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Bodybuilders' forearms should start to thicken just above the wrist.
Bodybuilders require significant forearm and grip strength to perform intense lifting workouts with heavy weight. A weak grip can leave you vulnerable to injury and accidents involving a dropped barbell. In addition, well-developed lower arms can match a set of pumped upper arms for a more balanced appearance. As an alternative to dumbbell and barbell wrist curls and extensions, a wrist roller will work out your forearms.
Stick, Rope and a Weight
If you don't have access to a wrist roller at the gym, you can make one with a two-foot-long dowel or a short broomstick, a chain or a strong rope and an Olympic weight plate. Attach one end of the rope to the weight plate and the other end to the center of the dowel. Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and grasping the dowel in both hands with palms turned down. Your hands should be spaced four to six inches apart. Extend your arms in front of you at shoulder level. Slowly roll the weight upward, curling your right hand over and down and then curling your left in the same way. Continue rolling until the weight touches the dowel and then reverse the motion to lower it back down. Keep your body still throughout the exercise and try not to drop your arms. Perform 10 to 12 reps.
The Muscles Taxed
When using a pronated, or overhand grip, the wrist roller exercise will work your forearm extensors. Also, it conditions the front region of your shoulder muscles, or deltoids, and activates your core musculature, according to the Muscle & Fitness website. Reversing the grip for an underhanded hold will hit your wrist flexors. Vary the grip as well as the spacing between your hands to continually challenge the muscles in your forearms. For example, if you typically do a wrist roller with a narrow grip -- four to six inches -- widen the grip to shoulder-width distance to provide a different stimulus for the exercise.
Similar to the calf muscle, the muscles in your forearms are accustomed to frequent and continual use. To build mass, you need to use a relatively heavy weight. You should perform the wrist roller workout at least three times weekly and target both the wrist extensors and flexors. When performing the rolling movement, aim to achieve the full range of movement with your wrist. Draw your wrist as high up and as down low as possible to raise and lower the weight.
The Advantages of Rolling
You can easily increase the difficulty of the exercise by training with a thicker grip. For example, you can have a wood shop create dowels of different diameters or simply loop athletic tape around the dowel to make it thicker. In comparison to a wrist curl with a dumbbell or barbell, the wrist roll requires a greater range of movement in the forearms. It also forces your forearms to continually work or contract without any pauses in the movement.