Are wrist curls bad? When it comes to building big forearms, wrist curls are the go-to exercise, but are they as effective as they should be?
The forearms, like the calves, are seemingly difficult to train and add significant size to. It is an arduous task to develop those suckers if you do not have Thor’s forelimb genetics. Another reason for decreased development of your forearms is that you are training them ineffectively and also with the wrong exercises.
The wrist extensors and wrist flexors are the two main muscle groups in the forearms. You can probably guess what each of these muscles’ primary function is based on their names:
Yes, the wrist curl is effective in building the forearms due to the primary functions involved that is – flexion and extension of the forearm muscles. However, the problem why the wrist curl is considered a bad exercise is because of the wrist joint.
It’s all in the wrist
The wrist joint serves as a limiting factor for the forearm muscles to be executed properly, the wrist joint gets fatigued before the forearm because of how small it is.
Our bodies are not modeled to do heavy resistance training by flexing or extending our wrists.. Therefore, the wrist is being put in a compromised position when performing wrist curls and this is a disaster for injury.
Other things that make wrist curls bad and risky?
Wrist curls are not necessarily a bad exercise. Even those who have been going to the gym for a long time make some of these fatal mistakes. That is why they are in pain.
- Bad form
We all know that wrist curls are an isolation exercise, the last thing you want to do is add weight by swinging your arms back and forth to engage other muscles.
Only use your forearms to control each rep. When using the wrist curl to lift a lot of weight, do not let your lower arms come off the bench, as this will defeat the purpose of this isolation exercise.
Only doing partial reps
Partial reps are a good way to spice up your workout but doing them for the wrong reasons especially when it comes to the forearms due to the short range of motion can hinder and slow down muscle growth due to the small range.
So, by shrinking it even further, you are removing potential muscle growth, and for what? What about some quick ego boosts? Hardly worth it if you ask me
Furthermore, partial reps get a bad rap in the weightlifting game whereby gym boys use it to try to put on a show , stacking huge amounts of weight and only going through a smaller range of motion than your forearms can realistically handle on their own which can lead to injuries.
If you do not treat this damage right away, it can lead to injury because the connective tissue in your lower arms is not strong enough to withstand the constant beating caused by ego lifting.
Using only barbells
Barbells are not necessarily bad. However, when compared to other pieces of equipment, they place more strain on the wrist joints. Ez Bar can help to mitigate this side effect to some extent.
However, if you want to avoid injuries for as long as possible, you should consider more dynamic training methods and equipment.
However, not having access to a dedicated forearm curl machine may be difficult. Nonetheless, because the bar is already in the proper position, these machines are excellent training facilities for getting a safe workout.
Not warming up
Forearm exercises are commonly performed at the end of an arm, back, or leg workout. This frequently gives them the impression that they do not need to warm up. While the forearms are active during back and bicep training, you must become accustomed to the specific lifting motion that is unique to the forearm curl.
Also, avoid training too close to failure because you obviously want your muscles to be in good shape for your working set.
Always strive to improve by add weight slowly to the bar or increase the reps but you should not force it. If your form dwindles as you move the weight, you are probably not ready to increase the resistance just yet.
Remember that you can achieve progressive overload by performing more sets and reps. That is what I do the majority of the time because I know the forearms, particularly the extensors, have limited growth and power capacity when compared to other major muscle groups.
Using low reps
Because we use our lower arms all the time in our daily lives, the muscles naturally slow twitch. As a result, they react best to high rep.
However, because the ROM of fast-twitch muscle fibers is so small, you should still use higher reps. Furthermore, if you use fewer reps, you will not get enough time under tension to promote significant muscle growth.
So, most of the time, aim for sets of 10+ reps. You can even increase the number of reps to 20-30 to really work your forearms. After all, muscles, including the lower arms, respond primarily to tension.
Exercises For Forearms Strength
1) Pull-up Bar Hang
You should try to hold your grip for 30-60 seconds at a time with this exercise. If you can hold your body weight for more than 60 seconds. You can begin adding weight to your routine to maintain your strength and progress.
2) Pulldown Hold
Set your weight higher than you would for a lat pulldown, get into position, and hang in a pull-up-like position for 30-60 seconds. As you increase the weight, you will notice significant improvements in your grip and forearm size.
How can you make wrist curls safer?
First and foremost, follow proper guidelines. For many years, this alone can keep you injury-free and in the zone of muscle growth. Also, make sure to do a lot of reps. Due to the short range of motion involved, performing a high number of reps can give you a better pump.
Finally, do not try to gain weight too quickly. Adding reps, sets, and training close to muscle failure, an exercise that recruits additional motor units, will always help you gain more muscle.
Conclusion: Are wrist curls bad?
The bottom line is that you should stop doing wrist curls before getting braces if you want bigger forearms. Focus more on gripping exercises, which are excellent for stimulating the flexors and extensors and promoting big forearm growth.