman curls, you lift the weight with your palms facing up and then you lower it while holding an overhand grip which reduces the ability of the brachioradialis to produce force.

Better For Muscle Activation: Zottman Curl

When it comes to targeted muscles, the hammer curl focuses primarily on the biceps and brachialis, while the Zottman curl works on both those muscles and forearms with its twisting motion can help to build grip strength.

Better For Beginners: Hammer Curls

The ZOttman curl and hammer curl are both great exercises for beginners. Nonetheless, starting with the hammer curl could be advantageous as it is a simpler exercise with lesser chances of getting injured.

The hammer curl is an elementary workout that focuses on the biceps and brachialis muscles. Besides that, it can be executed by using various kinds of equipment including dumbbells, barbells, or cable machines.

The forearms are engaged through a twisting movement in the more intricate Zottman curl exercise, on the other hand. so, the challenge for beginners is performing this exercise correctly, as improper form can cause injury.

References and Sources:

  1. Progression Models in Resistance Training for Healthy Adults. (2009). Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 41(3), 687–708. https://doi.org/10.1249/mss.0b013e3181915670
  2. Ralston, G. W., Kilgore, L., Wyatt, F. B., & Baker, J. S. (2017). The Effect of Weekly Set Volume on Strength Gain: A Meta-Analysis. Sports Medicine, 47(12), 2585–2601. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-017-0762-7
  3. Tucker, A. (2017, November 20). When Muscle Imbalances Can Be Dangerous—and How to Fix Them. SELF. https://www.self.com/story/muscle-imbalances
  4. Caufriez, B., Dugailly, P. M., Brassinne, E., & Schuind, F. (2018). The Role of the Muscle Brachioradialis in Elbow Flexion: An Electromyographic Study. The Journal of Hand Surgery (Asian-Pacific Volume), 23(01), 102–110. https://doi.org/10.1142/s2424835518500145
Hassane Sghir
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