Exercises to Strengthen the Wrists & Forearms

Have you ever heard someone say "look at the wrists and forearms on that girl?" Most likely not, but that doesn't mean you should neglect to do forearm- and wrist-strengthening exercises. You use your arms daily, and if they're strong, it can only benefit you. Your forearm muscles move your wrists in four different directions, therefore to strengthen your wrists, you must do exercises that utilize all these movements, not just one or two.


Wrist Flexor Exercises

The wrist flexor muscles include six small muscles on the bottom of your forearm. These are the flexor digitorum superficialis, flexor digitorum profundus, flexor pollicis longus, flexor carpi radialis, flexor carpi ulnaris and palmaris longus. Exercises in which you bend the wrist to bring the palm toward the bottom of your forearm strengthen the wrist flexors. To use an exercise band to strengthen the wrist flexors, slip the handle around your upper arm. Bend your wrist back toward your bicep and grasp the band where it is taut with your palm facing away from you. Then, bend your wrist down toward the floor.

Wrist Extensor Exercises

The wrist extensor muscles bend the wrist in the opposite direction. These muscles reside on the top and inside of the forearm. There are eight muscles, including the extensor digitorum, extensor carpi radialis longus, extensor carpi radialis brevis, extensor carpi ulnaris, extensor indicis, extensor digiti minimi, extensor pollicis brevis and extensor pollicis longus. To strengthen the wrist extensors with an exercise band, sit in a chair and slip a handle beneath the arch of your foot or shoe so that you trap the handle on the floor. Rest your forearm on your thigh with your palm facing the floor and grasp the band so that it is taut. Then, bend your wrist toward the ceiling.

Wrist Pronator Exercises

The wrist pronators are the muscles that rotate your forearm and wrist to face down. These include the pronator teres, pronator quadratus, flexor carpi radialis and anconeus. To strengthen the wrist pronators, kneel in front of an exercise bench holding a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing each other and rest your forearms on the bench. Then, rotate your forearms inward. Maintain straight wrists.

Wrist Supinator Exercises

The wrist supinators twist the forearms in the opposite direction as the wrist pronators. These muscles turn the wrist to face up. A trick to remembering this is that supination puts the wrist in position to hold a bowl of soup without spilling it because it is facing upward. The muscles that supinate the wrist are the biceps brachii and supinator muscle. To strengthen the wrist supinators, you can combine the wrist supination exercise with the wrist pronation exercise by rotating your wrists outward after you pronate the dumbbells. Alternatively, start with your palms facing each other and then rotate your forearms outward to target only the supinators.


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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.