All the an arm Today’s sessions In the world it wouldn’t mean anything if you were still walking around with toothpick-sized forearms to match your overgrown repeats and tresses. If you ignore Forearm trainingAnd, rest assured, it doesn’t have to require long sessions to get like Popeye – effectiveness and efficiency should be your goal. But if you rely on just one exercise, the wrist curl, to train your forearm, you’re missing out on both.
Before most guys learned any better, most weight room veterans looked to only wrist curls (and their endless and largely useless variations) as their only means of forearm training. Little did they know that all those combos holding a barbell behind their back or on the edge of a bench and bending their wrists did little to significantly benefit their forearms—no matter how burning they felt.
Today, some of us won’t give up on wrist curls, although there are plenty of better options than this old-school time-waster. According to the fitness director of Men’s Health Ebenezer Samuel, CSCSAnd the coach Matthew Forzaglia, NFPT, CPT, Founder of Forzag Fitness.
“Back in the day we started out with no education at all, [wrist curls] Forzalia says. “We’d go through the exercise—behind back wrist curls, arms on the bench, wrist curls—but in fact, we’re only training one dimension of the forearm, and when we go to translate that into something else or a situation toward everyday life or training, we’re not really strong in any. Another mode but a wrist wrap.”
Why are wrist curls overrated? For many reasons, including:
Why you should skip wrist curls
Wrist curls are trained as bad curls
Whether you realize it or not, a regular arm day routine plays a much more important role in developing the forearms than a one-dimensional wrist wrap does. Standard bicep curls—dumbbell curls, barbell curls, almost any type of curl—work best with your wrists still in each set from the neutral position. When you do a wrist flexion, you are enhancing wrist flexion. This is bad practice for standard barbell curls, as it will take the focus off the target muscle.
Practice only wrist flexion
Why are wrist curls one-dimensional? There is more to forearm training than just flexion. You also need to focus on extending and stabilizing the forearm, which you can get from a host of other exercises. Simply sticking with wrist braids and failing to adequately work other forearm muscles can be a potential recipe for tendinitis or other long-term tendon-related issues, says Samuel.
You can load your forearms much more
Sure, slapping some planks on a barbell and starting to flex our wrists for a dozen reps might sound like heavy lifting to some. But the reality of training is that your forearms can — and should — take on a heavier weight from time to time to challenge both your arms and your grip strength in a more efficient way.
3 alternative exercises to train your forearms
Biceps and hammer curls
3 sets of 10 to 12 reps
Yes, curls do more than just blow up your biceps. By maintaining a strong, firm, and neutral grip with each curl rep, you create plenty of forearm work to go along with your normal biceps training. Two curls in particular – Hammer knot And EZ tape reverse wrap– Hit those areas of the forearms most neglected with wrist curls. So hold “with intent” during your next biceps session (and every exercise after that).
“Work your forearm at various points throughout the curl,” says Samuel. “He basically has to correct and make sure he maintains that neutral position. This can be a lot of work for your forearm and will give you a good forearm pump while you’re pumping your biceps or biceps or whatever you’re working.”
Bottom cleaning and winding
3 sets of 6 to 8 reps
Not only will this kettlebell move require you to focus on forearm strength, but it will also increase shoulder stability. You won’t necessarily be able to load as heavy as some of the other moves, but it’s still worth your time. By holding the bell upside down, the oscillation of the weight will force your wrist to maintain a vertical position to keep the bell upright. This will require a lot of forearm strength to achieve. The twist from this position will add an extra piece of dynamic and fun forearm challenge that you don’t get from curls.
3 sets of 40-second walks (or holds)
Anyone who finishes their conditioning with a few sets of this exercise knows that the first thing that comes out is usually your fists, making this movement essential for training your forearms. Best of all, farmers outings can be done with almost any piece of equipment—barbells, dumbbells, jugs, a trap rod, you name it. Simply load, lift, grab, and then move (or simply walk in place or alternatively stand and hold) as far as you can for a set amount of time or distance – or until you can no longer hold.
“I’m always in the process of translating this into anything in life,” says Forzaglia. “And there are a lot of things in life that you carry that will translate to, and that will only help you in the long run.”
Jeff Tomko is a freelance fitness writer who has written for Muscle & Fitness, Men’s Fitness, and Men’s Health.