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Pinwheel Curls

pinwheel curls

Want thicker arms?

Developing the brachialis muscle will:

  • Increase the size of your arms
  • Help correct any imbalance in size between the 2 arms since the brachialis is usually underdeveloped in the smaller arm.

If you don’t know where this muscle is, here it is (in the middle)

how to do pinwheel curls

You already involve this muscle when training your arms, especially with movements like EZ bar curls. However, I recently started adding 2-3 sets of pinwheel curls to specifically target the brachialis at the end of my arm workout.

Pinwheel Curls Vs Hammer Curls

I personally prefer pinwheel curls over hammer curls. I just can’t feel much of anything with hammer curls. The difference is that with pinwheel curls the weight moves along the oblique plane, whereas hammer curls move along the sagittal plane (the video will show this). Basically you won’t be raising the weight out in front of the body as you do with hammer curls.

As with some other exercises, the form I recommend is a little different as you’ll see. This is an example of a movement where a full range of motion is not desirable. Check it out…

How To Do Pinwheel Curls



  • So the dumbbell is moving across the body, not out in front of it. Your palms facing in towards the body.
  • I prefer to do these one arm at a time, although many recommend using an alternating method (left, right, left, right). The problem with that is that you should be using fairly light weights for pinwheel curls. Alternating between arms, and giving each arm a rest, means the set lasts forever before reaching positive failure.
  • Raise and lower the dumbbell quite slowly under full muscular control.
  • The bottom of the movement is NOT when the arm is fully extended. I’m stopping about 45 degrees up from full extension to involve the brachialis throughout the range of motion. That bottom section will only fatigue the biceps and forearms. Really target the brachialis by employing this partial range of motion.
  • Use a low weight and high rep range for this movement. Even 14-16 reps to failure is not too high.
  • Only do pinwheel curls AFTER you’ve finished your other arm work. So if you have a dedicated triceps and biceps day, throw in 2-3 sets of pinwheel curls at the end. You don’t want to fatigue those larger muscles for the sake of this small one.
  • If you have any trouble feeling these work the brachialis, try gripping the dumbbell tightly throughout the whole set.


Test the form I’ve recommended here and let me know how you get on.


Train With Intensity!


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Mark McManus
Mark McManus
Mark is now available for 1-on-1 consultations to help you take your results to the next level. Click here for more details.
Mark McManus is a trainer & author from Ireland. His work has been featured in major publications all over the world. He is the creator of the free growth-promoting workout Targeted Hypertrophy Training' (THT) and author of the NEW fat-torching system Total Six Pack Abs.
He has also created the BREAKTHROUGH arm and chest maximizer programs The Arms Blast' and 'Chest Blast' workouts.
And if you're a fan of delicious high-protein recipes to fuel your muscle growth, check out his cook book 'Buff Baking' here.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Adam Weichel February 19, 2013, 11:14 am

    I see a new addition to the end of biceps on Chest / Biceps / Abs day! Thanks brother!

  • Mark McManus February 19, 2013, 11:27 am

    My pleasure, Adam.

  • BIG MIKE February 19, 2013, 11:52 am

    I’d started this one with good effect over the past 2 months. Also, seated cable tricep extensions with the V-shaped attachment enables a great tricep stretch and maximum stability (as you’re seated when lifting)- maybe a new exercise to consider for THT.

  • Tomammy Tukote February 19, 2013, 2:38 pm

    I have an injury preventing me from doing anything standing or seated. I do chin-ups for my biceps instead. Would a pronated-grip chin-up sufficiently stimulate the brachialis?

  • Bill February 19, 2013, 3:38 pm

    Just did bi’s and tri’s yesterday but I will add this next time.

  • John A Davis February 19, 2013, 4:12 pm

    haha! I’ve been doing this exercise. I call it “cross chest” in my logs. Friend at work who does shows says it really makes the biceps full.
    great minds travel in the same slot!

  • Muhammad Fawaz February 19, 2013, 6:01 pm

    @BIG_MIKE seated? So you gotta spread your legs wide and pull the attachment down between them? Could you describe it a lil more?

    And as usual, Mark has a monster of a body. Hope to reach that level too in time!

  • Caleb February 19, 2013, 6:14 pm

    Hey Mark, love the pinwheels. Always thought I was doing cross body hammer curls. I hate twitter and Facebook so I just wanna use this to say I love THT and I love you.(in a bro way) keep kickin my ass.

  • Dai February 19, 2013, 10:43 pm

    Just out of curiosity Mark what is th emake of your Smith machine?

  • krs February 19, 2013, 10:47 pm

    Mark would two sets as a finisher to the added to arm day on the JnR Workout workout be ok or would it be over kill?

  • Jay February 20, 2013, 2:11 am

    Finished my bicep workout with these today. I definitely got a different pump and feeling than regular hammers or any other for that matter.
    Thanks Mark!

  • Mark McManus February 20, 2013, 9:04 am

    @Tomammy. It would be a neutral grip pull up that would work best here.
    @Muhammad @Caleb Thanks :)

  • Mark McManus February 20, 2013, 9:06 am

    @Dai. It’s by Marcy.
    @KRS. No, these are pretty light sets so it would be overkill.

  • Mark McManus February 20, 2013, 9:06 am

    @Jay. Glad it helped.

  • siya February 20, 2013, 7:48 pm

    tried da pinwheel curls for my arms workout 2day n i must say it was epic, thanks a lot
    Mark for all ur advise

  • sizwe February 20, 2013, 9:00 pm

    Where do i download the video for pinwheel?

  • siya February 21, 2013, 5:04 am

    U can watch it on u tube Sizwe