Details of the behind-the-back wrist curl exercise
- Main Muscles Forearm Flexors
- Secondary Muscles Forearm Extensors
- Exercise Type– Strength
- Exercise Mechanics: Isolation
- Difficulty Level Beginner
- Equipment Required Barbells, dumbbells or cables
How to curl your wrist behind the back
Here are the wrist curls for behind-the-back barbell wrist curls. Later, I will show you how to do the cable version.
- At hip height, place a loaded barbell on a squat rack or equivalent resting spot. If you are lifting light weights, don’t try to deadlift it.
- Grab the bar tightly and lift it off the rack.
- Maintain good posture and bend your wrists. The barbell will allow you to stretch your forearms.
- Continue to descend until you feel a deep stretch. Then, forcefully squeeze your forearms and get back up.
- For 15-20 reps, repeat the process. Enjoy the pump.
Benefits of the wrist curl behind the back
Because the resistance curve, which is where the movement feels the most heavy and lightest, is unique to the behind-the-back wrist curl with a barbell, it is not like other wrist curl variations. This drill is most difficult in the contracted position. It creates intense muscle pump.
Isolation of the forearms has been improved
I don’t know much about you. However, if I can’t view the equipment I’m using (or if I don’t bother looking at it), my mind-muscle connection immediately improves.
This only works if your form is good. If your technique is not tight, you can use the barbell behind your back wrist curls to strengthen your forearm muscles.
This means faster forearm development. How?
Each rep is more effective, i.e. it produces more chemical signals for muscle growth. Now you can concentrate on stretching your forearms and contracting your elbows.
Stronger muscle pump
The regular forearm curl requires the most effort at the bottom and middle of the rep. It’s quite the opposite with the behind-the-back bb wrist curls.
This means that the contraction is stronger which results in a more powerful forearm pump. I recommend limiting sets to 15-20 reps. This rep range increases the pump, which, in my opinion is the whole point to wrist curls.
Grip training is a better option if you are looking to do low-rep forearm work.
If you want pump your lower arms then do the behind-the-back forearm curls. There is no other exercise that can produce such intense muscle contractions as this one.
This movement can also be paired with the reverse wrist curl which strengthens your forearm extensors.
Behind the wrist curl drawbacks
As a finishing touch to heavy, mass-building grip exercises, I enjoy the behind-the back forearm curl. [ 1] But, you will know there are some downsides to this exercise that can make it difficult for the meathead brain.
Setup and finishing is difficult
A pair of meaty forearms will make you a strong performer in the behind-the back wrist curl. But, strength can be a double-edged sword.
It’s great to have big forearms. It can make it difficult to lift the bar from the ground and get it in your hands. You also need to reshuffle your hands in order to have a good grip.
What is the solution?
Although it’s not revolutionary, it works great: Instead of wasting energy squatting to grab the barbell (which is more difficult than you might think when fixed barbells are low to ground), you can place the barbell on a rack at your hip height.
It can be either a regular squat rack or a fixed barbell rack. It doesn’t matter what it is. It’s easier to grasp the bar if it’s on a rack than it is on the ground.
You need to lose weight
Do you feel stronger doing bench press or flys?
Of course, bench press!
It’s not that you have your fast-twitch quads to help you out, it’s because the bench press positions the chest in a middle-range position.
The dumbbell fly, on the other hand, works your pecs in the extremes of this range. This is the position where the muscle is most contracted and stretched.
What does this have do with the forearms, however?
To maximize your pump and prevent wrist injuries, you can do forearm curls for moderately to high reps (8-15).
It’s quite a lot. You can see that [ 2] behind-the-back barbell wrist curls (cables may be a little different) work the forearms at a shorter position. This means you will need to use less weight.
As I wouldn’t use flys to mass-build, so I wouldn’t use the behind-the back wrist curl as my main exercise. To finish my forearms, I would do heavy grip training followed by a few sets of the behind the back barbell wrist curl.
Variations and alternatives to the behind-the-back wrist curl
Here are two versions of the behind-the-back wrist curl. For inspiration, you can also check these forearm drills.
- Cable wrist curls
- EZ forearm curl
- Forearm roller
- Plate wrist curls
- Reverse forearm curls
- Single dumbbell forearm curl
- Reverse forearm curl
- Standing barbell wrist curl
- Wrist twist
Behind the back cable, wrist curls
Because the exercise is more difficult at the top than the bottom, the wrist curls behind the back barbell are not perfect. This issue is not solved by cables. Muscles are weakest at the extremes of the range.
The cable version provides a more consistent resistance and a stronger muscle pump. You will need to squat to grab the cable bars, so make sure you don’t skip leg day.
Curls the wrist with one arm behind the back
Although I don’t often see this type of exercise at the gym, it isn’t a bad move.
This exercise is basically the same as the barbell version, except that you are only training one arm at once and using dumbbells. What are the benefits?
Similar to before. They’re emphasized. You will have a better mind-muscle connection because you can now focus on just one muscle at the time.
The best part is that you don’t need to worry about setting up. The setup is simple so even though you need to do twice as many sets, it won’t take much time.
For best results, make sure you also train your top forearm (extensors).
The verdict on behind-the-back wrist curls
To prove that they are an innovator, bodybuilders love to come up with endless variations on the same exercise. We all know that most variations of the same exercise are just hype. They’re meant to generate attention at the gym and on the internet.
Behind-the back wrist curls are a great finishing exercise that trains the forearms to their shorter position.