Let’s face it: forearm and wrist pain suck, especially when you’re trying to train biceps in particular.

Straight bar curls have always been considered as the basic bread and butter of solid biceps training. But, while they certainly are a great way to progressively overload your biceps for ongoing arm gains, many lifters end up with nagging wrist and forearm pain after performing heavy curls over a period of several months or years.

In today’s post, I’m going to share 5 easy tips you can employ right away to take that unwanted stress off of your wrists and forearms and place it straight back onto your biceps where it belongs…

Tip #1: Lighten The Load

This tip is the most obvious one, but if you’re going overboard on total weight and aren’t performing your curls with proper textbook form at all times, it’s no wonder that your wrists and forearms are hurting.

Always make sure you’re using a weight that you can execute at least 5 perfect reps with by keeping your elbows pinned at your sides at all times, shoulders stationary, back relatively straight, and minimal to no momentum as you curl the weights up and down.

Tip #2: Align Your Wrists In A Neutral Or Slightly Extended Position

When most people perform their bicep curls, they end up flexing their wrist and forearm at the same time. This places a lot of undue stress on these areas that can definitely add up over time.

From now on, make sure that your wrists remain either neutral, or even better, slightly extended whenever you execute your curling movements.

This will keep the majority of the tension on your biceps while taking the stress off of your wrists and forearms at the same time.

Tip #3: Don’t Grip The Bar Too Wide Or Too Narrow

The proper grip width for a straight bar curl should be at about shoulder width apart.

If you go too wide (several inches or more outside shoulder width) or too narrow (several inches or more inside shoulder width), you’ll place your wrists into an awkward, unnatural position that will greatly increases the chances of wrist and forearm pain.

Tip #4: Use An EZ-Curl Bar Instead Of A Straight Bar

If you’ve employed the previous 3 tips and are still experiencing a reasonable amount of pain, the next option would be to perform this exercise using an ez-curl bar rather than a straight bar.

The ez-curl bar places your grip at a slight inward angle that puts less overall stress on the wrists and forearms.

However, keep in mind that this particular angle also slightly reduces the tension on the biceps at the same time and instead shifts some of the load onto the brachialis, which is a separate muscle on the side of the arm between the biceps and triceps.

Because of this, I’d only recommend making this switch if you can’t find any way to make your straight bar curls more comfortable.

Tip #5: Ditch The Barbells Altogether And Use Dumbbells Instead

With dumbbells, there’s virtually no limit to the different grips and angles you can place your wrists at.

Try experimenting with different variations until you find the one that’s most comfortable for you, whether it’s performing your curls palms up, in a supinating fashion or even using a pure hammer grip. (Just keep in mind that, like the ez-curl bar, a hammer style grip will also shift some stress off of the biceps and onto the brachialis.)

You could also try switching it up a bit with an exercise such as a standing single arm cable curl.

Quick Review

So, to quickly recap the 5 tips I’ve outlined to eliminate bicep curl wrist pain…

1) Make sure you’re using a weight that you can execute at least 5 reps with in perfect form.

2) Keep your wrists at a neutral or slightly extended angle as you curl the weight up and down.

3) Always use a grip that is roughly shoulder width apart.

4) If the above 3 tips don’t solve the problem, use an ez-curl bar instead of a straight bar.

5) Experiment with different grips and angles using dumbbells until you find the one that is most comfortable for you.

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