One of your goals in the gym might be to make your muscles pop off the metaphorical page and stand out in a world of 2D physiques. To add some extra depth to your arm day to achieve that look, check out this move for a full-on 3D pump.
Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. uses the 3D hammer curl with a parallel twist to challenge his biceps and finish off a session.
“This curl is a strong way to finish out a biceps workout, or a good way to get a quick Friday night pre-game pump in,” says Samuel. “[The exercise] addresses three parts of the arm that contribute to the overall look that’ll have you popping out of your shirt: Biceps, brachialis (the little ball muscle that lies just beneath the biceps and gives your arm that “3D” look), and forearm.
To perform the move, all you need is a set of dumbbells. If you want to try this out at home and you need a versatile pair, check out this adjustable option from Bowflex. Don’t go too heavy to start—there’s a ton of rotation and movement to push you. But once you get the hang of the form, Samuel says you can go heavier than your standard biceps curls.
Men’s Health/Eric Rosati
- Hold a pair of dumbbells for a hammer curl, with your palms facing each other.
- Perform a hammer curl rep. On the way down, pause when your forearms are parallel to the ground. Hold for one count.
- After one count, rotate the weights so that your palms face the ceiling. Hold in that position for a count.
- Lower the weight down.
The key here is the workload you’re giving the brachialis, the muscle that flexes your elbow joint. “When you settle into that parallel pause, you’re challenging your brachialis isometrically,” says Samuel. Once you turn your palms over, the supinated (palms up) position is governed by the biceps, so you’re hitting multiple sweet spots in the pump.
Add the 3D hammer curl with a parallel twist to your arm days with 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps per arm. For more tips and routines from Samuel, check out our full slate of Eb and Swole workouts. If you want to try an even more dedicated routine, consider Eb’s New Rules of Muscle program.
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