The wrists aren't exactly at the top of the list of muscles people think of when they want to show off - usually these are the biceps, pecs, abs, etc. But they shouldn't be overlooked: strong wrists can provide a huge advantage in working with your hands, sports and in everyday life. Plus, there's something "exceptionally" satisfying about being able to look another person in the eye and shake a firm, confident hand! Start training today to build the necessary strength in your wrists and forearms to do these important activities.
Method 1 of 3: Strengthen your wrists at the gym
Step 1. Do wrist curls as a good "basic" exercise
Wrist curls are one of the most important exercises for the wrist and forearm. You need a dumbbell for this (you can also use a barbell to train both hands at the same time).
- Sit on a bench or on a biceps curl rack. Hold your dumbbell with the palm up. Curl the dumbbell up to your wrist using only your forearm as far as you can and without bending your elbow. Lower the dumbbell again and repeat the movement. Repeat for both arms.
Do 3 sets of 15 reps or until you are tired enough. Unless otherwise noted, these set recommendations apply to all exercises in this article.
Step 2. Use reverse wrist curls to work the other side of your wrists
Reverse wrist curls are just what they sound like - normal wrist curls but reversed. These are great to do right after a few sets of regular wrist curls to make sure you're working all the muscles on your wrist.
Sit on a bench. Rest one forearm on your thigh so that your hand extends beyond your knee. Grab a dumbbell and hold it so that your palm hangs down. Let the barbell hang limp in your hand, then, using only your wrist, pull the weight up until it's level with the rest of your arm. Lower the barbell again and repeat the movement. Repeat for both arms
Step 3. Try wrist rolls as a challenge
These exercises may look a bit unusual, but if you can handle them, they are particularly effective at strengthening your wrists. For this exercise you will need a sturdy stick or bar (a broomstick or a dumbbell with no weight). Tie a modest weight (2.5 to 5 pounds) to the end of a sturdy rope and tie the other end to the center of the bar or stick.
- Hold the bar in front of you and let the weight hang from the rope. Your palms should be facing down. Start twisting the bar with your arms - the rope should now wrap around the bar, pulling the weight upward. Stop when the weight touches the stick/bar, then gently lower it back to the floor below. Do not lower your arms during the exercise and do not stop until you are done.
- Repeat this 3-5 times or until you are tired enough.
Step 4. Try two-hand pinches
This challenging exercise uses heavy barbell weights, making it a good choice for those who are already strong and want to take the strength in their wrists and forearms to the next level. Since these weights can cause serious injury if dropped, you may want to stick with the exercises above if you're not an experienced gym goer yet.
- Place two barbell weights of the same size on the floor in front of you so that you are facing the wide edge of them and they are touching. Grab both plates at the same time at the top - your fingers should be on one side of the discs and your thumbs on the other. Lift the weights off the floor and hold them in front of your hips, as if you were doing a deadlift. Squeeze the weights together to prevent them from slipping. Hold for 30 seconds (or as long as you can), then put the weights back down.
- Repeat for 3-5 sets or until you are tired enough.
- Stand with your legs apart while doing this exercise. If your feet are together, they are more likely to get hit by the weights if they slip out of your hands.
Step 5. Use grip engagement exercises to indirectly strengthen your wrists
Many fitness exercises that do not directly target the wrists still rely on the grip strength of your hands and thus indirectly also train the forearm and wrist muscles. If you're serious about improving wrist strength, try incorporating some of the following exercises into your training schedule to help train your wrists more often throughout the week. Below is a list of exercises that use the strength in your forearm and wrist for support - there are many more (as you can see they all involve gripping a bar or a handle to move a weight).
- pull ups
- chin ups
- Bicep curls
- Seated rowing
- lat pull downs
- bench press
- chest flies
- Shoulder presses.
Step 6. Don't forget to stretch the wrists as well to make them more flexible
Like the other muscles you train in the gym, your wrists need stretching exercises to stay flexible and in top condition, week after week. In addition, stretching the wrists regularly is one way to avoid painful physical problems, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, that can develop over the course of a lifetime. Below are some recommended stretching exercises for the wrists:
- Prayer stretches: Start with your palms together in front of your chest. Slowly lower your hands (holding your palms together) until both forearms form a straight line. This should look something like you're praying and you should feel the light tug on your forearms. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and repeat several times for best results.
- Wrist flexor stretch: Extend one arm in front of you with the palm up. Point your hand at the floor by bending from the wrist - don't twist your arm. Apply light pressure with your other hand until you feel a slight stretch. Hold this for 30 seconds and then switch hands.
Wrist extensor stretch: Stretch one of your arms out in front of you with the palm facing downstairs.
Point your hand at the floor by bending from your wrist. Apply light pressure with your other hand until you feel a slight stretch. Hold this for 30 seconds and then switch hands.
Method 2 of 3: Strengthen your wrists at home
Step 1. Use both hands for one-handed tasks
In most people, the wrist of the dominant hand is noticeably stronger than the wrist of the non-dominant hand. if you make an effort to use your non-dominant hand for common tasks, you'll be amazed at how difficult that can be! Stick with it - over time your weaker wrist will get stronger and the tasks easier. Below is a short list of tasks you can start using the "idle" hand for.
- Your computer mouse/touchpad
Step 2. Squeeze a stress ball or hand squeezer
You may have seen these hand-training devices in the gym, high-stress areas (such as an office environment) etc. Although they come in many different shapes and sizes, the basic idea behind them is the same for all - keep the thing inside you. hand, squeeze it firmly but constantly, relax your grip and repeat. That's all there is to it!
These are great if you have one hand free. For example, it's not difficult to exercise your wrists while on the phone or reading a book
Step 3. Try a golf drill for your wrists
Thinking about hitting the golf course in the near future? Dust off your golf clubs for this exercise, which is great for increasing wrist strength and range of motion. You can also use any type of object long and light enough to move with one hand (such as a broom).
- Stand with one arm at your side and hold a golf club by the handle. Using only your wrist, slowly point the club toward the sky, then back down. Repeat until you feel a good "burn" in your forearm.
- To make it extra challenging you can start with a light club and then work your way up to the heavier one.
Step 4. Make circles with your wrists
These minimal resistance exercises are great for short breaks at work or in those situations where you can't do other more complex exercises (like on an airplane). They're also used in physical therapy, but don't let that stop you if you're perfectly healthy, as spinning circles with your wrists can be an excellent relaxation exercise if you're feeling a little "tense".
Stand or sit with your hands in front of you and palms down. Rotate your wrists in a slow, circular motion to the left and then back to the right. You may want to clench and relax your fists during the movement as an additional form of movement. Once you've cleared up any problems, turn your hands around and do the exercise again
Step 5. Try working with resistance bands
Resistance bands are long, elastic strips of rubbery material and are often used for physical therapy, but are also great for building strength even when you're not recovering from an injury. You'll need a sturdy resistance band for these exercises - they're usually available at sporting goods stores, but who knows, you might be able to get them from physical therapy treatment centers as well. Below are two resistance band exercises for your wrists that you could try:
- Wrist Bending: Wrap the resistance band around the fingers of one hand, then stand with your arm at your side, your elbow bent at a 90-degree angle, and your palm facing up in front of you. Place the other end of the resistance band under your foot or fasten it to the floor. Lift your wrist up as far as you can, then lower your hand and relax again. Repeat. Keep your forearm in the same position during this exercise. Note that this exercise is very similar to the wrist curl described above.
- Wrist extension: Identical to wrist flexion, except your palm is facing down. This exercise is very similar to a standing wrist curl.
Step 6. Try the rice bucket workout
This unusual exercise doesn't have much in common with the rest of the list, but it's easy to prepare and perform and is quite an effective way to strengthen the wrists and forearms. Even some baseball teams recommend this exercise to their players as a way to develop wrist strength. All you need for this exercise is a bucket wide and deep enough that two hands can easily fit in it without touching, and enough rice to bury your hands in it.
- Start by pouring rice into the bucket. Put your hands in the rice up to the wrists. Then make the following movements with your hands and keep repeating this until you feel the burn - the resistance of the rice pushed in all directions by your hands will train your wrists in an amazingly effective way.
- Ball your fists and twist them in circles, back and forth.
- Open your hands and twist them in circles.
- Open and close your hands in the rice.
- Move your hands up and down.
- Rotate your wrists toward you with the palms facing you.
- Turn your wrists towards you with the palms away from you.
Method 3 of 3: Performing advanced drills and grips
Step 1. Modify your normal pull-up grip by keeping your thumbs under the bar and your wrists bent forward
In fact, you want the palm of your hand to be directly under the bar. This will make your pull-ups much heavier, but they will target your wrists more.
This requires a tremendous amount of forearm strength to pull off – these exercises are for further training, not beginners
Step 2. Try a "flexus" pull-up by placing your hands on the top of a higher bar, touching only with your fingertips and the heel of your hand
Incredibly difficult but worth it. This pull-up variation asks you to wrap your hands around the top of a bar so that all of your stabilization has to come through the wrist. Start with 1-2 and build up to full sets of 8-10.
Step 3. Hold the pull-up position, instead of moving up and down, to build strength
Take your position and hold it, aiming for 45 seconds to a minute at a time. Rest a little longer than you worked (if you've held for 45 seconds, rest for a minute or so), then repeat two more times. Any exercise that requires you to keep your wrists in place while fighting tension will strengthen your wrists. To make it even harder:
- Pull the lower half of your torso up so that it is parallel to the ground.
- Use the handle explained above.
Step 4. Consider using ball grips for pull-ups
These will act on your wrists in multiple ways, which is key to avoiding targeting specific muscles only. They hang from the pull-up bar to provide tricky, rounded grips that significantly amplify strength in the forearm, fingers and wrists.
You can also use hanging rock holds, which are used to help train mountaineers. They can already be found in many sports centers, even if they do not have a wall
Step 5. Do forearm pushups against a wall
Stand 1.5 to 1.8 meters from a wall, leaning against it so that your hands support you. You will now stand diagonally against the wall. Print your fingers so that the mouse of your hand lifts off the wall. Then slowly lower them back down and repeat. Repeat 15-20 times.
Move further and further away from the wall to increase the challenge
Step 6. Try wrist pushups
This will hurt if you're not trained, so start on your hands and knees before moving on to a plank position for your pushups. Instead of placing your hands palms on the floor as usual, bend your hands toward your feet and rest on the backs of your hands. Do the pushups as normal.
Try them with the outer sides of your hands as well. Can you "walk" forward on your feet and the sides of your hands?
Step 7. Try knuckle pushups
You can also do it by resting on your knuckles, with your hands in a fist. This is often a good middle ground to strengthen your wrists, although you need to strengthen your knuckles first or it will hurt a lot. Try this first on soft surfaces, such as carpet or exercise mats.
Step 8. Do handstands on firm ground and on two beams
These postures put a lot of pressure on your wrists, and if you can't keep them stable and strong, you won't be able to hold yourself up. Don't worry if you can't do a full handstand yet - you can rest your feet against a wall to keep your balance without compromising wrist training too much.
Really ready to test yourself? Try a push-up handstand. Just bend your elbows out to slowly lower yourself to the floor a little, then push yourself back up to a full handstand. This is much easier if you use the wall as a support
- Push-ups train your entire upper body, including your wrists.
- Lightly punch a heavy bag, but very often.
- Use two dumbbells at the same time or a barbell to speed up your workout.
- Hire a personal trainer to help you strengthen your wrists or other parts of your body. They can give you helpful tips on how to get stronger faster.
- Start each exercise with a light weight to avoid injury.
- Drummers are known for having strong wrists and hands. You don't have to buy a drum kit, but tapping something with a pencil or drum stick can help a lot.
- Find a personal trainer who can assist you in strengthening your wrists. They can tell you helpful secrets on how to get stronger quickly.
- Don't overdo it with your workout.
- Do you feel pain or irritation, don't force anything. You can seriously injure yourself – not specifically to your wrists, but this is true of any exercise.
- Do not increase the weight too quickly! You can injure yourself as a result.