Improve wrist strength in just 10 minutes with these five arm exercises

The better your wrist strength, the more efficiently you'll be able to perform your exercises

Woman doing wrist strengthening exercise
(Image credit: Getty)

Our wrists aren’t exactly the first body part that comes to mind when we think about getting fitter. Wrist pain can be common for those who train often, particularly with weight lifting. That said, almost everyone can benefit from stronger wrists! These five exercises can improve wrist strength in just 10 minutes, and all you’ll need are a very, very light pair of dumbbells, or you could even use a slim water bottle.

According to sports nutrition brand MyProtein, “The strength of your wrists plays a major role in stabilising your arms during movements such as the bench press, deadlift and overhead presses.” Gym accessories, like wrist wraps and some gym gloves with wrist support, can be worn for extra stability and to keep your wrists in a neutral position, but you should also strengthen your wrists naturally, so give these exercises a go.

When we mentioned earlier that you’d only need to use a very light pair of dumbbells, we mean it – very light, please! We’re trying to strengthen your wrists, not break them. These exercises are all performed seated but if you prefer, you can always do them standing. You’ll do each move for 10 to 20 reps, and you want to try and aim for at least two rounds if not three. Here’s what you’ll be doing:

  • Wrist flexion – Place your forearm (hand's palm facing up) on your thigh with your wrist hanging over the edge of your knee. You want the dumbbell to sit between your fingers (don’t grasp them around the dumbbell yet), then curl the weight into your hand and do this until your knuckles face the ceiling. Hold for two seconds, then bring it back to the starting position. 
  • Wrist extension – Set yourself up the same as you did for the wrist flexions, but this time turn your forearm over so your palm is facing down. Hold the dumbbell in your hand and curl your hand towards the ceiling. Hold again for two seconds and then return it to the starting position.
  • Radial deviation – Place your arm on top of your thigh with your hand’s palm facing inwards and your wrist hanging over your knee. Hold the end of the dumbbell and then slowly lower the opposite end towards the floor, hold, then pull it back up to the top.
  • Ulnar deviation – Grab the top of the dumbbell and let your arm hang down to your side, with your hand’s palm facing inwards. Slowly tilt your wrist backwards (like a bent-over tricep extension), hold, then return to the starting position.
  • Pronation and supination – Bring your arm to a 90 degree angle with your hand’s palm facing inwards. Grab the bottom of the dumbbell and tilt your hand to let it fall outside your body, then tilt your hand in the opposite direction to bring the dumbbell in towards your body. 

Remember, if you don't own any dumbbells, you could always use a pair of resistance bands (so take a look at our guide to the best resistance bands) or a slim water bottle that you can easily grip. If you experience pain in your wrists, particularly while doing bodyweight exercises like push-ups, we've got an easy way to fix your wrist push-up pain.

Bryony Firth-Bernard
Staff Writer, Active

Bryony’s T3’s official ‘gym-bunny’ and Active Staff Writer, covering all things fitness. In her spare time, you will find her in her natural habitat - the gym - where her style of training is a hybrid of bodybuilding and powerlifting. Bryony loves writing about accessible workouts, nutrition and testing innovative fitness products that help you reach your fitness goals and take your training to the next level.