Tricep bars are great in the sense that you can use them for multiple movements. Find out why you could consider doing tricep bar curls.
The neutral handles of tricep bars change the angle of your wrists in the curl exercise. In turn, you work the muscles involved in a different ratio.
Tricep bar hammer curls focus less on the biceps brachii (most visible bicep muscle) and more on the biceps brachialis (deeper upper arm muscle) and brachioradialis (forearm) muscles.
Additionally, by pointing your forearms more to the center due to the somewhat narrower handles, you will focus more on the outer muscle head of the biceps brachii and less on the inner muscle head.
Compared to bicep hammer curls, you will work shoulder stabilization muscles less with tricep bar hammer curls because your hands are connected by a sturdy bar.
Additionally, many people will find the neutral handles of a tricep bar more comfortable on their wrists than barbell bicep curls.
How to do a tricep bar curl
The main equipment options you need for this exercise are a good tricep bar and enough weight plates. Once you have these things, take the following steps to do a tricep bar curl:
- Load the desired number of weight plates on the tricep bar, stand in front of it, and put your hands on the handles.
- Lift the tricep bar while keeping your spine straight until you stand upright. Keep your arms as close to stretched as possible for now. The bar will rest against your thighs or hips.
- Slowly fold your arms at the elbows as far as you comfortably can. Keep your upper arms and the rest of your body still throughout the movement.
- Lower the tricep bar back into the position of step 2 in a controlled motion.
It is typically a good idea to move slowly in tricep bar curls. This will help you avoid moving your upper arms and really works your muscles.
To lower the risk of using the rest of your body you can also do tricep bar hammer curls seated or with your upper arms on a preacher bench or other slanted surface.
Knowing the weight of the tricep bar you are using can help with loading the optimal number of weight plates for your training goals on the bar.
Tricep bar curls muscles worked
The main muscles worked during tricep bar hammer curls are your biceps brachii (most visible bicep muscle), biceps brachialis (deeper upper arm muscle), and brachioradialis (forearm) muscles.
Due to the different wrist angles, the tricep bar version focuses slightly less on the biceps brachii and more on the biceps brachialis and brachioradialis muscles compared to a regular bicep curl.
Compared to dumbbell hammer curls, the tricep bar version will also engage your shoulder stabilization muscles less. This is often considered positive for an isolation exercise like a bicep curl.
If you don’t like this tricep bar curl variation, there are other options too.
You could do a more standard curl with the tricep bar by holding the top bar with your hand palms up.
In all of these variations, you still need to use enough weight and do enough repetitions to grow and strengthen the muscles you work with tricep bar curls.
Benefits of tricep bar curls
You can definitely use tricep bars to do a slightly different bicep curl. Some of the benefits of doing this are:
- More comfortable on your wrists: Many people will find the neutral handles of tricep bars more comfortable for doing curls than something like a barbell.
- Engages stabilization muscles less: Because the handles are connected, tricep bar curls work stabilizing muscles less than something like a dumbbell hammer curl. You may prefer this isolated focus.
- Works muscles in a different ratio: The different wrist angles in tricep bar curls influence in what ratio you work your muscles. Again, some people may prefer this.
- Better grip strength: Tricep bar hammer curls train your grip muscles more than a regular bicep curl. More grip strength can be useful in your daily life and can benefit other lifts.
Hammer curls are one of the top tricep bar exercises in terms of the positive effects of this specialty barbell.
On top of these, adding tricep bar curls to your routine also offers more standard benefits of doing weight lifting exercises.
Tricep bar hammer curl alternatives
Tricep bar hammer curls can be great for the right people but at the same time, you may want to know whether there are alternatives that offer similar workouts.
In that case, you can consider a few of these tricep bar hammer curl alternatives:
- Regular (tricep bar) curls
- Reverse curls
- Hammer curls with other equipment
- Preacher curls
- Zottman curls
What the best tricep bar hammer curl alternative is for you depends on the muscles you want to work in what ways.
Is the tricep bar curl a good exercise?
Tricep bar curls can be a good exercise for people who want to work their arm muscles in the specific ratio of hammer curls without as much shoulder stabilization muscle engagement.
More specifically, this exercise really works your biceps brachii, biceps brachialis, and brachioradialis muscles.
If you use the right weight, reps, and sets, you can grow and strengthen these muscles.
Besides that, you can sit down, use a preacher curl bench, or use another slanted surface to make sure you don’t use the rest of your body to move the tricep bar.
Lastly, keep in mind that personal preference matters in lifting programs too. If you like doing tricep bar curls you will likely find it easier to stay consistent with a routine that includes them.