The wrist curl is a very effective forearm exercise - it's a classic for very good reason...it works.
However, if there's one thing I've discovered in my years of training, there is ALWAYS a better way to do even the most common and effective exercises. The Wrist Curl is no exception.
To do this unique variation of the wrist curl, you're going to need two dumbbells, a flat bench and another raised surface (it can be another bench, a chair, a machine or even the rails of a power rack - it should be the same height or a little higher than the bench you're using). I will use a chair as the example for this exercise.
The reason this one works so well is that your body position creates an "occlusion" effect in the forearms (i.e. it impedes blood flow in and out of the forearm area). This causes a build-up of waste products in the localized muscle tissue, which is a STRONG anabolic signal in the body for muscle growth.
In other words, this exercise is a "short cut" to growth in the forearms, even if it looks a bit strange (and it does).
Use a weight you could do about 12 to 15 reps with on regular dumbbell wrist curls. Place the bench about 3 feet in front of the chair - when you see how the exercise is done, you'll be able to adjust how far apart you place the bench and chair. The bench should be perpendicular to the chair as you'll be doing the wrist curl exercise with your forearms across the WIDTH of the bench.
Stand between the bench and the chair - you should be facing the bench. Pick up your two dumbbells. Rest your forearms on the bench with your palms facing up, and kneel down in front of the bench, just as though you were about to do a wrist curl.
I prefer to set the forearms on the bench just far enough apart so that the dumbbell ends are pressed together during the exercise. I find this helps increase the force you're able to generate during the exercise.
So now you're kneeling in front of the bench, your wrists are extended down and you're about to do a wrist curl. STOP! Here's the trick. You're going to set your feet up on that chair behind you!
When your feet are up on the chair, keep your body completely tight and straight. Let your bodyweight lean forward and down onto your forearms. Bend your elbows so that they are as bent as they can be and your entire bodyweight is leaning forward and supported on your forearms.
This bodyweight pressure is what creates the occlusion effect I mentioned above.
NOW start doing wrist curls.
You'll find with your forearms not only performing the wrist curl movement but also supporting your bodyweight AND with the elbows in the completely flexed position, your forearms will get a MUCH greater pump than with normal wrist curls. And they will BURN.
I recommend that you do this exercise with dumbbells rather than a barbell simply because dumbbells allow your wrists and forearms greater freedom of movement to not only find their best path for the exercise but also to increase the stabilizing requirement as you're leaning down onto your forearms. Barbells just lock you into the movement too much.
Use this exercise at the end of your workouts.
Don't do it first or your forearms will be exhausted and you won't be able to grip as well during your workout. It's a killer forearm exercises that takes full advantage of your biomechanics and anatomy to place great tension and substantial blood occlusion on the forearm muscles for maximum growth.
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