How to Increase Wrist Size

Some bodybuilders consider skinny wrists a blessing, while others prefer thick, bigger wrists. 

Assuming that you fall in the latter group, you must be looking for ways to increase the size of the wrists, isn’t it? Perhaps, you want to pack on muscles or simply increase their size because you’ve been body-shamed for having skinny wrists. 

Whatever the reason, the good news is that you can increase wrist size without undergoing painful surgical procedures. In fact, you don’t even need fancy machines to train; a dumbbell and a few strength training exercises will do the trick. 

Other than increasing the cortical thickness of the wrists, these compound exercises will strengthen your forearms and grips. So, sit back and relax as we walk you through effective ways to increase wrist size and everything that you need to know about having skinny wrists.

Dealing With Skinny Wrists– A Complete Guide On How To Increase Wrist Size

How To Know Your Wrist Size?

Physical activity, bone mass, and genetic makeup– are three main factors that determine the size of the wrists. 

Now the question is– how do you know if you have small wrists? If you’re wondering the same, let us reveal one of the easiest ways to determine your wrist size. 

All you need to do is wrap your index finger and thumb around the wrist to know its exact size. The distance between the tips of your two fingers decides whether you have a big, average, or small wrist. 

Here’s how you can figure out your wrist size without using a measuring tape:

1. Large Wrist – When the thumb and index finger don’t touch each other after wrapping them around your wrist, you probably have a large wrist. 

2. Average Wrist – If the index finger and thumb touch each other, you have an average-size wrist. 

3. Small Wrist – You have a small wrist when your thumb and index finger overlap one another. 

Reasons Why People Have Small Or Skinny Wrists

Ever heard of the famous quote of Jane Green, “nothing in this world happens without a reason?” – the same goes for skinny wrists. Honestly, there are two main culprits that play a role in determining the size of your wrists, which we’ve listed below. 

1. Genetics

One of the primary reasons people have skinny wrists is genetics. Not many know that DNA influences our bone structure, which in turn determines the shape and size of our wrists.

Dr. Hong Weng Den of the Tulane School of Medicine claims that the size of the bones of the wrist, hip, and spine is more than 50% hereditary. This means that if any of your parents have slender or skinny wrists, you’re likely to have them. 

Bone mineral mass and density are other factors that determine our wrist size. According to research, familial resemblance for mineral mass is exhibited before puberty, and nearly 37% of bone traits are influenced by maternal descents. 

So, our wrist size and bone structure are literally embedded in our DNAs even before birth.

2. Low Testosterone

Your testosterone levels can be the culprit behind slim wrists. It is believed that the T levels influence bone growth, which is why people with low testosterone levels have slender wrists. 

Along with testosterone, estrogen plays an important role in bone health maintenance in both men and women. For this reason, estrogen deficiency due to menopause causes osteoporosis in women, while the lack of age-related testosterone is responsible for the condition in men. 

7 Simple Yet Effective Exercises For Increasing Wrist Size

The journey to getting thicker wrists is not easy; you’ll achieve your goals only through load-bearing workouts. In this section, we’ll share the 7 best exercises that will prove useful in increasing your wrist size. 

1. Knuckle Push-Ups

Would you believe it if we told you that push-ups are one of the most effective exercises for increasing the wrist size and making them stronger? 

While most bodybuilders do push-ups regularly to burn calories and improve functional strength, you can do it to increase wrist size and strengthen them. But there’s a twist: you’ll have to do knuckle push-ups instead of the regular ones. 

Contrary to regular ones where the palm is kept on the floor, you’ll have to place the knuckles on the floor. As it is done with fists closed, it will put a lot of pressure on your wrists and forearms. 

While doing this exercise, it is common to notice a lateral movement as you push your chest forward to the ground. This movement activates the forearm muscles and builds grip strength better than regular push-ups. 

A word of caution: make sure your thumbs are outside the fist, or you’ll end up injuring them. 

If you’re a novice bodybuilder, you may find it challenging to do full-body push-ups. But don’t worry; you can do knee push-ups on your knuckles for about 20 to 30 reps. 

More often than not, push-ups are done with a bit of space between the two wrists. However, you can bring both wrists closer or keep them apart if you want. 

There’s no sugarcoating it: knuckle push-ups are challenging and hurt a lot, so we suggest you avoid doing them on the floor. Either use a yoga mat or get a set of two push-up handles, so you won’t hurt your wrists. 

2. Curls And Extension Workout

Curls usually target the biceps, but you can also use them to strengthen your forearms. Usually, wrists are kept straight in bicep curls to build strength; however, you can mix them up and use straight and flat bars if you want. For hypertrophy, you’ll have to perform 8 to 12 reps about 3-5 times. 

Besides curls, extension workouts are excellent for wrists as they strengthen the outer forearms. All you need to do is hold a weight, place the forearms on any flat surface and raise your hands towards the ceiling. 

Barbells, kettlebells, and dumbbells– are perfect for curls and extension workouts. While it’s possible to increase wrist size without lifting weights, such equipment helps you achieve your goals quickly. 

If not weights, you can go for resistance bands, as they are available in different weights from light to heaviest. Plus, they are portable, which is why they are preferred by most people. 

3. Hand Grips

Aside from dumbbells and other similar equipment, you can use hand grips to stretch and strengthen your forearm muscles. Anyone who has seen a hand grip knows how it works– simply squeeze it hard with all your might, and that’s it. 

One perk of using hand grips is that you can do this workout whenever and wherever you want, as they are portable. Also, they are easy on the pockets compared to other gym equipment. 

As they are easy to use, you may want to use them as often as you want, but overusing them is a big no-no! Or, you’ll end up with sore muscles and, even worse– joint injuries, leading to health complications. 

4. Pull-Ups, Chin-Ups, And Deadlifts

Bodybuilders perform pull-ups and chin-ups for upper body muscles and deadlifts for lower body muscles. 

But did you know that these compound exercises can prove helpful in increasing your wrist size? Precisely, any exercise or heavy equipment that requires squeezing a bar with weight plates attached to it strengthens forearm muscles. 

For compound exercises, going to a gym is a must unless you have a home gym. While chin-ups target the biceps, pull-ups improve standing posture and strengthen the upper back. As for deadlift, it targets all muscle groups, such as the back, abdomen, thigh, and glutes. 

Lifting bars regularly will make your wrists bigger and thicker, so you’ll achieve goals sooner than ever.

5. Farmers Walk With Dumbbells

Those who don’t dread lifting dumbbells must do farmers walk with them to get rid of their skinny wrists. All you need to do is lift the equipment and carry it to a distance for about a few minutes. 

On the surface, you may find this activity easier than others, but don’t be mistaken. That’s because it puts a lot of pressure on the forearms, so make sure you’re prepared for it. 

Initially, you must start your training with less weight and add more weight slowly and steadily. Or, if you don’t wish to lift heavy weights, we suggest walking extra to work your forearms. 

Always do the farmer’s walk after wrapping up the strength training session and under the supervision of a certified instructor. 

6. Dips

All those who find knuckle push-ups challenging must consider dips, as it is perfect for building forearms, biceps, triceps, pecs, and shoulders. 

Dips are more effective than push-ups because you can add more load without putting undue stress on your wrists. And the best part? You can do it anywhere you want– gym, home, or parks. 

7. Kettlebell Swings

We’d be honest– you need tremendous grip strength to pull off kettlebell swings, especially when performing several reps. 

For most parts, this exercise is similar to deadlifts, but it is slightly complicated, particularly if you’re a beginner. While doing kettlebell swings, you’ll have to keep your head in a neutral position, back straight, and feet shoulder width apart. 

And if you dread the thought of hitting the gym, we suggest buying a kettlebell after consulting a professional to perform kettlebell swings at your convenience. 

Things To Remember Before Starting Wrist Exercises

While you may want to get started with the ways mentioned above as soon as possible, we suggest you hang in there. That’s because these exercises aren’t easy and can prove dangerous if done incorrectly. 

Whether you’re a novice or a pro bodybuilder, you must always consult a doctor and perform these exercises under the supervision of a certified trainer. That being said, we’ve listed some pointers that you must keep in mind before starting your training to increase wrist size. 

  • Using a one to three timing is beneficial 
  • Take one second to go from rest to curl and three seconds to return to rest. 
  • Small motions are a big no-no! 
  • Don’t forget to stretch before and after every session to avoid sore muscles. 
  • Avoid training on days when your body isn’t in full spirits. 
  • Stop your training if any body part starts to ache 
  • Overtraining won’t take you anywhere except the hospital 
  • Work only three days a week to keep yourself healthy. 
  • Consulting a doctor is an absolute necessity to detect underlying health issues.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How to measure wrist size using a tape?

First off, wrap your wrist with a measuring tape in the area where you wear a watch to calculate its circumference. To measure your wrist accurately, keep the tape as close to the palm as possible. 

There are no precise units of linear measurements when it comes to measuring wrist size. So, you can measure in inches as well as centimeters, or whichever unit you find convenient. Next, jot down the measurement in a notepad or your phone and measure your wrist after every 4 weeks to monitor progress. 

Q2. Does wrist size increase with age?

Yes, our wrist size increases with age, but the impact isn’t as significant as you’d think. Usually, the wrist stops growing between 17 and 25 years of age, so it grows only during childhood and teenage years. So, people over 25 years will have to turn to load-bearing exercises to increase their wrist size. 

Wrapping It Up

Getting rid of skinny or slim wrists is challenging but not impossible. In fact, some bodybuilders consider themselves lucky to have been blessed with slim wrists because they make forearms appear bigger. 

With patience and regular training, you’ll increase your wrist size by about 1-2 inches. But remember, dedication is the key to achieving your goal, so make sure you work out regularly. 

We’ll wind up our guide for today. Adios, folks! 

Niklas Lampi

My name is Niklas Lampi and I work as a fitness writer, nutritional consultant and personal trainer. My favourite exercise is the bench press and my favourite food is pizza!

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