The best exercise for the forearms

The wrist roller is one of the best exercises you can use to develop great forearms .

Some people have the genetics and the ability to grow impressive forearms simply by holding heavy barbells and dumbbells. As such, these people don’t need a lot of work on the forearms. However, most people have the opposite problem – good bicep / tricep development, but with the forearms like a ballerina.

The good news is that, even for the genetically hapless, the forearms respond very well in terms of size and strength to a particular exercise – the wrist roller.

A bit of anatomy

The muscles of the forearms are divided into two very broad groups, forearm flexors and forearm extensors . The forearm flexors are the stronger of the two sections.

Forearm flexors – Flexors are responsible for flexing the fingers, in simple terms, it means grip strength, of which there are two main types:

  • Isometric pressing force is the ability to hold onto something, such as a heavy deadlift or two pairs of dumbbells.
  • Concentric grip strength is the ability to close your hand against resistance.

Forearm extensors – The forearm extensors are responsible for extending the wrist. In everyday life we ​​do not usually do this movement, but sometimes we have to resist flexing the wrist, and this is where we use this muscle.
Exercises like reverse biceps and dumbbell lateral raises will work the forearm extensors to some extent as important stabilizers. The reverse wrist curl trains this muscle group more directly.

Advantages of the wrist roller

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  • The wrist roller is by far the best exercise for developing size and strength in the forearms. It’s from the forearms what squats are to the legs, if not better. There is simply no substitute for this exercise, and if you don’t have access to one, you can easily make one for around $ 10.
  • At the beginning we will use very little weight since we have to get used to the exercise, but with perseverance and practice we will be able to apply progressive overload and be able to work with higher weights.
  • Another great advantage of the wrist roller is that the roller must be held to prevent it from sliding in the opposite direction, this works the flexors and develops a lot of grip strength. From there, you can work the extensors by rolling it extension style (you can go heavier with this shape) or continue to crush the flexors by rolling it flexion style.
  • You can sometimes find people doing the wrist roll in front of them, mimicking the final position of a front lift. This is certainly more difficult and increases the range of motion (ROM), but your shoulders become a limiting factor almost immediately – and you should be able to rotate your wrist for more than 30 seconds, which you couldn’t resist if you head on.
  • I recommend doing the exercise at your waist and either doing more rounds to increase time under tension or standing on a box to increase range of motion. On the other hand, using boards no more than 25 pounds will also increase ROM.
  • When rolling, try to keep the wrist roller fairly straight. If you’re trying to lean at a significant angle while rolling, your forearms won’t be working as hard as they could be.
  • Wrist rollers are cheap and can be made at home.
  • You can add this exercise to the end of your training session or use it as part of a forearm and biceps routine.


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