Cable Standing Wrist Curl

Start Position
End Position

Starting position:

  1. Adjust the pulley height to the lowest level, adjacent to the floor.
  2. Grasp the D-handle attachment with a closed grip and turn sideways to the crossover station, holding weight at your side. The palm of your hand holding the D-handle should be facing your body.
  3. Extend arm straight down and keep a slight bend in the elbow.
  4. Extend wrist, allowing the D-handle to roll down to your fingers so that your fingers are holding the weight.
  5. Keep good posture, standing straight, looking straight ahead and with a slight bend in the knees throughout the entire movement.

Upward movement/concentric phase:

  1. Flex wrist, lifting the D-handle upward. Wrap the fingers around the handle as the wrist bends.
  2. Keep arms stationary, as only the wrists should be moving.

Downward movement/eccentric phase:

    1. In a controlled fashion, allow the wrist to extend, rolling the D-handle back into the fingers as with the starting position.
    2. Complete the set with one arm and repeat with the opposite arm.
Do not bounce your hand at the bottom of the movement when proceeding to the next repetition/concentric phase. Do not hold your breath. Exhale during the concentric phase and inhale during the eccentric phase.


Exercise Data

  • Primary Muscles: Flexor carpi radialis, Flexor carpi ulnaris
  • Synergists: Flexor digitorum superficialis, palmaris longus, flexor digitorum profundus
  • Stabilizers: Palmaris longus
  • Type: Strength, hypertrophy, muscular endurance
  • Mechanics: Wrist flexion
  • Equipment: Cable crossover station and D-handle attachment
  • Lever: 1st class lever
  • Level: Intermediate to advanced
  • FAQ'S & FACTS ABOUT Cable Standing Wrist Curl

    What Is A Cable Standing Wrist Curl?

    A standing cable wrist curl is a resistance exercise, which involves the primary wrist flexors, the flexor carpi radialis and flexor carpi ulnaris. This exercise is performed standing, one arm at a time and with a D-handle held at the lifter’s side.

    The concentric portion 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 the standing wrist curls is to strengthen the wrist flexors while promoting hypertrophy (increases in size) of the forearms.

    Why Do A Cable Standing Wrist Curl?

    Standing cable wrist 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 weight held in the fingers places an increased stretch on the wrist flexors, activating wrist flexors to a greater extent.

    Performing this exercise with a cable provides constant resistance throughout the entire range of motion. The unilateral fashion of this exercise allows the lifter to focus on one arm at a time, isolating the contraction of the wrist flexors on both sides.

    Standing cable wrist curls allow the lifter to target their wrist flexors from a different angle as the D-handle attachment is held at the lifter’s side and curled straight up. This exercise may also place less stress on the wrists compared to other wrist curl variations, as the wrists do not extend as far back.

    This exercise increases 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 Cable Standing Wrist 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 Cable Standing Wrist Curl

    Standing dumbbell wrist curls, cable wrist curls, cable finger curls, behind-the-back barbell wrist curls, barbell wrist curls, finger curls, dumbbell wrist curls.

    How To Improve Your Cable Standing Wrist Curls

    Standing cable wrist curls improve the strength and performance of the wrist flexors, improving forearm contribution to other exercises. Wrist curls also complement the aesthetics of the forearms by increasing their size. This exercise allows the lifter to focus on one arm at a time, which may translate to improved strength and hypertrophy gains.

    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 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 weight 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 Cable Standing Wrist 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 weight at the bottom of the movement before the upward phase can result in wrist injury. Therefore, it is important to control the downward and upward phases of the exercise.

    Injuries Or Ailments & Their Effects Regarding Cable Standing Wrist 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.