Do Serious Lifters Do Wrist Curls?

band wrist curls matt
July 5, 2023 0 Comments

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In this article I will be answering the question “do serious lifters do wrist curls?”. This is an interesting question as many people believe that wrist curls are an unnecessary exercise.

However, they are important when it comes to strengthening the wrist. This article will shed more light on this topic and will be informative. Many people may be surprised when it comes to the utility of wrist curls.

Do Serious Lifters Do Wrist Curls?

Many serious lifters do perform wrist curls regularly in their training. Not only are wrist curls good at strengthening the wrist, they also pump a lot of blood into the forearms and induce growth.

Having stronger wrists is critical in big compound movements like the bench press and squat. You have more control of the bar when doing heavy bench presses and will be stronger overall.

Not all serious lifters do wrist curls however. Some shy away from too much isolation work and instead focus all their efforts on heavy compound movements instead.

This approach is perfectly fine, however as your grip strength increases your wrist strength also needs to increase in line. Otherwise your wrists are more susceptible to injuries.

Lifters who are not as interested in grip training or grip feats will be less likely on the whole to perform regular wrist curls in their training.

band wrist curls matt

Wrist Curls Are An Isolation Exercise

Wrist curls are an isolation exercise that strengthens the wrist and can build up the forearms. The forearm flexors in particular are heavily recruited with the wrist curl.

You can perform wrist curls with dumbbells, resistance bands, barbells or cables. Personally, nowadays I prefer doing resistance bands using the straight bar attachment on the cable stack.

I find this to be very convenient as you can change the weight increments quickly and easily. I find that I get a great pump performing wrist curls with cables. I typically perform high reps and get a great pump.

Over time you can increase the weight slowly. I like to do two sets of 20 and progress from there. Let’s say that I do 45kg on the stack for two sets of 20 on the wrist curl. The following week I will aim for two sets of 22 reps.

I will keep going in this way until I hit two sets of 24 reps with a given weight. Then I will increase the weight slightly the following workout and build back up from 20 reps.

Stronger Wrists And Forearms Help When Lifting

Having stronger wrists and forearms will help you when you are lifting weights. You will have more control of the weight and be stronger overall.

Serious lifters do generally take grip strength seriously. They may not be extreme grip strength enthusiasts, but they are aware that deficiencies in grip can hinder them in certain activities.

There is a strong grip component when it comes to the deadlift. A strong grip will allow you to hold onto more weight. Some people experience grip issues on the deadlift and use straps as a crutch when the weight gets heavy.

Wrist curls will improve your forearm size and allow you to have more control over weights when lifting. Matt Wenning does regular wrist curls with bands and credits these as helping  him have a lot more control over his bench presses.

Grip Strength And Wrist Strength Should Increase Together

Exercises that work crushing strength and training with fat bars will improve grip strength. Deadlifting heavy regularly without straps will also improve your grip strength specific to the deadlift.

If your grip gets too strong but your wrist strength doesn’t increase in proportion, you are more susceptible to suffering a wrist injury.

Therefore, from an injury prevention standpoint it is crucial to increase your wrist strength as your grip strength goes up. You will also find that as you get stronger on wrist curls, you will be more powerful on the crushing movements as well. 

It is important to do these small isolation movements for the hands, wrists and forearms. They will help to keep you healthier and help you with your lifting as well. 

Some Serious Lifters Minimise Isolation Work

Some serious lifters focus very heavily on big compound movements. They don’t do as much isolation work as a lot of other lifters.

There are pros and cons to this. In terms of time efficiency, focusing on just heavy compounds will save you a lot of time and give you the best return.

However, isolation exercises also play an important part when it comes to addressing muscle imbalances and bringing up weak areas.

The forearms respond well to high frequency of training. It is incredibly difficult to over-train your forearms. Therefore, spending a bit of time doing some isolation work for the wrists and forearms is worth it.

It will take a bit of time but it will also provide a high return. Your lifting as a whole will benefit and your forearms will become more jacked. After all, your hands are the contact point when lifting.

Previously I have discussed whether weighted hangs can make your forearms grow.

Training Priorities

Every lifter has different training priorities. Some lifters may want to focus heavily on improving their deadlift. They will train the deadlift diligently along with other deadlift specific assistance exercises.

For many lifters, grip strength is not as big a priority as it should be. This is unfortunate, I believe that every lifter should take grip strength seriously. Having bigger and stronger forearms will aid you in your lifting as a whole as well as make you more aesthetic.

Nothing screams power more than big and muscular forearms. Traps and neck also enhance a physique, but big forearms demonstrate a powerful body.

As such, doing the smaller isolation exercises like wrist curls and extensions are important. You can choose how you perform them and what piece of equipment you use. But I believe that everyone should spend a little time training these exercises.

Final Thoughts

Do serious lifters do wrist curls? Many serious lifters do perform wrist curls regularly, however not all do. Wrist curls are a beneficial movement as they will pump a lot of blood into your forearms.

As you get stronger on wrist curls, your wrists will get stronger and this will transfer to your lifting. You will have more control over weights and be a lot more stable with the bar in your hands.

As your grip strength improves, it is important that your wrist strength improves proportionally. This will mitigate the risk of wrist injuries down the line. Unfortunately, some serious lifters don’t do many isolation exercises at all.

If you have any comments about wrist curls and their place when lifting, please leave them below.

As always, stay safe and enjoy your training!

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