Wrist Curls are an important isolation exercise, so why are they often ignored?
The truth is, there’s not much excitement around building up wrist strength. After all, your hard work isn’t visible like it is with six-pack abs or boulder shoulders. Still, this exercise is important for wrist strength, flexibility, grip strength and forearm strength, all of which serve us well in our everyday lives.
The Wrist Curl In Brief
This strength training exercise is used specifically to develop strong wrist muscles called wrist flexors. Also known as the Dumbbell Wrist Curl, it should ideally be done alongside Reverse Wrist Curls in order to ensure balance in the development of the opposing wrist muscles: flexors and extensors.
History Of This Exercise
Wrist Curls have been used in martial arts for decades because they assist with punching power and also with grappling strength. As a functional exercise, they are also popular for wrist rehabilitation after injury. Since 2015, they have seen increased popularity in gyms, though they still remain an often-ignored strength training exercise.
What Type Of Exercise Is A Wrist Curl?
The Wrist Curl is an intense, targeted isolation exercise, meaning it trains just one muscle. It requires the use of dumbbells or, alternatively, a barbell and is usually performed in a seated position.
Preparation For The Exercise
Select a dumbbell weight that is comfortable for you, and that won’t cause too much muscle fatigue. A good rule is to start with 70 percent of your single-repetition maximum. (You can always add more weight as your fitness level progresses.)
How To Perform A Wrist Curl
Here’s how to master a simple movement that brings multiple fitness benefits:
- Sit on the edge of a bench or flat chair with your feet flat to the floor and your legs shoulder-width apart.
- Grip the dumbbells and rest your forearms on your thighs with palms facing upward and hands out over the edges of your knees. (You can also rest your arms against sturdy chair arms in the same posture.)
- Holding the dumbbells, bend at the wrist and slowly lift the weights up and down. You may do one arm at a time, or both together.
- Try to perform 10-15 repetitions, though you should never over-strain your muscles as you are learning a new strength training movement.
Understanding The Benefits Of The Wrist Curl
This exercise is designed to benefit the wrist muscles, specifically making them stronger and more flexible. Wrist Curls also impact wrist joint health and mobility. However, Wrist Curls offer additional benefits that are lesser-known, as well:
- Forearm strength
- Hand strength
- Grip strength
Variations And Modifications Of This Exercise
While the Wrist Curl is traditionally done with a dumbbell in either hand, a modified version features use of a barbell instead. Additionally, practitioners may choose overhand grip or underhand grip.
Other popular Wrist Curl variations include:
- Reverse Wrist Curl
- Behind the Back Wrist Curl
- Standing Wrist Curl
If you’re guilty of ignoring Wrist Curls in your fitness regimen, you’re not alone. However, remembering to add this basic exercise into your routine will provide both functional fitness and strength training benefits over the long-term.