old homemade wrist roller

Your forearm muscles are actually quite useful for cycling, especially mountain biking and BMX racing. But you probably aren’t working them in the gym.

So here’s a simple and somewhat fun exercise you can do at home – wrist roll ups, or twist ups. To do this, you make a device called a wrist roller by following my instructions below…


What You Need

Head to your local hardware store and purchase the following items:

  • Wooden dowel (about 1″ diameter, 12″ long)
  • Nylon rope (about 4′ long)
  • Swivel eyelet hook or carabiner
  • Chain (about 12″ long)

You will also want to use a cordless drill and about a 3/8″ drill bit. However, you can get by without one.

You could also substitute an old broomstick for the dowel rod. Or if you prefer, a piece of PVC pipe.


How to Build the Wrist Roller

Now let’s build this thing.

wrist roller handle

Take the wooden dowel rod or pipe and cut it down to a 12″ long section. This is your handle.

Drill a hole through the center (6″ in from either side.)

String about 4′ of nylon rope through the hole and tie it off. You can knot one end of the rope to keep it from slipping back through the hole, or simply tie the rope to the handle.

wrist roller carabiner

Then tie an eye hook (like you’d use on a dog leash) or some sort of small carabiner to the other end.

wrist roller chain

Finally, take a 12″ section of small chain. Thread the chain through some weight plates and hook each end of the chain into swivel hook.

(I usually use one or two 5lb weight plates, so 12″ of chain is plenty. Use a longer chain if you use bigger plates.)

Now you can perform your twist ups! (Simply roll the handle in your hands to bind up the rope and raise the weight off the ground.)

wrist roller

Note: The chain is optional if you are using Olympic weight plates with the 2″ holes. In that case, you just thread the hook through the plates and hook it back to the rope. This could cause a little more friction on the rope, but it should still last quite a while.

To increase difficulty: To really work your forearms and grip strength, use a larger handle. A 2″ diameter PVC pipe would do the trick.

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