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Today features a common training question on an area of the body that is not often thought of: how to get bigger wrists. However, is it even possible to grow your wrists? And if not, is there a workaround to help improve your arm size?
If you do a quick search on Google, you’ll find a program for every goal under the Sun. From CrossFit WODs that build endurance and fitness to bodybuilding programs that specifically aim at fat loss and muscle gaining, found in abundance.
However, not much love is ever given to the wrists, an integral part of the body that supports many upper body and lower body exercises.
With the recent popularity of neck training (check out some of these Formula driver's neck workouts; crazy), having thicker wrists is an area that a lot of men want to work on.
So if you’re looking for easy-to-follow wrist training exercises, check out these tips on how to get bigger wrists, and look more menacing in a t-shirt.
Before you start going crazy with ‘wrist day’ in the gym, realize that there is not a lot you can do outside of the genetics you were born with to actually increase the size of your wrists. Aspects of your anatomy like bone structure and how long your limb length will determine how thick your wrists will be.
If you have longer learner builds, then you’re going to have naturally smaller wrists, whereas if you have a bigger build, you will naturally have thicker wrists.
Understand that it’s not possible to build wrists that will resemble prime Mike Tyson if you fall into the former group of men.
And those that do decide to commit to the wrist growing journey are going to need to be the most patient trainees out there because wrists take a long, long time to develop.
That’s because the wrist is actually a joint with muscles leading into, as opposed to a designated muscle group, i.e., the biceps that cover the forearm and shoulder joint.
To get thicker wrists, you need to have thicker bones, which is impossible. So how do you grow your wrists if it’s impossible to build them? You build your forearms.
The forearm is a fundamental part of the arm that runs from the elbow to the wrist and contains several muscles, including the flexors and extensors of the wrist and the brachioradialis, which is a flexor of the elbow.
By increasing the girth of the forearm, you will build the overall size of the lower portion of your arm, which will help to sell the fact you might have smaller wrists.
So while your wrists are not going to grow per se, your entire forearm will benefit from creating the perception that you have bigger wrists.
So now that we’ve established the fundamentals of growing the lower portion of your arms, here are four exercises to build them.
The first exercise is wrist curls. This is a flexion movement that will hit the flexors, which are the muscles that move your forearm towards the arm.
You want to pick a light set of dumbbells for this exercise, as you want to avoid using momentum to complete this movement which will be covered in just a second.
Simply hold the two dumbbells over your knees with your wrists rested against your thighs. Relax your hands, so they drop down towards the ground, hold for 1 to 3 seconds, and then bring the weight back to the starting position.
Avoid using momentum and keep your shoulders and upper arms still throughout the exercises, as this will not target your wrists, and you’ll be wasting your time. Always use good form and don’t rush through the movement.
The inverse of wrist curls are reverse wrist curls, which are an extension of the wrist extensors, muscles on the back of your forearm.
It’s the exact same setup as wrist curls, except this time, you are going to have palms facing up. Complete the movement by flexing your wrists, pausing, and then bringing the hands back down to the starting position.
All of the same rules for momentum and form are just as important with reverse wrist curls.
Now time for an exercise that tests the endurance of your wrists.
Grab a set of heavy dumbbells that will allow you to cover a short walking distance but will be challenging to keep a hold of for very long, and hold them with your arms locked in a standing position.
Begin walking at a steady pace and make sure to keep an upright posture throughout the entirety of the exercise to avoid a potential back injury. Once your grip strength goes, safely place the dumbbells on the floor.
It’s easy to track progress with this exercise as you’ll be able to tell if you can cover more ground.
Finishing with a tough exercise, grab two towels and place them over a pull-up bar, so they are about shoulder-width apart.
Using your grip strength, pull your entire body off the ground, and complete a normal set of pull-ups. If you are unable to do any reps, pull yourself up to the top of the pull-up bar and hold yourself so that your chin is just past the bar, and hold this position for as long as you can.
Not only will you build your grip strength and work your forearms, but you’ll also target your back muscles.
Outside of regular working set exercises, you can do a few drills outside of your training window to help improve your overall results.
For example, you could use a handgrip strengthener that comes in different resistance levels. Close your hand around the handle and squeeze it.
A short hold of 5 to 10 seconds is advisable, and once you have mastered a tension level, you can move up to the next resistance level. It’s always best to start on the low end and work your way up.
Plus, they double as a handle stress tool if you need an outlet.
Stretching is also important, and wrist mobility exercises such as wrist rocks, open hand stretches, and even knuckle push-ups can all be completed at the end of a workout.
As long as you stay patient and work on these exercises, you’ll eventually see results. Make sure to follow the fundamentals like following a good diet and managing your stress levels and sleep quality, as these are important elements.
And make sure you don’t forget about the rest of your body. The forearm is only a small portion of your entire body, and fretting over a tiny body part is not worth stressing over.
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