The Critical Body logo

Best wrist roller exercise device for forearms and grip strength in 2021

Find the best wrist roller for your specific needs and budget.
Written By Liam Brown
Last Updated on 22nd March 2021
Critical Body independently researches and reviews exercise equipment. Purchases made through our links may earn us an affiliate commission. See our disclosure page for more information.
A man using a wrist roller exercise device.

Many people forget all about the wrist roller during their forearm workouts. And that’s a big mistake. Using a forearm roller not only builds colossal lower arms it also develops enviable grip strength.

In addition to showing you the best wrist roller picks for gaining serious size and strength, I’ll explain how forearm rollers can transform your lower arms if you use them correctly.

Related post: forearm exercises without weights

Top 5 best wrist roller workout devices

The best wrist roller for you depends on your needs and budget. A novice can get away with a cheap wrist roller, but a professional strongman will definitely need something more heavy-duty.

1. Grip Freak hanging Wrist Roller (best overall)

LPGmuscle Grip Freak Thick Grip Wrist Roller with Dumbbell Loading Hook

If you just want the top wrist roller on the market, then look no further than the incredible Grip Freak Wrist Roller. This fat grip training device builds the forearms like nothing else can because your hands and fingers, which are where many of your forearm muscles actually insert into, have to work overtime to maintain a firm grip on this beastly forearm wrist roller.

Unlike average wrist rollers, which often feel more like front delt devices, this genius Grip Freak invention lets you focus 100% of your attention on hammering your forearms because you can suspend it from almost anywhere and thus completely remove your shoulders from the movement.

If you want to buy once and train with it for life, then go with Grip Freak.

The range of motion also feels remarkably smooth thanks to the frictionless Bearing Drive Roller Unit that enables you to blast your forearms by maintaining a consistent lifting rhythm.

And if you’re still on the fence, then you needn't worry. Because in addition to the unreal commercial-grade construction, this one-of-a-kind wrist roller machine comes with a lifetime replacement warranty. Good look finding that combination elsewhere!

Pros
  • Slip Grip handles provide unrivaled forearm recruitment
  • Frictionless lifting motion thanks to the quality patented design
  • Heavy-duty construction is backed by a lifetime warranty
  • Removes shoulder involvement for maximum forearm isolation
Cons
  • Expensive

2. SideWinder Pro Xtreme (most portable)

Sidewinder ProXtreme Original – The Ultramodern Finger, Hand, Wrist, Forearm, Fat Grip Strengthener #3, Adjustable Resistance

The Sidewinder Pro Xtreme is handmade in the USA from damage-resistant steel and heavy-duty aluminum tubing. As such, this sturdy wrist roller exercise device is virtually indestructible. And Sport Grips, the company which manufactures the Sidewinder, are willing to give you complete peace of mind while your pump up your forearms with the Pro Extreme by guaranteeing it with a lifetime warranty.

Due to its 2" thick diameter handles (well above the 1-1.5" industry average), you'll get larger forearms faster by working out with the Pro Extreme because the padded handles recruit more muscle fibers in your forearms, fingers, and hands—on every set.

Unlike other forearm rollers, the Sidewinder provides infinite resistance in all directions. So no matter if you roll it with just one hand or if you roll it backward, your lower arms will still benefit from the silky smooth resistance.

The SideWinder Pro Xtreme requires zero weights and provides infinite, challenging resistance—you'll definitely feel it in your forearms.

And since the resistance just keeps on coming, you don't have to ruin your lifting rhythm by stopping your set in order to lower or untangle the cord—there isn't a cord.

Best of all, the Pro Xtreme requires absolutely no weights. The innovative wrist roller cleverly generates its own internal resistance so that you can blast your forearms absolutely anywhere. So not only will you save time on going to the gym, but you also won't have to needlessly waste your time and energy trying to connect any weight plates to a cumbersome carabiner clip.

Moreover, the frictionless resistance is super simple to adjust. The tension levels range from beginner-level resistance that my grandma could lift all the way up to resistance that would challenge the strongest forearms on the planet.

And you get all of this for the price of a few nights away in a mediocre hotel. It's certainly not the absolute cheapest wrist roller, but considering that it'll provide you with a lifetime of workouts, it's clearly much better value than other forearm roller products in the long run.

Pros
  • Increases your forearm muscularity and strength in a matter of weeks
  • Handmade in the USA from sturdy steel and aluminum tubing
  • Thick handles engage more forearm, finger, and hand muscle fibers than those of a typical wrist rollers
  • Provides smooth, infinite resistance in all directions
  • Highly portable; train with your Sidewinder anywhere
  • Backed by a lifetime guarantee for peace of mind
Cons
  • Some people would have preferred knurling to the rubber handles
  • Expensive

3. Bison-1M (most exercise possibilities)

Forearm, Wrist, and Grip Strength Training Exercise Equipment Bison-1 - Forearm Exercise Equipment for Grip and Wrist Strengthening

The Bison 1 was created by leading Belarusian scientist and biomechanics expert Dr. Nikolai Sotsky. Although originally designed to strengthen the arms of special ops troops, the Bison-1 proved so effective that Dr. Sotsky has now released it to the gym going public.

Unlike your run-of-the-mill wrist roller, you can make more muscle gains by using the Bison 1 because it allows for a completely unrestricted range of motion. This freedom of movement not only results in greater hypertrophy by recruiting more muscle fibers, but it also keeps you safe and injury-free because your joints aren't forced into any unnatural positions.

Since the Bison is also capable of working your entire upper body, there are virtually limitless wrist roller workout possibilities—close to 100,000 if you add up all the possible exercise combinations.

"You can REALLY feel it in the forearms. Another thing I like about it is that you can use it at many different angles."
Jedd Johnson on the Bison-1M
DieselCrew.com

The Bison 1 is a popular choice for athletes, such as boxers, who heavily rely on their wrists and forearms during training and competition. Users report being able to punch harder and recover faster now that the Bison 1 has gotten their wrists and surrounding connective tissues better equipped at handling tension.

Yet, even if you're not a combat athlete, you can still benefit from using the Bison-1 on a regular basis (ideally 3x per week). The intense, forearm-burning workouts naturally result in noticeable muscle growth, yes. But they also help you develop better wrist control, which is essential in a variety of other sports and occupations.

Moreover, the greater forearm strength and wrist control will boost your gym performance because your lower arms will no longer give out prematurely now that they have the strength and work capacity that's needed to hold onto the weights securely.

The best part? Like the Sidewinder Pro Plus and the Sidewinder Revolution, the Bison-1M creates its own internal friction, which completely removes the need for weights. You can get a great workout wherever you are with this 3.3lb forearm exerciser. But I'm warning you, the muscle pumps will be intense, so go easy at first.

Pros
  • Increases your forearm muscularity and strength with regular use
  • No weights required thanks to the self-created resistance
  • Convenient handle ridges let you maintain a firm hold on your Bison at all times
  • You can train with the Bison 1 anywhere because it weighs just 3.3lbs
  • Developed by a renowned Belarusian scientist and praised by numerous professional athletes
  • Improves sporting performance by developing greater wrist control and lower arm strength
Cons
  • The sheer number of exercise possibilities may overwhelm a beginner
  • Quite expensive

4. IronMind Twist Yo Wrist (best for wrist deviations)

IronMind Twist Yo' Wrist

The IronMind Twist Yo Wrist weighs 2lbs and has 4" handles so that you can train the vital gripping muscles that are usually left understimulated in regular weight training routines.

The Sidewinder Grip Twister is the only wrist roller weight training device of this kind that has thicker grips. Unlike the Twist Yo Wrist, it also doesn't require any weights. However, at almost 3x the price, it's definitely reserved for those who're willing to pay for a premium product.

Twist Yo Wrist is very different from your average wrist roller. While 99% of rollers train forearm flexion and extension, due to the thumbs-up positioning of the Twist Yo Wrist, it primarily works radial and ulna deviation. These two movements are where you flex your wrists from side to side. In scientific terms, they refer to wrist adduction and wrist abduction respectively.

"I know you're thinking it just looks like a cheap bit of thick plastic, but it's actually a very durable and a very effective piece of equipment, which will take your forearm, your wrist, and your grip development to a whole different level."
Old School Strength
Forearm Development Specialist

Hardly any lifters train these two essential forearm functions. And as such, they leave themselves open to injuries because they have a weak link in the chain that can get exposed while lifting heavy. Similarly, by skipping these deviation movements, you're also leaving significant muscle growth on the table.

Of course, you can train radial and ulna deviation with dumbbells and just use your wrist roller for overall mass, which is what I do. But there's no denying that using the Twist Yo Wrist is the more convenient training method. But if it's pure muscle mass that you're after, then the IronMind One Wicked Wrist Roller is the superior choice because it lends itself better to heavier weights.

Also, with thick knurling on the handles, you'll always be able to maintain a firm grip on the Twist Yo Wrist even when your hands start to sweat. This will enable you to stimulate faster muscle growth by pushing yourself harder because you'll never need to worry about dropping the device.

The only downside is that it's not made from metal like many of the other wrist rollers in this article. Also, it doesn't come with a loading pin.

Pros
  • Made in the USA from a highly reputable strength equipment manufacturer (IronMind)
  • One of the only wrist rollers to train radial and ulna deviation
  • Thick handles maximize muscle fiber recruitment in your forearms, fingers, and hands
  • Integrated knurling helps you to maintain a firm hold on the roller even when your hands are sweating
  • Compatible with weight discs, dumbbells, kettlebells, and anything that you can connect to the climbing-grade cord
Cons
  • No loading pin
  • Plastic (but sturdy) construction

5. Vikingstrength Wrist Roller (best value)

Vikingstrength Forearm Blaster- Fat Thick Grips Forearm Strength Excercise Equipment for Men and Woman. Thick Wrist Roller Grips for Muscle Building and Injury Prevention Hand Grip Strengthener

If you just want a reliable wrist roller for a fair price that has a proven track record, then the Vikingstrength Forearm Blaster is definitely the way to go.

While it may not offer all the advanced features of the other products, such as self-generated resistance, this Viking beast offers virtually unrivaled forearm stimulation thanks to its ultra-thick 6.18" handles that work your lower arms to their limit on every set.

Users noticeably improved their forearm strength, size, and vascularity by using their Vikingstrength Forearm Blaster on a regular basis. And since you can use anything as resistance, you don't even need to go to the gym to get the most from this wrist roller.

Unlike other products, which often become lopsided during use when the cord slips to one side, the Vikingstrength Forearm Blaster has a clever strapping design that completely prevents the rope from falling to one side during intense workouts. As a result, you'll no longer run the risk of developing muscle imbalances now that you have a wrist roller that remains centered at all times.

Unlike the Pellor Wrist Roller, it also has a huge 220lb verified weight capacity. But the Norwegian creators say that you can use as much resistance as you like. It turns out that nobody has been strong enough to exceed the 220lbs!

Yet, if you want to test your strength with crazy amounts of weight, then you can do so in complete peace of mind. The Vikingstrength forearm blaster is backed by an ironclad lifetime warranty, which is a rarity for a wrist roller this affordable.

Pros
  • Ultra-thick 6.18" handles supercharge your forearm stimulation on every set
  • Ingenious strapping design ensures that your wrist roller remains centered during even the most aggressive and intense workouts
  • Noticeably improves forearm size and strength with weekly use
  • Benefits from a verified 220lb weight capacity that accepts anything as resistance
  • Sturdy construction is guaranteed by a lifetime warranty
Cons
  • Thick grips could be extremely challenging for beginners
  • Not been on the market as long as the other rollers

Read more: shoulder and forearm workouthomemade wrist roller

How to choose the right forearm roller

Using wrist rollers for big forearms is a great idea. But only if you buy the right products. These are the main factors we used when deciding on our best-in-class list.

Durability

LPGmuscle Grip Freak Thick Grip Wrist Roller with Dumbbell Loading Hook

Wrist roller exercise is intense. The handle is going to get a lot of use, so make sure that you pick a device with a steel bar (plastic handle grips that go on top are fine) so that it can withstand wear and tear.

Also, go with a tool that has a nylon strap. [1] Most do these days. However, some straps are much thicker than others. For example, rather than cutting costs by using a thin, string-like design, Rogue actually uses a super thick nylon strap on their forearm roller, which means that you can attach far more weight and train intensely without worrying about damaging your device.

Weight capacity

Beginners can undoubtedly make outstanding progress from lifting only minimal weight. However, sooner or later, you might catch the grip training bug and start blasting your forearms more frequently to get those gains. [2] As such, you want to invest a roller with a decent weight capacity.

Since most models can hold 100lbs, this is usually the minimum weight capacity that you should look for because weight rating is generally correlated with build quality.

See also: Rogue Fitness Wrist Roller

Mounting options

Grip Freak Thick Grip Wrist Roller w Power Rack Arm & Weight Plate Loader

While forearm rollers that are purely handheld are certainly cheaper, they force you to use your front delts to support the weight. Positioning the device near your waist can mitigate some of this shoulder involvement. However, this strategy is far from perfect.

So if you’re serious about strengthening your forearms, then getting a wrist roller that you can actually mount should be your first priority because your forearms will never get a complete workout if your shoulders give out before them.

Benefits and effectiveness of wrist roller exercise

A man's muscular forearm

First and foremost, wrist roller exercise can build colossal forearms if you train consistently and apply progressive overload. [3] Unlike other exercises, the wrist roller works both your forearm flexors and your forearm extensors, depending on which direction you rotate the bar.

Forearm rollers, such as the popular GD Wrist Roller, are also helpful for developing grip strength because you have to hold onto the handle for a prolonged period of time while you perform your reps.

The wrist roller develops excellent endurance if you do enough rounds. But make no mistake, these devices can build some serious muscle size too.

In this regard, it’s also a valuable tool for increasing your muscular endurance. This resistance to fatigue is helpful for improving your performance on exercises like pull-ups and deadlifts because your forearms won’t tire as quickly with the extra endurance.

Of course, wrist rollers are also highly convenient. With a few weight plates and a spare 10 minutes, you can build great forearms without going to the gym.

Read more: forearm exercises for arm wrestling

Wrist roller workout routine

A man performing some forearm roller exercise

In a wrist roller workout, one round is where you roll the weight up and then lower it back down, which is to say, one concentric and one eccentric phase.

A set is a collection of rounds. You can have as many rounds in one set as you like. But keep in mind that you generally perform all the rounds within a set back-to-back, so keep the number of rounds moderate.

As you can see, we start by adding 5lbs per week and then reduce the progressive overload to 2.5lbs as you start to milk those novice gains. You might be able to lift more weight than this, but the routine is mainly for beginners who're looking to get started.

  • Week 1: 20lbs — 3 sets of 2 rounds
  • Week 2: 25lbs — 3 sets of 2 rounds
  • Week 3: 30lbs — 4 sets of 3 rounds
  • Week 4: 35lbs — 4 sets of 3 rounds
  • Week 5: 37.5lbs — 4 sets of 3 rounds
  • Week 6: 40lbs — 5 sets of 3 rounds

Wrist roller alternatives

The wrist roller is an excellent exercise for your lower arms. But for the best results, consider performing a full workout with other exercises like wrist curls. Each link below will take you to a full tutorial where you can learn the correct technique and the benefits of each exercise.

Conclusion: Wrist roller results and expectations

Investing in a quality forearm wrist roller is an ingenius idea whether you train at home or in the gym because these devices are so convenient. You don’t have to wait around for equipment to become available, and connecting your weight plates only take a few seconds.

Of course, the best wrist roller for you is always going to depend on your budget. Still, I always advise getting a mountable roller so that you can really blast your forearms without your shoulders fatiguing prematurely.

Overall, the Grip Freak Wrist Roller is the highest quality option thanks to the frictionless lifting motion, fat grip handles, and incredible lifetime warranty.

But if you want a wrist roller that you can use absolutely anywhere—and that will last a lifetime—then I definitely recommend getting the Sidewinder Pro Xtreme because it works without weights.

Also, since the top-end resistance is so challenging, you'll never need to upgrade it or pay for another roller again if you buy the Pro Xtreme.

If you're willing to sacrifice some convenience for a more affordable wrist roller, then the Vikingstrength Forearm Blaster is another top choice. Although it's not as portable due to the need to use weights for resistance, it has ultra-thick handles and an extremely high 220lb weight capacity that will enable you to build some serious lower arm size.

#1 Wrist Roller
Grip Freak Hanging Wrist Roller
The Grip Freak Hanging Wrist Roller
  • Maximizes forearm recruitment by removing your front delts from the equation
  • Friction-free lifting motion thanks to quality construction
  • Slip Grip handles increase forearm stimulation while keeping the device firmly in your hands
  • Also builds the hand and finger muscles
  • Heavy-duty build quality and a lifetime guarantee

References

  1. Why is nylon durable and how does it have such exceptional strength? (2017, June 17). Chemistry Stack Exchange. https://chemistry.stackexchange.com/questions/76376/why-is-nylon-durable-and-how-does-it-have-such-exceptional-strength
  2. Labott, B. K., Bucht, H., Morat, M., Morat, T., & Donath, L. (2019). Effects of Exercise Training on Handgrip Strength in Older Adults: A Meta-Analytical Review. Gerontology, 65(6), 686–698. https://doi.org/10.1159/000501203
  3. EXERCISE METHODS: Wrist Roller. (1986, February). The Strength & Conditioning Journal. https://journals.lww.com/nsca-scj/Citation/1986/02000/EXERCISE_METHODS__Wrist_Roller.17.aspx
  4. Jedd Johnson. (2010, December 15). DieselCrew.com - Review of the Bison 1M [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSuO_XxTEDY
  5. Old School Strength. (2020, March 29). AMAZING PIECE OF EQUIPMENT ( TWIST YO WRIST REVIEW ). YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otRtMYg4H7A

Liam Brown
Liam Brown has been coaching clients as a personal trainer for more than 12 years. Raised by his athlete mother and physiotherapist father, he understands the critical importance of learning the proper technique for both avoiding injury and building muscle.
chevron-upmenu-circlecross-circle linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram