Barbell Finger Curl
- Sit at the end of an exercise bench.
- Grasp a barbell with a closed, supinated (palms facing upward) and shoulder-width grip.
- Place the backside of your forearms on your thighs so your wrists and hands can hang over the edge of your knees.
- Keep arms firmly placed over thighs at all times throughout the movement.
- Extend wrists, allowing the barbell to roll down to your fingers to that your fingers are holding weight of the barbell.
Upward movement/concentric phase:
- Flex the wrists, lifting barbell upward. Wrap the fingers around the barbell as the wrists bend.
- Keep arms stationary and as only the wrists should be moving.
Downward movement/eccentric phase:
- In a controlled fashion, allow the wrists to extend back, rolling the bar back into the fingers as with the starting position.
FAQ'S & FACTS ABOUT Barbell Finger Curl
What Is A Barbell Finger Curl
A finger curl is a resistance exercise, which involves the primary wrist flexors, the flexor carpi radialis and flexor carpi ulnaris. It is a variation of the wrist curl that involves the fingers in the movement to place a greater stretch on the wrist flexors. This exercise is performed seated with an Olympic bar or other barbell alternative.
The concentric portion of the lift is wrist flexion, which involves the lifting of the weight. The eccentric portion is wrist extension, which involves the descent of the weight.
The purpose of finger curls is to strengthen the wrist flexors while promoting hypertrophy (increases in size) of the forearms.
Why Do A Barbell Finger Curl?
Finger curls strengthen and increase the size of the primary wrist flexors, the flexor carpi radialis and flexor carpi ulnaris. This exercise also engages the finger flexors, flexor digitorum superficialis and flexor digitourm profundus as they aid in wrist flexion from the starting position. This starting position, that involves the barbell held in the fingers, places an increased stretch on the wrist flexors, activating wrist flexors to a greater extent.
Finger curls increase the size of the wrist flexors, increasing forearm strength and aesthetics. Stronger forearms also complement exercise performance when training larger muscle groups and with multi-joint exercises.
Anatomy Of A Barbell Finger Curl
The wrist flexors are located on the front of the forearms with their origins on the medial side of the elbows (with palms facing out, the side of the elbow closest to your body). Their insertions are located at the wrists and hands. Upon wrist flexion, you can see superficial tendons of the wrist flexors rise near their point of insertion at the wrist.
The two primary wrist flexors are the flexor carpi radialis and the flexor carpi ulnaris. The flexor carpi radialis originates at the medial epicondyle of the humerus at the elbow joint and inserts at the base of the second and third metacarpals of the hand.
The flexor carpi ulnaris is a two-headed muscle originating at the medial epicondyle of the humerus and the olecranon process of the elbow. Its insertion is at the pisiform and hamate carpal bones at the wrist and at the base of the fifth metacarpal of the hand.
Aiding in wrist flexion are the flexor digitorum superficialis and flexor digitorum profundus. The flexor digitorum superficialis is a two-headed muscle that is located under the flexor carpi radialis and flexor carpi ulnaris. It originates at the medial epicondyle of the humerus, the coronoid process of the ulna and the shaft of the radius. It inserts by four tendons into the middle phalanges of all fingers except the thumb.
The flexor digitorum profundus, as its name suggests, is a deep muscle, located underneath the flexor digitorum superficialis. Its origin is located at the anteromedial surface of the ulna and at the interosseous membrane (located between the ulna and radius). Like the flexor digitorum superficialis, the insertion of the flexor digitorum profundus inserts by four tendons into the phalanges of all fingers except the thumb, but at the distal portion of the phalanges (further down the finger bones).
Aiding in wrist flexion while also providing stability is the palmaris longus. The palmaris longus is a small muscle that runs superficially down the forearm with the flexor carpi radialis and flexor carpi ulnaris at each side. Its origin is located at the medial epicondyle of the humerus and inserts at the fascia of the palm of the hand.
Variations Of A Barbell Finger Curl
Barbell wrist curls, cable wrist curls, dumbbell wrist curls, reverse wrist curls (wrist extension).
How To Improve Your Barbell Finger Curls
Finger curls improve the strength and performance of the wrist flexors, improving forearm contribution to other exercises. Finger curls also complement the aesthetics of the forearms by increasing their size.
Forearm training should be done at the end of an exercise session that trains back and/or biceps to not jeopardize the quality of exercise when training larger muscle groups. This will also, complement the activation of the forearms that has occurred during your back and biceps training. Perform a few sets of wrist curls/finger curls followed by wrist extensions to ensure you’re targeting both sides of the forearm.
Focus on the concentric portion of the contraction, concentrating on “squeezing” at the end of wrist flexion as the barbell is curled all the way.
Emphasis on eccentric contractions, prolonging the eccentric portion of the contraction, may also be incorporated in a training program focused on increasing strength. This should be implemented accordingly and with adequate muscle recovery as eccentric contractions cause substantial damage to muscle tissue.
Strategically varying your intensity (load) and volume (number of repetitions in a set) will optimize forearm development with time.
Common Mistakes When Doing Barbell Finger Curls
Training forearms before training larger muscle groups can decrease the quality of a lifting session if forearm muscles are fatigued initially. Many resistance exercises (e.g. biceps exercises) activate the forearm muscles in the process to assist with larger muscles. This is why it is important to train them after training large muscles, at the end of a session.
Bouncing the barbell at the bottom of the movement before the upward phase can result in wrist and/or finger injury. Therefore, it is important to control the downward and upward phases of the exercise.
Injuries Or Ailments & Their Effects Regarding Barbell Finger Curls
If proper technique is not adhered to (e.g. dropping the weight quickly instead of controlling the descent on the eccentric portion of the lift, lifting a load too heavy for the lifter), the likelihood of injury increases.
If proper recovery is not implemented between training days for optimal muscle repair of the wrist flexors, the wrist flexors’ tendons become inflamed. Without proper rest and treatment, the inflammation remains and results in tendonitis.