A wrist roller is a very efficient yet simple tool for exercising the forearms. It consists of a shaft which is held in both hands, with a string wrapped around the center. There are weights hanging on the string. As one turns the shaft, the string rolls up and the weights provide resistance. It is possible to make a robust wrist roller from common scrap materials found at home for free.
Step 1: The Shaft
The shaft of the wrist roller can be made of a variety of materials. It should be wide enough for both your hands to fit on it and be around 15cm apart. The diameter of the shaft is completely up to you. I prefer to use a thick shaft for this as it strengthens the grip more and takes away strain from the wrist compared to using a narrower shaft. I fashioned the shaft for my wrist roller out of a straight branch from a tree with a diameter of circa 5cm (2in). I cut it to a length of 28 cm, removed the bark and any uneven parts and sanded it smooth. Other options would be
- pvc pipe
- broomstick handle
- metal pipe
- really thick cardboard rolls, like those used for holding carpet
- Anything round, as long as it will not break, and a hole can be drilled in it.
Step 2: The String
An important part of the wrist roller is the string to be rolled up. You can use any string, wire, rope or cable that can hold some weight. In order to attach it...
- Drill a hole through the center of the shaft, wide enough for your string, but not wider.
- Put the string through the hole and tie a not on one end so that it cannot slide out. If you are using wire, cable or a very thin string, you will want to put the cable in a pipe or tube before putting it into the shaft, otherwise it can cut the sides.
I used a cable from a bike break as the rope. It already had a pommel on one end, so it could not slide through the hole in the shaft. For protecting the shaft, I put the wire into a cable guide before inserting it into the shaft
Step 3: Weight Holder
There are many possible ways to attach weights to the string, and many different kinds of weights that can be used. I decided to use standard weight disks as I have these available. To build the holder for the weights, bend a piece of metal (in my case a part of a drawer slide) into a U-shape wide and high enough to fit the weights. Then a bolt (I used a bike axle) through the ends of the U. Your weights will go on this bolt. Tie the weight holder to the end of the string. Any parts of the string / cable touching metal should be wrapped in duct tape or put into a top, so it is not damaged.
Other options for weights
- Tie a jug to the end of the string, fill with water / sand / washers
- Fill a bucket with anything of the desired weight
- Put the string through the weight disk and tie it in a loop or use a karabine hook
Step 4: Get Training!
Congratulations, you've built your own wrist roller. To use it, add some weight. Put both hands on the shaft and hold it in front of you at belly button level. Turn the shaft to the front or to the back and feel the burn. If you would like to increase the distance that you can roll up the string, hold your arms higher or stand on a stool.
Many people have seldom before exercised these forearm muscles. Start slow, don't overtrain and give your body a few days to get used to this exercise. Consult a physician before starting any kind of exercise routine.
Share what you used to make your wrist roller in the comments :)