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  1. #1
    Registered User hglip's Avatar
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    Wrist Roller vs Forearm Curls? Both? One?

    I am very interested in improving my forearm strength and increasing flexibility due to some repetitive stress injuries I have from things like computer use and boxing.

    I bought a rack-mounted wrist roller and it's incredible compared to a handheld unit. It seems like I can purely isolate the forearms without worrying about my shoulders or arms. But, in using it this week, it caused a few questions to arise in my mind:

    1) With a handheld wrist roller, you must do both rolling up and rolling down, due to logistics of using the unit. With the rack mounted unit, I can roll up, and let go, and it drops back down on it's own. So if I wanted to, I could just do roll ups and never do roll downs. My initial feeling was that they must be different muscles engaged, and I'd need to do both up and down anyway. But it seems like both flexors and extensors are used when going up or down, so maybe both up and down aren't needed and I can let it drop at top and only do roll ups?

    2) With a handheld wrist roller, I must hold it with a standard thumb wrap around grip, otherwise i'll drop the unit. With rack mounted, I can tuck my thumb alongside my index finger and roll without using the thumb. It seems like moving the thumb could make a difference in muscle activation. So I wonder if I should alternate sets of thumb placement, or if one is superior and I should stick to that, and if so, which thumb placement is best?

    3) I was occasionally doing forearm curls. Do I need to do both forearm curls and wrist rolling or can I just do wrist rolling? It seems like forearm curls might be slightly different and help with lengthening the muscles, which is important due to my current restrictions. In the past I used a straight olympic bar to do forearm curls. If I do continue doing forearm curls, I recently bought both an EZ curl bar and Rogue loadable DBs, so I could use either -- is one better than the other for forearm curls?

    4) It seems like underhanded wrist rolling is possible with the rack mounted roller. Whereas the handheld one would be too awkward. Also possible to do one underhand and one overhand, then switch. Any benefit to this?

    5) Is there any unique thing you can do with a rack-mounted wrist roller that isn't possible with a hand held one? Now that I have this rack-mounted one in my toolbox, does it open me up to anything new? For example, maybe I do wrist rolling with one hand, while with my second hand I use a massage tool to put pressure on various forearm muscles. I've had this technique done to me where a massage or physical therapist will press down on a certain muscle and ask me to move the muscle against his force. Obviously something I can't do with a hand held wrist roller.

    6) With a handheld roller, there's a specific height and distance away from your body to hold it, to avoid burning out your shoulders. With rack-mounted, does that change? I have been using it much higher up, around nipple level since it gives me a longer distance to raise the weight. I could also stand on something like my bench and mount it even higher, relative to the ground to give even more range. Not sure if beneficial?


    I wonder if maybe rack-mounted wrist rollers are relatively rare and there's no preset answers to these and I have to do some science on my own. If so, any suggestions on how to best test methodology through trial and error would be appreciated! Such as having a second person feel my forearm while doing movements in different ways to see which muscles are engaged.
    Last edited by hglip; 10-25-2020 at 01:31 AM.
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  2. #2
    Registered User Garage Rat's Avatar
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    You've addressed wrist rolling issue fairly well.
    With a mounted roller you can use more weight.
    I have a roller that i mount in my power rack that fits in the safety pin.
    I can go any height that the holes in my rack have.
    It's good way to heavy wrist rolls.
    I also have different diameter rollers.
    Ive done 303 pounds on mine years ago.
    There is a video of mine on youtube "303 pound wrist roll" if you care to search for it.
    Doing them mounted lets you focus more on just the forearms without much other areas contributing.
    One hand turning can also be done where you just keep one hand on the roller and turn it as far as you can then back down,back and forth sort of like a wrist curl.
    But you are locked into the fixed position so really your maneuvering your hands around the bar.

    With the free wrist roller you can move it (the roller) more in a natural movement each roll a slight tilt each turn.
    Also as you mentioned you can curl grip roll easier which is a good feel and change from the overhand grip.

    So with the roller your basically working flexors,extensors and grip.
    Some will say there are better ways to work these areas but i say they the roller is a good addition to forearm work.
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