T Nation

Any Help for Wrist Size, Not Forearms?


My weakest body part are my wrists. Its the weak link between my hands and my arms and subsequently my core. In fact my right wrist hurts as soon as I try to bench (I work through this pain). When I buy a watch I have to punch new holes in it because of how tiny my pathetic wrists are.

Is it just a matter of bulking up and lifting heavy or are the wrists just kind of the way they are? I've been training for about 6 months now and have gone from a skinny guy to fairly muscular but my wrists have remained tiny.

I was sparring with a student of mine and he punched my wrist on accident and it stung terribly. Meanwhile after our sparring match he commented that I had a 6 pack - the first person to ever do so. Its horrible that I've made so much progress and yet my wrists are still so tiny.

I do deadlifts and pull-ups and whenever I touch a plate I pinch grip it and my forearms have definitely gotten bigger but not my wrists.

Maybe its my own insecurities about having such small wrists but I think it also is a bit demasculating - I mean shit I can't even wear a decent men's watch.


Hey Ryan,

I'm the same way. Honestly I don't think your bone structure (i.e. wrist size) will change much at this point.

People like us weren't meant to lift extremely heavy weights. No excuse; just reality.
This sounds questionable but look at the wrist sizes of any "big" or powerhouse guy, be he in bodybuilding, power=lifting, MMA or sports in general. Big wrists = more potential.

I'd guess that you could get an aesthetic physique though, as most of the time you'll have narrow joints (offset by large muscles hopefully) which accentuate a tapered, chiseled look. So there's something going for us..


If your wrists are unusually thin/frail, things like straight bar benching and in my experience straight bar curling will cause pain and possibly eventually lead to injuries down the track if you're thick headed about it.

If the pain is that noticeable as soon as you try to bench do something about it, don't be stupid about it trying to be tough, wrap it up with something like these:


and then you're probably good to go, and for other movements find alternatives that don't stress the wrist as much, eg. EZ Bar/dumbell curls, using neutral grip on as many movements as possible like db presses/rows and chins.

And don't sell yourself short before you've even got anywhere, just cause you got small wrists doesn't mean you can't get strong as shit, sure you might not break powerlifting records but who the fuck will, joints DO get stronger, and slightly larger, though at a much much slower pace, tendons and bones do thicken, maybe not enough to make your wrists way thicker, but strong enough to support the loads that will get you bigger, just wrap up with the right support and the shit'll sort itself out


Man thats kind of depressing - I have some boxing wraps which are pretty much the same as the item you linked for when I do heavy bag work I suppose I can wear those while lifting. I guess the only question I have is:

I was hoping to get strong enough to compete in a Novice or LW strongman competition do you think its possible. Right now I can bench 160lbs so I obviously have a lot of strength work to go before I'd be able to but in terms of my wrist abilities. I currently Deadlift 250lbs x 5reps. If 160lbs is hurting my wrists can I ever hope to achieve a 200+ bench? Would bulking up and gaining some weight even help?


Hmm seems my internet crapped out on me (I'm in Samoa on dial-up since I see you're in Australia).

I have some wraps for heavy bag I suppose I can wear while benching. If 160lb bench is hurting my wrists think I'd ever be able to clear the 200lb mark.... was kinda hoping to bulk up a bit and try my hand at novice or lw strongman competition. Will gaining weight even help cause so far I look at photos from when I start working out and through the series (I regularly photograph my progress) the only thing that seemingly hasn't changed at all are my wrists.


Obviously its hard to judge because you don't know any specifics but in general would competing in a Novice or Lightweight division Strongman competition be ever possible or probably not?

Strength wise I've got a ways to go but was hoping in a year or so to be able to give it a go. Currently I can bench 160lbs and deadlift 250lbs both in sets, I've never really tested for a 1RM. The deadlift doesn't hurt and really once I get goin a bit the bench doesn't hurt to bad but the first few lifts on the bench hurt like crazy on my right wrist (I'm left handed).


i've been blessed with tiny wrists too man. you just gotta start light and work up to heavier weights. do lots of grip work too.

deadlifts, DB rows and shrugs and if you can get your hands on a thick bar, use that for all you can.

snag a gripper if you have to as well.

i've got super tiny wrists as well but don't let that stop you. i've got a pretty good bench for size so don't let it be the end of the world for you.


Are you serious! The first couple responses are absolutely stupid. Wrap your wrists and lift heavy as you can with out pain. increase the weight on the bar over time and your bones will get stronger and thicker. People who work the weights have thicker stronger bones. Just cause your wrists are small does not mean they have to stay that way.

Lifting weights streeses more than just muscle. Stress stengthens the body, including you bones. 6 months is not enough time to gain the progress your looking for, KEEP LIFTING.


Are you benching with straight wrists or bent wrists? Of course you need some angle, but an excessive arch is usually painfull for most people no matter which wrists you were born with.

There's a powerlifter at my gym who benches 450 or so, weighs 200 and he has the same problem as you so it's not impossible.

Train your wrists, buy some wraps and kick some ass! :slight_smile:


What is defined as tiny? My wrists are 7 inches, I feel that's pretty tiny, but could be worse.

I have girl-sized hands thought. Seriously, they're the same size of my sister and mother. Makes gripping hard.


My wrist is a little larger than 6 inches and I have wonderful girlish hands as well (well some girl have them even bigger ...)
When I started training I had wrist pains from everything. But with time I've been able to bench 95-100 kg with no pain at all. The only thing that can give the pain back now are mostly curls where the wrists are supinated, so I'm not doing them much.


yup, builds tiny fractures on your bones that are actually stronger than the bone itself...


Ah sorry about kinda double posting it didn't seem to go through the first time.

Without measuring with a string and ruler I'd estimate its somewhere between 5 1/2" and 6" in circumference. Definitely less than 7"

I have wrist wraps I use for the heavy bag I suppose I can use for the bench as well.

Found some page ectomorph-gainmass.blogspot.com and just saved each page to read later tonight not sure if any of its terribly useful.


Indeed, so stupid you spent all of your post repeating one of them.


I have 6inch wrists and I have no problems...


Things like deadlifts, chin-ups, wrist flexion/extension will work your forearms yes. However the muscle belly of the forearm extensor/flexor are a little higher than your wrists. I think what you need to work on for wrist "size" is more your pronator/supinators. They are located fairly close to the wrist The way I train these initially is to grab a broomstick and hold it towards the end on one side. From ther eextend your arm out in front of you and rotate side to side
From there you can progress to a dumbbell with plates on one side for resistance. Obviously start with small plates

Look at this site and it should give you a good idea


Couple means two. sorry you took offense. Really small bones does not mean you have bad genes. Hard work pays off. Small wrists does not mean you can't break powerlifting records. A 132 pounder that benches over 300 has small wrists. I know the guy and he does big weight for a 132 pounder. Mind-set is a huge problem for some people I guess your own mental barriers will stop you before you small wrists do.


Cephalic_Carnage said he had wrists that were on the smaller side. Yet over time the did build up to some degree. Just use wrist wraps, use proper form and worry more about progressing, eating enough and doing exercises that don't aggravate your wrists/elbows. I have small wrists. Yet This is not going to stop me from lifting or boxing, which I love to do.