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Rope Hammer Curls

By RealJock Staff

This exercise provided courtesy of Mike Clausen, founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006.

Two-handed rope hammer curls are a great way to target the brachialis portion of the biceps.

Muscles Worked
Biceps (brachialis)

Starting Position
Stand facing a cable machine and attach a double-ended rope handle to the cable on the low setting. Take one handle in each hand, with your arms extended downward at shoulder-width apart, your palms facing each other and your thumbs up. Take a light grip; your pinkies should rest against the rope ends. Keep your elbow soft (never locked straight) and your upper arm close to your body. Try to keep your elbow slightly in front of the midline of your hip throughout the exercise to keep weight in the bicep muscle (see Photo 1).


  1. From the starting position, bend your elbow to curl your hand up toward your upper arm. Start the upward motion of the curl with a slight scooping motion through your pinkies to engage the muscle. Keep your elbow down as you do so, and do not let your upper arm swing—it should stay perfectly still throughout the exercise. Curl all the way up to full flexion. At the top of curl, briefly tweak your hands slightly out to the sides to engage the brachialis. (see Photos 2 and 3).
  2. Do not pause at the top of your motion; you should not rest at either the top or bottom of the curl. Immediately begin lowering your arm back to the starting position to complete the curl, resisting the weight of the plates all the way down (see Photos 4 and 5).
Single-Arm Variation
You can work on one arm at a time doing single-arm rope hammer curls. To do this variation, either use a single-ended rope handle or tie off the unused handle of a double-handled rope handle so that it won't be in your way.

About Mike Clausen: Clausen is the founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006. He has been actively involved in sports and weightlifting since high school, and continues to use that knowledge when training his clients. Clausen is both A.C.E. and N.A.S.M. certified and has been training clients professionally for six years. He enjoys making his clients stronger, both physically and mentally, giving them the tools to create an efficient body and to do things they thought were not possible.