Dumbbell Wrist Curl: Technique, Variations, Benefits

If you want to strengthen a specific muscle, you’ll have to work on it – even that’s your forearms. Building up the forearms is as crucial as strengthening your biceps and back. Because they will help you lift and press more. You can build muscular forearms with dumbbell workouts, such as wrist curls. I’ve shared different variations of dumbbell wrist curl, their benefits, and alternatives in this article.

Forearms are located between the wrist and elbows.1 Anatomy, Shoulder and Upper Limb, Forearm Muscles – NCBI Journal They are responsible for multiple activities, such as pulling, lifting, and carrying the weight.

Strengthening forearms will increase your grip strength and capacity to do better in exercises like deadlift, pullups, and bench press.

The sturdy forearms will also make the entire arm look muscular and stunning.

You can grow your forearms with several dumbbell exercises, such as palms-up wrist curl, palms down wrist curl, and standing dumbbell wrist curls.

Dumbbell wrist curl has several variations that strengthen your wrist at different angles and help you forge forearms.

You can also save it: Complete Dumbbell Arms Workout

The Right Techniques to Perform Dumbbell Wrist Curl

Dumbbell Exercise for Forearms
Dumbbell Exercise for Forearms

Curling or twisting the wrist is an isolation movement, which means this exercise isolates the muscles where it is required.

Isolation exercises are different from compound movements that simultaneously work on the various muscles.

Isolation exercises help correct weakness and improve the strength of a specific muscle. For that reason, adding isolation workouts like wrist curl is crucial for reinforcing small muscles like forearms.

Doing exercises with the proper techniques always produces a better result and reduces the risk of injuries.

Here are some of the important ones you may need to keep in mind while doing dumbbell wrist curls.

1. Range of Motion

The twisting of the wrist requires a small range of motion.

Only your wrists move up and down during the movement. Therefore, you’ll need to control your excess forearm movements to perform each repetition correctly.

Doing rapidly can hurt your wrist and may cause injury.

2. Place Your Arms on a Stationary Object

To perform wrist curls effectively, place your forearms on a flat surface, such as a bench or on your thighs if you do seated curl.

Keeping your forearms on the flat surface will help you focus on your wrist so that you can feel the complete forearms contraction.

3. Breathe-In-Breathe-Out properly

Breathing in the right way and at the right time is an important part of any exercise. For example, to perform the dumbbell wrist curl efficiently, exhale as you curl your wrist upward and inhale as you return to the starting position.

If you hold your breath during the exercise, it will shift your attention from your forearm muscle to your breath. As a result, it can cause tension and strain and affect your blood pressure.

Dumbbell Wrist Curl Variations

If you have a pair of dumbbells, you can do several exercises for your forearms.

However, I’ve shared the five common variations that you may include in your biceps and triceps workout routine.

  1. Dumbbell Palms-up wrist curl
  2. Dumbbell reverse wrist curl
  3. One-arm Palm-up Wrist Curl
  4. One-Arm Palm-Down Wrist Curl
  5. Standing Dumbbell Wrist

Okay, let’s see how to do the above workouts with the step-by-step guide.

1. Dumbbell palms-up wrist curl

  1. Holding a pair of dumbbells with an overhand grip, sit on the corner of a flat bench.
  2. Keep both your feet on the floor, so your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  3. Hold the dumbells with an underhand grip and place your wrist on your knees with your palms facing up.
  4. Adjust your arms, so your wrists are hanging over the edge of your knees. That’s your starting position.
  5. Now curl your wrist up and down to engage the forearms.
  6. Keep your arms still when you twist your wrist.
  7. Do as many reps as you like.

2. Dumbbell reverse wrist curl or twist

  1. Sit on your knees on the floor (next to a flat bench) and grab a pair of dumbbells with an overhand grip.
  2. Place your arms, so your wrists are staying on the edge of that bench with your palms are facing down. That’s the start.
  3. To perform the movement, curl your wrist up as high as possible so you can feel the contraction in your forearms.
  4. Squeezing your forearms hold in that position for a couple of seconds, and then lower your wrist down.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of times.
  6. Recommend sets and reps- 3 x 8-10.

3. Seated Dumbbell One-Arm Wrist Curl

  1. Holding a pair of dumbbells with an overhand grip, sit on the corner of a flat bench.
  2. Keep your right foot flat on the ground and ensure your thigh is parallel to the ground.
  3. Place your arm on your thigh, so your wrist is hovering over the edge of your knee.
  4. Twisting your wrist, raise the dumbbell as high as possible (keeping your arms still).
  5. Squeeze your forearms for a couple of seconds and then slowly untwist your wrist.
  6. Make sure your forearms are well engaged throughout the movement.
  7. Keep your arms still when you twist your wrist.
  8. Do as many reps as possible. Then, repeat these steps with your opposite arm.
  9. Recommend sets and reps- 3 x 8-10.

4. Seated Single-arm Dumbbell Reverse Wrist Curl Rotation

  1. Sit on the corner of a bench or a chair with one dumbbell in your right hand.
  2. Keep your right foot firmly on the floor, so your thigh is parallel to the ground.
  3. Grip the dumbbell with an overhand grip and place your forearm on your quad so your wrist is drifting over the edge of your knee.
  4. Now twist your wrist up as high as possible, hold for a moment, then slowly lower it down. Make sure you feel the complete forearm contraction during the movement.
  5. Do as many reps as possible. Shoot for three sets of 10 to 15 reps.

5. Standing Dumbbell Wrist Curl

  1. Holding one dumbbell in each hand with a neutral grip, stand upright with your feet together.
  2. Let your arms hang straight at your sides with your palms are facing your body.
  3. Keeping your arms still, curl your wrist (try to bring the dumbbells as close as toward your wrist) so you can feel the full contraction in your forearm muscles.
  4. Squeezing your forearms hold in that position for a couple of seconds, and then lower your wrist down.
  5. Aim for various sets until you feel the pump in your forearms.

The Common Mistakes You Should Avoid During Wrist Curl

  • Don’t just rush. Do each rep slowly and in a controlled manner to prevent strain and injury.
  • Avoid unnecessary forearms movement. Keep in mind what muscles you’re working on; if you’re working on your back, focus on your back; in the same way, if you’re building your forearms, focus on your forearms. So only move your wrist up and down, not your entire arms.
  • Place your forearms properly on your knees or a bench so the work can be done where it needs to be done. Positioning your arms incorrectly will not engage the working muscle, and you may feel the work in other muscles of your arms.

Benefits of doing wrist curls with the dumbbells

  • Dumbbells are free to use. They allow a better range of motion and help you target the muscles you want. For example, if you want to strengthen your forearms specifically, a dumbbell can be super helpful equipment.
  • Dumbbells are adaptable and efficient. You can train your any muscles with dumbbells anywhere anytime.
  • Even if you’ve one dumbbell, you can strengthen your forearms with a couple of wrist curl exercises.

Benefits of Wrist Curls

The primary benefit of wrist curl is to strengthen forearms and wrists.

Sturdy forearms and wrists help you lift heavier weights in the deadlift, biceps curl, and bench press.2 Effect of 12 weeks of the wrist and forearm training on high school baseball players – Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research

Having strong wrists reduces the risk of injuries and pain that is likely to happen when you lift heavier loads during barbell bicep exercises.

Performing wrist curls frequently will also help you gain forearm mass over time.

Moreover, wrist curls enhance the grip strength that allows you to grab the bar and weight firmly so that you can do various exercises effectively.

How often should You do wrist curls?

Like other body parts, you can train your wrists once to twice a week. The best time to do wrist curls is just after your complete back and biceps workouts.

Although, your forearms also activate in multiple pull exercises, such as bicep curls, pullups, and reverse grip bent-over row.

Dumbbell Wrist Curl Alternatives

You can also gird your forearms with the barbell, gripper, and forearm curl machine.

Here are some of the best alternatives to dumbbell wrist curls

1) Forearm squeeze: You can use a spring gripper or a tennis ball to strengthen your forearms at home. To perform it, grab a gripper or tennis ball firmly in your hands and flex your fingers to squeeze them so you can feel the work in your forearms.

2) Barbell Wrist Curls: You can also use a barbell to do wrist curls. The barbell wrist curls work the same as the dumbbell curls and help you build up muscular forearms.

3) Machine Wrist Curl: The forearm curl machine is an excellent equipment that allows you to develop swole forearms. So if your gym has it, you must try that.

To perform wrist cur on the machine, set the desired weight, place your forearms on the pad and grab the bar with an underhand grip. Next, curl your wrist until your feel the full contraction in your forearms. And then, uncurl your wrist and repeat for the required number of times.

Final Words

Exercising the wrists and forearms is equally important as exercising the biceps, triceps, and other muscles. If you’re a beginner, perform wrist curls with the light dumbbells and then increase weights over time.

The above dumbbell exercises for forearms are pretty effective so that you can include them in your overall workout routine for stronger arms.


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Murshid Akram
I'm a certified personal trainer, fitness blogger, and nature lover. I always learn more about exercise science and human anatomy so that I can provide the best information possible. I share science-based, practical, and logical information that can help you achieve your desired fitness goal.

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