How to Do a Wrist Curl

Wrist curls are an isolation exercise that are well suited to beginners as well as advanced weight lifters. The exercise focuses on the somewhat overlooked forearm muscles and wrists. The seated nature of the exercise makes it accessible to a wider range of fitness enthusiasts as well.

Strengthening the forearms will help to increase the overall strength of your arms. Also, adding wrist curls to your workout routine can have the benefit of improving your grip strength. This comes in handy when performing daily activities such as carrying your groceries and other heavy loads.

How To

  • To perform a wrist curl, begin in a seated position on a bench or chair. Feet should be planted flat on the floor at about shoulder width apart.
  • Pick up the dumbbells and hold them using an underhand grip so that palms are facing up and pinkie fingers are facing toward each other. Place the backs of your forearms on your thighs and adjust the positioning so that your hands are hanging past your knees.
  • Check your posture and make sure you are not slouching. Try to hinge forward at the hips instead of rounding the back.
  • Starting with your hands in a lowered position, exhale as you slowly curl your wrists up.
  • To complete the motion, inhale as you slowly lower the weight back down. Start with just one hand at a time until you have the movement down.  


Try for 15 repetitions on each arm to begin with and then assess whether to complete a second set. Make sure to begin with lighter weights, especially if you are new to working your forearms.


Reverse wrist curls: Once you’ve mastered wrist curls, you may wish to increase the difficulty by trying reverse wrist curls. This is done by holding the weights using an overhand grip with palms facing down and thumbs toward each other. The motion is the same, but the focus becomes even more on the wrist and less on the forearm.

Barbell wrist curls: Dumbbells are generally better for beginners as they allow you to focus on one arm at a time. But once you are comfortable, you may wish to try using a barbell and working both wrists together.

Resistance band: For those who don’t have access to weight, you can easily use a resistance band. Take up the same seated position as you would when using weights, put the center of the band under your feet and take hold of the ends of the band in the same underhand grip. You may have to adjust where you are gripping the band to get the desired tension.

Cautionary Notes

Be careful not to lift too heavy in the beginning. Since the forearms and wrists are often overlooked, overloading them can easily lead to injury.

Avoid jerking or thrusting the weight upward. This should be a controlled, slow movement made only by the wrist. As always, speed tends to reduce form and create the potential for injury.

Keep your forearm glued to your thigh, bench, or armrest. Not supporting the forearms during the exercise takes the focus away from the wrist.

If you have a wrist injury or know that you have weak wrists, be very cautious performing this exercise. Consult with your doctor or fitness instructor if you want to introduce wrist curls into your workout routine.

More Exercises that will Strengthen Your Forearms

Wrist curl

More Wrist Curl Related Resources

Wrist Curl Strength Exercise | Go4Life
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Wrist Curl Video – Watch Proper Form, Get Tips & More | Muscle & Fitness
Dumbbell One Arm Seated Neutral Wrist Curl – Exercise Database | Jefit – Best Android and iPhone Workout, Fitness, Exercise and Bodybuilding App | Best Workout Tracking Software
Reverse Wrist Curl Video – Watch Proper Form, Get Tips & More | Muscle & Fitness

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