When I first started with my current workout partner, she thought it was crazy that I made her do wrist curls. No matter how many times I explained it, she thought it was a waste of time to work our forearms. A couple of months later, she found out why I insisted.
The majority of exercises out there involves using your hands to hold on to resistance. The strength in your hands comes from your forearms. When you first start out in an exercise program, the weights aren’t that heavy. However, once you get some muscle on you and start lifting heavier weights, you realize that your forearms will be a limiting muscle. For instance, your back can handle a lot more weight than your hands can hold onto. So, what do you do? You can wear wrist straps and wrap the strap to the bar holding the weight. Or you can work out your forearms!
Muscles of the Forearm
There are a bunch of muscles in your forearms. This makes sense, if you think about it, because these muscles control fine motor movements in your hands. Your wrists and fingers can move in all kinds of directions, while your legs at the knee joint, for instance, only move forwards and backwards. Flexor muscles flex your wrist toward your forearm and extensor muscles extend your muscles back to the straight position. Two of the biggest flexor muscles in the anterior forearm are the brachioradialis and the flexor carpi radialis muscles. The brachioradialis is usually worked when you do bicep exercises because it’s an elbow flexor muscle. The flexor carpi radialis flexes your hand at the wrist joint. There’s really no gym lingo for your forearm muscles because there are so many muscles. I mean, no one says… I’m going to work my flexor carpi radialis today!
How To Do A Wrist Curl
While you can do this exercise with an exercise band, barbell or even cables, I like doing these with dumbbells or something that I can hold in my hand. Sit on a bench or chair and rest your forearm on your thigh or the bench with your palms upwards. Drop your wrist down and let the weight roll down to the ends of your fingers. (Don’t drop the weight!) Then roll the weight back up to your palm and curl your wrist up. That’s one rep. Do 10 reps with one hand, then switch and work the other hand. Easy, right?
This really is an easy exercise and one that’s difficult to do incorrectly. I think what I do that some people don’t is to let the weight roll down my fingers. They hold on to the weight tightly in their palms. The muscles in your fingers ARE in your forearms. The summation of the strengths of all these muscles will be more than ignoring some.
For this exercise, don’t be afraid to use as much weight as you can do for 10 reps. As I mentioned earlier, you’re going to need strength in your forearms to hold onto weights, so really push yourself to develop the muscles in your forearms. You’ll thank me later!
To watch a video of this exercise, click here. Bodybuilding.com has a lot of great exercise videos.
Until next time, remember that… there are no excuses when it comes to your health!