When exercising, strengthening your wrists and forearms might be the furthest thing from your mind. Like many women, you probably focus on common problem areas, such as your thighs, tush, tummy or the back of your upper arms. Strengthening wrists and forearms, however, can make life a lot easier. For instance, it can improve your grip strength, which helps you carry those heavy grocery bags and open jars, bottles and doors. You might also impress your friends during a game of golf or tennis as your stronger grip translates into improved athletic performance on the course or court.
Hold a set of dumbbells in your hands and sit on a chair with your knees bent 90 degrees and your feet on the floor. If you're new to this exercise, start with lightweight dumbbells and as you get stronger, slowly increase the weight.
Lean forward and place your forearms on your upper legs, making sure that your hands extend past your knees. The dumbbells should be horizontal in your hands with your palms facing up.
Bend your wrists backward and lower your hands down as far as you can, bringing your knuckles toward your knees. Pause one second and curl your wrists up as far as you can so your knuckles point up at the ceiling. Keep your forearms still during the exercise -- only your wrists and hands move. Repeat this motion eight to 12 times and complete three sets.
Rest for one to two minutes and do reverse wrist curls. Reverse your grip so your palms face the floor, bend your wrists and lower your hands down toward your knees as far as you can. Pause one second and slowly reverse the motion, bending your wrist back as far as you can so your palms face away from your body. Complete three sets of eight to 12 reps.
The Towel Walk
Lay a towel open on the floor and place a dumbbell in the middle of it. Bunch the ends of the towel together so it resembles a bag with a dumbbell in it. Start with a light dumbbell and as your grip strengthens, increase the weight. Alternatively, use a large pack of sugar of flour instead of a dumbbell.
Extend your arms at your sides and hold the ends of the towel in your right hand so your palm faces backward and your index finger and thumb are below your pinky finger. The weight of the dumbbell will force you to tighten your grip.
Walk around the room while carrying the weighted towel. When you feel yourself losing your grip, switch hands and continue walking. Do the exercise three times with each hand.
Grasp a barbell with a shoulder-width, underhand grip so your palms face up, and stand with your feet hip-width apart and your knees slightly bent. To start, use a lightweight barbell or just the barbell bar. As you get stronger, increase the weight. Alternatively, use dumbbells.
Pull in your tummy so your abs tighten and help support your lower back. Pretend you're trying to zip up jeans that are one size too small.
Curl the barbell up until your elbows are bent 90 degrees. Keep your elbows tucked into your sides and your back straight.
Hold this position for up to 90 seconds before releasing the tension and lowering your arms down. Repeat this exercise three times. To stimulate your muscles in a slightly different manner, widen your grip by wrapping a towel around the barbell.
- Do strengthening exercises before a mirror so you can monitor your form.
- Consult your doctor before beginning strengthening exercises, especially if you have an injury or medical condition.
Kimberly Caines is a well traveled model, writer and licensed physical fitness trainer who was first published in 1997. Her work has appeared in the Dutch newspaper "De Overschiese Krant" and on various websites. Caines holds a degree in journalism from Mercurius College in Holland and is writing her first novel.