John Brookfield's Grip Tips
By John Brookfield
Author of Mastery of Hand Strength, Revised Edition, Training with
Cables for Strength, The Grip Master’s Manual, and Real-World Conditioning
Behind-the-Back Wrist Curls
In this Grip Tip I will show you a special way to develop greater wrist strength. It will also develop your finger strength and pump a tremendous amount of blood into the forearms, creating greater forearm size. This is a movement you have probably never seen or thought about before: it is a very unique way of doing wrist curls. However, although this exercise falls into the wrist curl category, I believe you will find it produces better results for your lower arm strength.
All you need is a barbell and perhaps a bench or table. Also, try not to use too much weight. Start slowly and try to find the right amount of weight for you. This movement is more of a controlling exercise than an explosive one. Start by placing the barbell on the table or bench. Now, back up to the barbell and grasp the barbell with your hands behind your back, so that your palms are facing away from your body. Lift the barbell and move away from the table. From here, raise the barbell using your wrist strength. Continue to go up and down with the barbell, using only your wrist strength. This movement will give you a tremendous pump in your forearms.
To make the exercise more difficult, try and keep your hands from touching your body. Your hands will naturally want to be against your body as you start to tire, but try to prevent this as best you can. Continue flexing your wrists back and forth until they are fatigued. You will find this movement very demanding.
There are a couple of ways to make behind-the-back wrist curls more difficult as you progress. First, you can lower the barbell to your finger tips to start the movement. This may seem very awkward at first. However, great gains can be made by letting the bar go to the finger tips each time.
Another way to progress on the exercise other than adding more weight (which should always be an objective as you improve), is to try this movement with two fingers at a time. When doing this, be sure to use a light weight to get started. Use the same technique and movement, using only two fingers at a time. Start by using the first two fingers and then try the last two fingers. Use extra care when using two fingers at a time. It is a great strength and muscle control developer but, once again, I must add that you must start slowly and get a feel for it.
The behind-the-back wrist curl is great for anyone wanting to develop forearm, wrist and finger strength. It is especially good for arm wrestlers.
Editor's note: John Brookfield’s books Mastery of Hand Strength, Revised Edition, The Grip Master’s Manual, Training with Cables for Strength, and Real-World Conditioning combine John’s limitless creativity with his friendly, downhome manner. John’s articles are also regularly featured in MILO: A Journal for Serious Strength Athletes.
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