Advanced Training Techniques: How Hand Position Affects Biceps Curls

March 29, 2018

hand position

You may have seen people in the gym doing different types of biceps curls and wondered why. How does your hand position affect the exercise? Which type of curl is best for growth?

Today we’re going to explain three bicep exercises, the differences between each and the muscles you’re going to be targeting when you’re doing them.

There are three main muscles you target with curls:

  1. Biceps: The biceps muscle is the one everyone focuses on. To build the biceps peak, turn your palms up. Rotate your pinkie up for maximum supination.
  2. Brachialis: Your brachialis lies underneath your biceps. Growing your brachialis helps push up your biceps for a bigger, fuller look.
  3. Brachioradialis: Technically a forearm muscle, your brachioradialis helps with flexion at the elbow. If you want to target your brachioradialis, turn your palms down and do reverse curls.

Now let’s talk about exercises to target these muscles and the proper hand position for each.

For the biceps, we’ll focus on good ol’ dumbbell biceps curls. As you lift the weight, turn your wrist so that your palm faces up. As you reach the top of the movement, turn your wrist another degree or two to get that pinkie up. This will help you get the maximum supination necessary to target the biceps peak.

If you want to target the brachialis, you need to use hand position to put the biceps in a more relaxed position. This forces the brachialis to work that much harder. Target your brachialis and relax your biceps with hammer curls, keeping your palms facing in towards your body and your thumbs up.

As we just explained, turning your hand down puts the biceps in a weaker position. It also puts the brachioradialis in a stronger position. Reverse grip curls are the best way to target the brachioradialis. Although you’re still using your biceps, your brachialis and your brachioradialis, this hand position puts the most emphasis on the brachioradialis.

In conclusion, the hand position you use during curls really just depends on what you want to work on.

If you want to build biceps peaks, turn your palms up. Get that pinkie up for maximum supination. If you want to target your brachialis, a hammer curl is going to be best. If you want to target your brachioradialis, turn your palms down and do reverse curls. Three different exercises, three different hand positions, three different muscles.

For more information, check out the first blog in the series, Advanced Training Techniques: Muscle Length and Muscle Tension.

All readers are advised to consult their physician before beginning any exercise and nutrition program. BPI Sports and the contributors do not accept any responsibility for injury sustained as a result of following the advice or suggestions contained within the content.

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