Updated at: 02-08-2023 - By: Matt Roberts

Are you feeling wrist pain during your bicep curls? This common problem can stem from several factors, including improper form and excessive weight.

In this article, we’ll delve into why barbell curls may be causing discomfort and share effective techniques to help mitigate this issue.

Understanding Wrist Pain During Barbell Curls

Causes of wrist pain during barbell curls

Wrist pain during barbell curls often boils down to a lack of proper technique or an underlying physical condition.

A common culprit is improper wrist positioning, which can strain the ligaments and tendons, causing inflammation in the wrist.

Loose ligaments also contribute to excessive movement when curling, using sheer force that results in discomfort.

Furthermore, selecting weights that are too heavy may compress your wrist joints leading to agonizing pain after lifting sessions.

Some exercisers experience bicep tendinopathy – another painful condition provoked by regular barbell exercises.

Lastly, ulnar wrist pain might occur if you apply undue pressure on your wrists or fail to properly warm up before your workout session.

Common mistakes that contribute to wrist pain

  • Poor grip strength, which can lead to excessive strain on the wrists during barbell curls
  • Gripping the barbell too tightly, causing unnecessary tension in the wrists
  • Allowing the wrists to bend backward or forward instead of maintaining a neutral position throughout the movement
  • Using excessive weight that exceeds your wrist’s current strength and mobility capabilities
  • Failing to warm up properly before starting your barbell curl routine, which can increase the risk of wrist pain and injury
  • Neglecting to incorporate wrist strengthening exercises into your training program, leaving your wrists vulnerable to strain during barbell curls
  • Rushing through repetitions without focusing on proper form and technique, which can put added stress on the wrists

Techniques to Alleviate Wrist Pain During Barbell Curls

Maintaining proper form and grip

Proper form and grip are crucial when it comes to alleviating wrist pain during barbell curls.

One important aspect to focus on is maintaining a neutral or slightly inclined wrist position throughout the exercise.

This means avoiding excessive bending or extending of the wrists, as it can put unnecessary strain on them.

Additionally, gripping the barbell firmly but without squeezing too tightly can help distribute the weight evenly across your hands and reduce pressure on your wrists.

By practicing good form and grip, you’ll not only prevent wrist pain but also optimize your bicep curl performance.

Using wrist wraps for support

Wrist wraps can provide great support and help alleviate wrist pain during barbell curls. By wrapping the wrists tightly, they provide stability and reduce the stress placed on the joint.

Wrist wraps work by compressing and supporting the tendons, ligaments, and bones in the wrists, allowing for better control and reducing the risk of injury.

They also help maintain proper wrist positioning during the exercise, preventing excessive movement that can cause discomfort.

Using wrist wraps is especially beneficial for individuals with loose ligaments or weak wrists.

So if you’re experiencing wrist pain during barbell curls, incorporating wrist wraps into your workout routine may be a game-changer to help you continue lifting without discomfort.

Exploring alternative exercises

Here are some options to consider:

  1. Dumbbell Hammer Curls: Hold a pair of dumbbells with a neutral grip (palms facing each other) and curl the weights up towards your shoulders. This grip puts less strain on the wrists and can help alleviate discomfort.
  2. EZ-bar Curls: Instead of using a straight barbell, try using an EZ-bar, which has a gentle curve in the middle. This helps to reduce stress on the wrists by allowing for a more natural hand position.
  3. Preacher Curls: Use a preacher curl bench or an inclined bench with your arms resting on the incline pad. This exercise isolates the biceps and takes pressure off the wrists.
  4. Cable Bicep Curls: Attach a handle to a cable machine and stand facing it. Grab the handle with an underhand grip and perform bicep curls while keeping your wrists in a neutral position.
  5. Resistance Band Curls: Loop a resistance band around an anchor point or step on it with one foot, then hold onto the ends with both hands. Curl your hands towards your shoulders while keeping your wrists straight throughout the movement.

Strengthening and Rehabilitating the Wrists

To strengthen and rehabilitate the wrists, incorporate wrist strengthening exercises into your routine. These exercises can include wrist curls, reverse wrist curls, and farmer’s walks with dumbbells for added resistance.

Additionally, performing mobility exercises such as wrist circles and finger extensions can help improve flexibility and range of motion in the wrists.

Don’t forget to incorporate a proper warm-up routine before starting your barbell curl workout to prepare the wrists for movement and reduce the risk of injury.

Wrist strengthening exercises

Here are some effective wrist strengthening exercises to try:

  1. Wrist Curls: Hold a dumbbell or a barbell with an underhand grip, palms facing upward. Rest your forearms on a bench or your thighs for support. Slowly curl your wrists upward as high as possible, then lower them back down in a controlled manner. Repeat for 10-12 reps.
  2. Reverse Wrist Curls: Similar to the wrist curls, this time hold the weight with an overhand grip, palms facing downward. Curl your wrists upward and then slowly lower them back down. Aim for 10-12 reps.
  3. Farmer’s Walk: Grab two heavy dumbbells or kettlebells and hold them at your sides with a neutral grip. Walk forward while maintaining a strong grip on the weights, engaging the muscles in your hands and wrists to stabilize the weights.
  4. Plate Pinches: Hold two weight plates together using just your fingertips and thumb. Squeeze them together tightly and hold for 20-30 seconds before releasing. Repeat for several sets.
  5. Wrist Rotations: Sit or stand with one arm extended straight out in front of you at shoulder height, palm facing down. Using a lightweight dumbbell, rotate your wrist inward until your palm is facing up, then rotate it outward until your palm is facing down again. Perform 10-12 rotations in each direction before switching arms.

Mobility exercises for the wrists

To improve wrist mobility and reduce pain during barbell curls, incorporating specific exercises can be beneficial.

Here are some effective mobility exercises for the wrists:

  1. Wrist circles: Start by extending your arms in front of you with your palms facing down. Slowly rotate your wrists in small circles clockwise and then counterclockwise. Perform 10-15 repetitions in each direction.
  2. Wrist flexion and extension: Stretch out your arm in front of you, palm facing up. Use your other hand to gently bend your hand downward, feeling a stretch in the wrist and forearm. Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat on the other side. Then, turn your hand over so that your palm faces down and gently pull back on your fingers to extend the wrist. Hold for 15-30 seconds on each side.
  3. Wrist pronation and supination: Hold a lightweight dumbbell or a small object like a water bottle in one hand with your elbow bent at 90 degrees and forearm parallel to the ground. Rotate your wrist inward (pronation) as far as you comfortably can while keeping the elbow stationary. Then, rotate it outward (supination). Perform 10-15 repetitions on each side.
  4. Finger stretches: Extend your arm in front of you, palm facing down. Use your other hand to gently pull back on each finger individually, stretching the tendons in the hands and wrists. Hold each stretch for 10-15 seconds per finger.

Incorporating warm-up routines

Here are some effective warm-up techniques to consider:

  1. Wrist rotations: Start by extending your arm forward with your palm facing down. Slowly rotate your wrist in a circular motion, doing 10-15 repetitions in each direction.
  2. Wrist flexion and extension: Place your forearm on a bench or table with your hand hanging off the edge. Gently lower your hand towards the ground, feeling a stretch in the back of your wrist. Then, lift your hand upwards, stretching the front of your wrist. Repeat this movement 10-12 times.
  3. Forearm stretches: Hold your arm straight out in front of you with the palm facing up. Use your opposite hand to pull back on your fingers until you feel a stretch in your forearm muscles. Hold this stretch for 20-30 seconds on each arm.
  4. Fist clenches: Make a fist with both hands and hold for 5 seconds, then release. Repeat this exercise 10-15 times to increase blood flow and warm up the muscles in your hands and wrists.


In conclusion, wrist pain during barbell curls can be attributed to factors such as improper form and grip, loose ligaments in the wrists, and sheer force placed on the joints.

However, there are solutions available to alleviate this discomfort.

By maintaining proper positioning, incorporating wrist wraps for support, and exploring alternative exercises, individuals can minimize wrist pain while still effectively targeting their biceps.

Remember to prioritize your wrist health to maximize your workout experience.