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Why Reverse Curls Hurt Your Wrists (And How To Stop It!)

As effective as reverse curls are at building your biceps and forearms, some people have less positive experiences with them as they hurt their wrists.

In this article, we look at why reverse curls can hurt your wrists and ways to prevent them from doing so. 

Once you understand the reasons why your wrists might hurt during reverse curls, and the things you can do to stop the pain and discomfort, you can continue to get all the benefits this arm-building exercise has to offer.

Why Do Reverse Curls Hurt Your Wrists?

Too Much Weight Being Lifted

One of the biggest causes of pain during any exercise is that too much weight is trying to be lifted.

During reverse curls, the weight will always be quite a bit lighter than the weight you can lift with standard bicep curls.

If you have too much weight on the bar during reverse curls, pain in your wrists is a very real possibility due to the excessive stress placed on them.

Incorrect Technique

Another one of the main reasons why people experience pain in their wrists during reverse curls is that their technique is incorrect.

If your wrists move out of position or you’re making errors elsewhere in your technique, reverse curls can cause pain in your wrists.

Small errors in technique can actually have some big impacts on injury risk so it’s very important that you get things right.


It could be that the pain felt in your wrists during reverse curls is a result of an injury to your wrist. 

If you are feeling pain when you wouldn’t normally, it is worth getting a medical professional to take a look to make sure everything is ok.

How To Reduce Wrist Pain When Doing Reverse Curls

Use Appropriate Weights

Reverse curls are particularly challenging for your lower arms.

Although they’re great at working your biceps, your lower arm muscles and your wrists will be placed under more stress than in other curl variations.

By selecting an appropriate weight for reverse curls (normally quite a bit lower than standard bicep curl weight), you stand a good chance of keeping your wrists comfortable and injury-free during the movement.

Use The Correct Technique

The technique for reverse curls is pretty easy to master.

However, even small errors can cause issues. So it is important that you’re 100% certain that your technique is correct.

Ensuring the correct technique is used throughout the exercise is vital to minimize the risk of injury.

(Here’s some common mistakes that you ought to avoid!)

Should You Still Do Reverse Curls If They Hurt Your Wrists?

The answer to this question does depend somewhat on the severity of any pain or discomfort felt.

What is important to remember is that exercise causes discomfort.

No matter what exercise you are doing, additional stress is placed on the working muscles and joints and this is not always a particularly pleasant feeling.

However, there is a difference between discomfort and pain.

Some levels of discomfort are normal during and after exercise.

Pain is not expected though.

If you feel pain at any point, you should stop what you are doing and assess the situation.

This is particularly important if you are feeling pain anywhere other than the working muscles.

Bones and joints shouldn’t hurt during exercise so any pain felt in these areas should be a cause for concern.

Exercises To Strengthen Your Wrists

Wrist Curls

Wrist curls are an isolation exercise that targets your wrist flexors.

They help build grip strength and promote healthy (and strong) wrists.

They are performed by sitting on a bench with a light weight in each hand.

Your forearms should be resting on your thighs with your palms facing up. 

The movement itself is very small and is simply lifting the back of your hand off your thighs and lifting the weight towards your forearm (flexing the wrist) before lowering again.

A very light weight should be used and should only be increased gradually as strength develops.

Reverse Wrist Curls

Reverse wrist curls work the wrist extensor muscles (the opposite of the wrist flexors).

The exercise is performed in exactly the same way as wrist curls except for your grip on the weight is palms down this time.

Wrist Mobility

Sometimes, pain or weakness in your wrists can come from a lack of mobility.

Performing wrist mobility exercises such as wrist circles can go a long way in making your wrists stronger and better able to handle the stress exercise puts on them.


Reverse Curls Muscles Worked