Build bigger forearms with this old school favourite

Wrist rollers are a classic exercise for building bigger forearms. If you don’t know what one is, then clearly you’ve not spent enough time in questionable gyms that are still rocking equipment from the 70’s. 

A classic wrist roller is a piece of wood with some string attached. On the other end of the string is a weight of some form. You roll the piece of wood in your hands so the string coils around resulting in the weight rising up. It was most likely made by some guy called Trevor, or Tim, in his garage.

One of the more fancier models born from a garage.

Now the thing is you might laugh at the thought, but if you’ve ever tried one you’ll know wrist rollers are some of the most effective forms of forearm training ever invented (by Trevor – in his shed!). 

Folks used to laugh over the thought of the ab roller, but now you’d be hard pressed to find any fitness trainer that wasn’t a raging fan. I believe wrist rollers are the same and are due a comeback.

The new wrist roller

Your chances of finding a wrist roller in your gym nowadays are slim. But not all is lost. Some years ago I came up with this solution to build bigger forearms by mimicking the action of a wrist roller with just a few pieces of common gym kit. Enter the banded wrist roller.

Every gym has a barbell and some dumbbells, you might just need to bring your own resistance band. Even then a lot of gyms now have these anyway. If you follow my work you’ll know it seems I have a rubber band fetish, so you may have a few bands yourself already.

In the video above I’m using a shoulder press rack. You could also use a power rack. Alternatively you could use the bench press and a kneeling position like in the video below. Just don’t piss off the meathead who actually wants to bench press.


There’s just something about banded wrist rollers that feel good. You know, the kind of good that’s super painful and forearm cramping at the same time. As you extend your wrists, the band winds up and stretches a little at the same time giving it a smooth feel. Cocking your wrists never felt so good!

The thickness of the grip on the olympic bar adds to the effectiveness of the exercise. If you’re looking to build bigger forearms then you’ll know a thicker grip is useful. Here you’re getting the wrist roller combined with a sort of thick-grip training. This will help hit your entire forearms and grip, as well as benefit your overall arms size and strength.

Finally, unlike a traditional wrist roller that uses the same weight attachment, with these you can increase or decease the weight as you like. Timed sets of 1-2 minutes work great, with room to increase the weight of the dumbbell you’re using over time.

Have you ever tried the classic wrist roller? Give this article a share if you’re a fan.

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