Reverse Wrist Curls (How To, Muscles Worked, Benefits)


Reverse Wrist Curls

Reverse Wrist Curls are one of the most popular exercises that target the forearms, specifically the wrist extensors.

In this guide, I’m going to teach you how to do Reverse Wrist Curls, explain what muscles they work and give you a few alternatives you can try as well.


How To Do Reverse Wrist Curls


Equipment Needed

  • Barbell
  • Weight Plates

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Grab a barbell and sit down on a bench.
  • Lay your forearms on the bench (or on your thighs) with your wrists hanging just off the front edge.
  • Allow the wrists to bend forward, dropping the hands and bar toward the ground.
  • Now, flex the wrist extensors and raise the hands as high as possible while keeping the forearms connected to the bench.
  • Slowly lower the hands back to the starting position.
  • Repeat until all reps are completed.

Coaching Points

Some beginners may find that even a 45-pound barbell with no weight on it is too heavy to be able to do Reverse Wrist Curls. If that is the case, use dumbbells or resistance bands to strengthen the wrists and forearms until you’re able to progress to a barbell.


Muscles Worked


Reverse Wrist Curls emphasize the oft-neglected wrist extensors of the forearm:

  • Extensor carpi radialis longus
  • Extensor carpi radialis brevis
  • Extensor digitorum
  • Extensor digiti minimi
  • Extensor carpi ulnaris

Reverse Wrist Curl Alternatives


If you’re unable to do Reverse Wrist Curls (don’t have a barbell, uncomfortable on your wrists, etc) here are a few alternatives that you may be able to use as a substitute.

Reverse Curl

Reverse Curls use the same overhand (pronated) grip as Reverse Wrist Curls, but they also get the biceps into play as well.

If you find Reverse Wrist Curls to be too uncomfortable or perhaps too heavy to do with a bar, then Reverse Curls may be the perfect alternative. You’ll still get plenty of wrist extensor work even though they are not completely isolated.

Dumbbell Reverse Wrist Curl

Many lifters will find DB Reverse Wrist Curls much more comfortable to perform than the barbell version. Dumbbells allow much more flexibility with the angles being worked compared to a more rigid barbell.

It’s also much easier to find lighter dumbbells which can come in very handy for wrist curls, especially for beginners.


More Links and Info


Looking for more exercises to work the biceps, triceps and forearms? Check out the Arm Farm section of our Exercise Library which is dedicated solely to building bigger and stronger arms.

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Ryan Horton

Horton Barbell was created by Ryan Horton who has served as a Sports Performance Coach for almost 20 years. My mission is to create a training resource to help as many coaches and athletes as possible maximize athletic potential.

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