The dumbbell lying pronation is an isolation exercise that is utilized to strengthen and build the wrist flexor muscles of the forearm. Wrist and forearm strength is crucial if you want to do any form of upper-body weight-bearing exercise.
That’s because, without a decent grip, you won’t be able to do much, and weak lower arms can make daily activities difficult and sometimes painful.
The good news is that this exercise is easy and simple and totally non-intimidating; you only need a dumbbell and bench or something similar.
Here’s a guide to the dumbbell lying pronation.
In This Exercise:
- Target Muscle Group: Wrist Flexors / Forearms
- Type: Strength
- Mechanics: Isolation
- Equipment: Dumbbell
- Difficulty: Beginner
The dumbbell lying pronation works the wrist or forearm flexors. There are three muscles that flex the wrist; flexor carpi radialis, flexor carpi ulnaris, and palmaris longus.
These muscles work together to flex the wrist.
This exercise also involves pronation of the wrist which is when you rotate your forearms inward. Or, if you were to stand and hold your forearms straight out in front of you, pronation would involve starting with your palms up and rotating them down.
How To Do The Dumbbell Lying Pronation
Below we’ve provided step-by-step instructions for this exercise.
- Choose a light to light-medium weight dumbbell and make sure that you have a bench to use.
- Sit on the bench and grip the dumbbell palms up with your thumb closer to the right side of it.
- Lie onto your right side with your upper arm on the bench in front of you at a 90-degree angle so your forearm is hanging off the bench.
- Rotate your wrist so that your thumb is pointed toward the floor and your pinky is pointing at the ceiling.
- Rotate your wrist in the opposite direction so that your thumb is now pointed at the ceiling.
- Repeat for the desired reps and then switch sides.
Here’s a video example…
Dumbbell lying pronation tips
- Never use maximum poundages on this exercise. You could place a lot of stress on your wrists and cause pain or injury.
- We recommend using a light to light-medium weight and no more than this due to the nature of the exercise. Although, more advanced exercisers can determine an appropriate weight for their goals.
- Do not lie on your upper arm but make sure to keep it in front of you on the bench.
- If you feel a lot of pain and discomfort, either check your form or don’t do any more reps. Try one of the other variations instead.
Dumbbell Lying Pronation Variations
Check out these effective variations that work the same muscles. You may even prefer some of these.
1. Seated dumbbell pronation
If you don’t want to lie down or it’s not the variation for you, just sit up on the bench, rest your forearms on your thighs or the end of the bench and replicate the movement.
You won’t be able to tilt your thumbs down due to being in an upright position so keep your palms up so your pinkies and thumbs are level. Then, turn your wrists inward and stop when your thumbs are on top.
Repeat for the desired number of reps.
2. Standing dumbbell variation
You could do a standing variation by holding your arms out to your sides to form a “T” shape. This will help to prevent you from over-rotating your wrists.
3. Cable rope or resistance band wrist pronation
If you prefer cables or resistance bands, or if you just want to mix up your training, then it’s a great option.
Simply grip the rope or band and rotate your wrist inward as far as you can. Using either of the two training tools may be better for getting a fuller range of motion since the resistance is always pulling you in the opposite direction, unlike the dumbbell.
Incorporate The Dumbbell Lying Pronation Into Your Training Routine
There are a few ways you can do this but feel free to experiment and go with what works best for you.
The dumbbell lying pronation can make for a great wrist and forearm warm-up exercise. But it’s also a good movement after your main workouts.
It’s also a great exercise to do on your non-resistance training or leg days so that you can really focus on the movement. But there’s really no perfect answer for when to do it.
We recommend anywhere from 2-3 sets of 10-20 reps per arm. This ensures you’re not using too much weight but it allows you to get the most out of the exercise by completing enough reps that challenge the muscles.
Choosing a dumbbell
Because of the position of the wrist during this exercise, using heavy weights is not recommended for the obvious reasons that the wrists are more vulnerable and prone to injury.
If you have weaker wrists, choose no more than 5 lbs /2.26 kg or 10 lbs/4.53 kg dumbbells. For stronger individuals, 15 lbs/6.80 kg and up could be used safely and effectively. If you’re struggling to get a few reps, the weight is much too heavy and not a good idea.
This is not the exercise to go all out on. With that being said, do your best.
The dumbbell lying pronation may not be as commonly performed in your gym or been in your own workouts compared to other exercises. But it has its place as do many isolation exercises that target a specific area.
This exercise helps to strengthen the wrists and forearms and doesn’t require a lot of prep or weight (not recommended for most people).