What does doing bicep curls with forearms facing down achieve?

It seems that forearms facing up (standard way most people do them) exercise the "outer" bicep, while forearms facing down exercises an underlying layer of muscle?

2 Answers 2


Reverse curls are done with the palm down. They primarily work the brachialis and the brachioradialis.

Hammer curls are done with the the palm facing inward. They work the biceps brachii, the brachialis, and the brachioradialis more equally than the other two positions.

The standard curl is done with the palms facing up. They primarily work the biceps brachii.

  • 4
    You might want to tell us what all those big B words mean.
    – JoJo
    Apr 23, 2011 at 21:19

Here's a good link to some curl variations and a pic of the muscles being worked on:http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/drobson215.htm

In plan language (from what I understand) the palm down works more of the forearm in addition to the bicep, the hammer (neutral) a more even split of stress on forearm and bicep and the traditional curl mostly the bicep. (much like pull ups and chin ups).

  • In addition, the palm down/reverse works more of the outer (away from the body) lower head of the bicep, while the hammer/neutral works both fairly equally, while the standard curl works the inner (toward the body) lower head. In "plain language". :)
    – alesplin
    Apr 25, 2011 at 19:42

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