Kinesiology of Exercise

Reverse WristCurl (Wrist Extension/Hyperextension)

Because wrist flexion is so important in sports and bodybuilding, the extensor muscles are usually ignored. However, the extensors play an important role in maintaining the correct muscle balance at the wrist. In addition, you need well developed wrist extensors to
hold your hand in position while you do many activities with your hand and fingers with accuracy. To develop the wrist extensors/hyperextensors, you should do the reverse wrist curl.

Major Muscles and Actions Involved

The extensor carpi radialis longus and brevis and the extensor carpi ulnaris are involved in wrist joint extension-hyperextension. In this action the back of your hand moves toward your forearm from a wrist flexed position.

Sports Uses

The action of wrist joint extension and the muscles involved are most important in the racquet sports when you hit backhand shots. In addition, strong wrist extensors are important for precise movements when you execute wrist and finger flexion. It is important to understand that the main finger extensors are also assistant wrist extensors. If these muscles are weak, you will have difficulty holding your hand in position when doing precise movements with a ball or using other objects such as a baseball bat or golf club.

Exercise Analysis

  • To be most effective, you should perform reverse wrist curls through a full range of motion. This means that you must move your hands through approximately 100-150 degrees of motion. The exact amount will depend upon your flexibility and the amount of weight you are using. However, if you find that you are moving your hands through only about 45 degrees, then you are probably using too much weight or have too tight a grip.
  • Keep in mind that the heavier the weight, the stronger you must grip it. Because the main finger muscles are located in the forearm, the tendons that cross the wrist become taut when you lift the weight and do not allow any wrist action. Therefore, use a relaxed grip (as much as possible) while raising and lowering the weights. If you have long fingers or large hands and have difficulty doing the exercise, you should use a two-inch bar.
  • The extensor carpi radialis longus and brevis and the extensor carpi ulnaris cross both the wrist and elbow joints and have an action at each end. Thus, in order to get a maximal contraction at the wrist, you must keep your elbows firmly stabilized. To do this, hold the elbows firmly in place on the bench.
  • In order to elicit a stronger contraction of the muscles involved, you should stretch and tense them prior to their contraction. You accomplish this at the wrist when you lower the weights maximally to get full flexion. However, do not hold the down position as the muscles will then begin to relax.
  • To stretch and tense the muscles at the elbow, you should keep your arms flexed at a 90-degree (or less) angle in the elbow joints. This is most easily done if you "lean over" your arms with your upper body during execution. This position also prevents you from involving elbow joint extension (by raising your elbows off the bench) to make it easier to raise the weights. 
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