Stop Doing Wrist Curls And Do This Instead – “I yam what I yam!” This is a direct quote, LOL, from the forearm king himself, Popeye the Sailor. Now while Popeye’s forearms are the stuff of legend, relying solely one wrist curls and other traditional forearm exercises isn’t the best way to achieve success in that area.
Forearm training is often overlooked by weightlifters, yet it plays a crucial role in achieving a well-rounded and proportionate physique. However, relying solely on wrist curls for forearm training is not an effective or efficient approach. Despite the popularity of wrist curls in weightlifting, there are plenty of better options for forearm training that will lead to greater results.
Wrist curls are often seen as the go-to exercise for forearm training, especially for those who are new to weightlifting. However, these exercises are not as beneficial as they may seem. They only train one dimension of the forearm, the flexion, and fail to work the other muscles in the forearm. This can lead to a lack of stability and strength in other positions and can even cause issues such as tendonitis in the long run.
More Reading: 5 KettleBell Exercises Older Adults NEED
Additionally, wrist curls reinforce bad form during biceps curls. When you do a wrist curl, you reinforce wrist flexion, which is bad practice for your standard curls, as you’ll take the focus off the target muscle. This means that your standard arm-day routine plays a more significant role in developing your forearms than what the one-dimensional wrist curl provides.
Another issue with wrist curls is that they fail to adequately load the forearms. Forearms can, and should, be able to take on a heavier amount of weight from time to time to challenge both your forearms and grip strength in a much more effective way.
Wrist curls are overrated and should be avoided as the sole means of forearm training. Instead, focus on exercises that work all dimensions of the forearm, such as extension and stabilization, and also challenge your forearms and grip strength with heavier weights. With a well-rounded approach to forearm training, you can achieve the Popeye-like forearms you’ve always wanted.
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’re creating a ton of forearm work to go along with your normal biceps training. Two curls in particular—the hammer curl and EZ-bar reverse curl— hit those areas of your forearms most neglected by wrist curls. So grip “with intent” during your next biceps session (and every workout after).
“Your forearm is working at different points throughout the curl,” Samuel says. “It has to essentially correct and make sure it maintains that neutral position. That can be a lot more work for your forearm and it’s gonna give you a good forearm pump as you’re pumping your biceps, your brachialis, or whatever you’re working.”
Bottoms-Up Clean and Twist
3 sets of 6 to 8 reps
Not only will this kettlebell move require you to focus on forearm strength, you’ll also be working on increasing shoulder stability. You won’t necessarily be able to load as heavy a as some other movements, but it’s still well worth your while. By holding the kettlebell in an upside-down position, the wobbling of the weight is going to force your wrist to maintain a vertical position to keep the bell upright. This will require plenty of forearm power to achieve. The twist from this position is going to add an additional piece of dynamic and fun forearm challenge that you don’t get from curls.
3 sets of 40 second walks (or holds)
Anyone who ends their conditioning with a few sets of this exercise knows that the first thing that gives out is usually your grip, which makes this move a must for forearms training. Best of all, farmers walks can be done with almost any piece of equipment—barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, trap bar, you name it. Just load, lift, grip, then move (or simply march in place or stand and hold as an alternative) as far as you can for a set amount of time or distance—or till you cant hold anymore.
I’m always about “does this transfer over to anything in life?”, and there’s so many things in life that that carries will translate into, and it’s just going to help you in the long run. Also, try the exercise with only ONE SIDE loaded (only one weight) for an exceptional core workout as well.
Stop Doing Wrist Curls And Do This Instead
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