Cross Body Hammer Curl: How To Do, Muscle Worked & Benefits

Are you looking for an exercise to strengthen your forearm and bicep, then the cross-body hammer curl is the best option for you.

The cross-body hammer curls are a powerful variation of the traditional hammer curl, specifically designed to target the brachialis and brachioradialis muscles.

But like any exercise, mastering the cross-body hammer curl takes practice, form, and technique. That’s why we’ve created the ultimate guide to help.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the following:

  • What is Cross-body Hammer Curl
  • Muscle Worked During it
  • Its Benefits
  • How To Do It
  • Sets and Reps
  • Best Variations
  • Best Alternates

What Is Cross-Body Hammer Curl

The cross body hammer curls, a variation of the dumbbell hammer curl that targets the brachialis, biceps, and brachioradialis muscles.

This exercise primarily targets the brachialis muscle, which lies beneath the biceps, as well as the brachioradialis muscle in the forearm.

In this exercise, you move the dumbbell from one side of your body to the other instead of curling it in front of you. This diagonal movement pattern is referred to as the cross body. For example, when curling with the right arm, you bring the weight towards your left shoulder, and vice versa.

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Muscle Worked During Cross Body Hammer Curl

The Cross body dumbbell hammer curl targets the upper and lower arm muscles — most notably the brachialis and brachioradialis.

The hammer curl has the involvement of several synergist muscles, these muscles include,

A handful of other muscles worked or play the role of stabilizer muscles, including your

Muscle Worked During Cross Body Hammer Curl

Benefits Of Cross Body Hammer Curl

The hammer cross curl has the following advantages:

  1. Improved grip strength and wrist stability.
  2. It works the brachialis and brachioradialis, as well as the biceps and other forearm muscles.
  3. Neutral grip may take pressure off the wrists and elbows.
  4. Put minimal stress on the wrists, making them a joint-friendly option
  5. Places the primary stress on the long (outer) head of the biceps.
  6. Enhanced muscle balance and symmetry in the arms.
  7. This will help you challenge your muscles and prevent workout plateaus.

How To Do Alternating Cross Body Hammer Curl

Here are step-by-step instructions for executing this exercise properly. 

Cross Body Hammer Curl
  1. Stand upright with a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Maintain a neutral grip where your palms are facing each other.
  3. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart for stability.
  4. Begin with your arms fully extended, hanging by your sides.
  5. Keep your elbows close to your body throughout the exercise.
  6. Initiate the movement by flexing your elbows and curling the weights diagonally across your torso towards the opposite shoulder.
  7. As you curl the weights, keep your wrists straight and maintain a controlled and steady motion.
  8. Continue curling until your hands are close to your opposite shoulder.
  9. Squeeze your biceps at the top of the movement for a brief pause, focusing on the contraction.
  10. Slowly lower the weights back down to the starting position in a controlled manner, following the same diagonal path.
  11. Repeat the exercise for the desired number of repetitions, alternating arms with each repetition.

Follow Proper Form and Tips

When performing cross body hammer curls, it’s important to avoid the following common mistakes:

1. Controlled Motion

It is not effective to use momentum to swing the weights up and down because it takes the emphasis away from the muscles. Focus on doing things slowly and carefully throughout the whole range of motion.

2. Keep Elbows Close To Body

If you allow your elbows to move away from your body during a hammer curl, this can place unnecessary stress on the shoulder joint and decrease muscle activation.

To maintain proper form and maximize muscle engagement, keep your elbows close to your torso.

3. Do Full Range of Motion

If you don’t fully extend your arms at the bottom or bend the weights all the way to your opposite shoulder, you will reduce the range of motion.

The complete range of motion ensures that you are effectively working the muscles and maximizing their development.

4. Choose the Right Weight

It is important to choose an appropriate weight that will allow you to maintain proper form and control. The heavy weights can compromise your form and increase the risk of injury.

Start with a heavy weight that makes you work hard, but doesn’t hurt your form. As you get stronger, increase the weight gradually.

5. Create Mind-Muscle Connection

Keep your focus on the muscles you’re working on, like the brachialis and brachioradialis. As you curl the weights, focus on contracting the muscles and maintaining tension in the muscles.

Strong mind-muscle connections help optimize muscle activation.

Advanced Tips For Cross Body Hammer Curls

For advanced lifters, try these tips for doing cable hammer curls.

  • Use supersets or drop sets to increase the intensity of the exercise.
  • Increase the weight and perform fewer reps to build strength and size.
  • Incorporate different variations of cable hammer curls to challenge your muscles in new ways.
  • Focus on slowing down the eccentric phase of the movement to increase time under tension.

Variations of the Cross Body Alternating Hammer Curl

There are several variations of the cross-body hammer curl that you can incorporate into your workout routine to keep things interesting and challenging.

1. Cross Body Cables Hammer Curl

Instead of using dumbbells, you can use cable machines to perform cross body hammer curls.

Attach handles to the low pulley cables, stand in the middle, and perform the exercise by pulling the handles diagonally across your body. This variation provides constant tension throughout the movement.

2. Cross Body Resistance Bands Hammer Curl

Use resistance bands by stepping on them and holding the handles in your hands. Perform the cross body hammer curl movement, and the resistance from the bands will challenge your muscles.

This variation is great for home workouts or when you don’t have access to dumbbells or cable machines.


Do cross body hammer curls target long head?

Yes, cross-body hammer curls target the long head of the biceps. This exercise uses a diagonal motion and a neutral grip to make the long part of the biceps work harder, which helps it grow bigger and stronger.

What does cross body hammer curls work?

Cross Body Hammer Curls mainly work the brachialis, brachioradialis and biceps brachii, muscles. However, they do hit the long head of the biceps harder than standard hammer curls.

Are cross body hammer curls good

Yes, Cross Body Hammer Curls are a beneficial exercise for building arm strength, targeting the biceps, brachialis, and brachioradialis muscles. They can also enhance grip strength.

Cross body hammer curls vs. hammer curls

Cross body hammer curls and hammer curls are not the same. While both exercises work the same muscle groups to some extent, the hand positioning and movement pattern differ, providing unique benefits and variations in muscle stimulation.

  • Cross-body hammer curls involve a diagonal motion, where you cross the dumbbell over your body. This targets the biceps, brachialis, and brachioradialis muscles. It places slightly greater emphasis on the long head of the biceps compared to standard Hammer Curls.
  • Hammer curls are exercises in which you lift weights up and down while keeping your palms facing each other. This primarily targets the brachialis and brachioradialis muscles.

Cross body hammer curls vs bicep curls

Cross Body Hammer Curls

  • Primarily target the biceps, brachialis, and brachioradialis muscles.
  • Involve a diagonal motion, crossing the dumbbell over the body.
  • Emphasize the long head of the biceps.
  • Promote muscle balance and grip strength.

Bicep Curls (Standard)

  • Primarily target the biceps brachii muscles.
  • It involves a straightforward curling motion.
  • Provide a balanced activation of the biceps.
  • It can be performed with various equipment and positions.


The cross body hammer curl is a great exercise for building stronger and more defined arms, as well as improving your grip strength.

Remember to listen to your body, change the weight and intensity of the exercise if needed, and include different arm exercises in your routine to get the best results.

If you train consistently and with proper form, your arms will get stronger and more defined quickly.

Best Variations Hammer Curl To Build Bigger Arm

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