What The Barbell Wrist Curl Can Do For Strength & Flexibility

barbell wrist curl

Boost both strength and flexibility with a great exercise in the barbell wrist curl.

Too often do we neglect our wrist and forearms muscles but the barbell wrist curl is a great exercise to throw into the mix. For those of us looking to increase strength and flexibility, the barbell wrist curl is a great way to challenge our muscles while receiving tons of benefits to aid in our training and physical health. While we may overlook this muscle group, knowing the barbell wrist curl is out there now limits the excuse.

Strong wrists and forearms will help greatly when it comes to strength and stability on your biceps and hand muscles. This aids in sport specific and more functional movements to give you a well-rounded exercise that will work to boost training, performance, and everyday movements. With this exercise now in your routine, you will tackle bigger and better gains without the fear of injury or unwanted pain.

Let’s take a look at the barbell wrist curl to see just what makes this so great. From what it is, to muscles worked, the many benefits with it, and how to perform it, you will have all the necessary tools to place in your routine so you can better strengthen and stabilize those often times overlooked muscles.

barbell curl

What Is The Barbell Wrist Curl?

The barbell wrist curl is an isolation exercise that works to target your forearms and hand muscles. This will not only build strength, but it works to stabilize the wrists by strengthening muscles around it as well as boost flexibility and mobility for only the best in terms of movements. A beginner level exercise, you only need a barbell and this can be done at any point in your workout.

Check out our list of the Best Barbells for awesome lifting products!

Muscle Worked

The muscles worked in this exercise really aren’t too many, but this exercise can offer the best benefits as you look to boost strength and stability. This primarily works your wrist flexors but will also hit your forearm and hand muscles as you seek the best for all your gains. By focusing on these muscles, you better prepare yourself for other bigger lifts that require necessary stabilization.

10 Exercises for Thicker Forearms

Benefits Of The Barbell Wrist Curl

The barbell wrist curl exercise has the ability to provide for a host of benefits that are worth knowing. Once you know what this exercise can do for you, you won’t want to not include this in your routine.

Benefits of barbell wrist curls include:

  • Great isolation exercise: By working to isolate a specific muscle group, you better target that spot for increased growth and only the best gains (1).
  • Focus on wrists and forearms: A nice exercise to focus on your wrists and forearms, this allows you to build strength and offer stabilization in areas often overlooked.
  • Improve grip strength: Grip strength is so important for sport specific and more functional movements and the right exercise can greatly increase this (2).
  • Plenty of variations: So many variations exist so you get the same benefits without repeating the same exercise over and over again.
  • Good for flexibility: Build flexibility and work to optimize your range of motion to support all movements (3).
  • Enhance functional movements: By enhancing grip strength and building better support, you enhance functional movements and everyday activities.
  • Pairs well with other barbell exercises: Barbell exercises are great for seeing gains and this exercise pairs well with many of those upper body and full body barbell exercises.

How To Perform It

Here are the steps for performing barbell wrist curls:

  1. Set up your bench and barbell with your desired number of weight.
  2. Kneel in front of the bench and place your arms so that your wrists hang off the opposite edge.
  3. Keeping your elbows tucked and core engaged, curl the weight, only moving your wrists upward.
  4. Slowly lower back down as you feel a stretch in your forearms, bringing this back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for your desired number of sets and reps.

barbell workout

Great Variations Of The Barbell Wrist Curl

The nice part about an exercise like the barbell wrist curl is that there are plenty of variations to change up your workouts yet still get the same benefits as if you were performing the same exercise. Great variations of the barbell wrist curl exercise include:

  • Barbell Reverse Wrist Curl
  • Behind The Back Reverse Wrist Curl
  • Dumbbell Wrist Curl
  • Cable Wrist Curl
  • One Arm Dumbbell Wrist Curl

Best Barbell Exercises To Pair With

Along with the this exercise, there are other great exercises to pair with that all involve the barbell. Training with a barbell can provide for convenient and versatile workouts while working to boost athletic performance and better cognitive functioning. Working to increase everything from strength, size, mobility, and stability, a barbell is a great workout tool to help you get to where you want to go.

As part of your routine, definitely consider a great shoulder exercise in the barbell shoulder press to offer growth for those boulder shoulders. While you work to stabilize and strengthen your wrists with the barbell wrist curl, hit your biceps with the reverse barbell curl or traditional barbell curl for a real boost in strength. To tackle those full body workouts, try the barbell burpee for this will enhance all areas of your performance for the better.

Check out our list of the Best Barbells for awesome lifting products!

Wrap Up

Barbell wrist curls are a great exercise to strengthen and stabilize your wrist, so you only see the best for your gains. By working to give you a great exercise that targets your wrists and forearms, it makes sense to include this into your routine. Other great barbell exercises pair nicely with this so you see those gains you want most. Give this workout a try and see what it can do for all your gains today.

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*Images courtesy of Envato


  1. Szymanski, D.; et al. (2004). “Effect of 12 Weeks of Wrist and Forearm Training on High School Baseball Players”. (source)
  2. Lee, J.; et al. (2016). “The Effect of Wrist Position on Grip Endurance and Grip Strength”. (source)
  3. Rahman, H.; et al. (2020). “Stretching And Flexibility: A Range Of Motion For Games And Sports”. (source)
Austin Letorney
Austin Letorney is a writer, actor, and fitness enthusiast. As a former rower, he has shifted his focus to sharing his knowledge of the fitness world and strength sports with others.