Are you holding your weights wrong?

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Kara Liotta Flybarre 1

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If, during your workout, you’re gripping your hand weights like the car steering wheel during a blizzard, then you’re probably holding them wrong.

What’s wrong with making sure your dumbbell doesn’t go flying into the woman next to you?

It’s just that your wrist is probably doing more of the work than your biceps, say experts. And clenching your wrist joints probably isn’t why you’re lifting at Barry’s Bootcamp, Physique 57, Refine Method, or Flybarre.

And that's way too much pressure on a small joint, says Kara Liotta, the director of training of Flybarre, who helped us illustrate what weights should look like in your hand if you want them to tone your muscles. Read on... —Melisse Gelula

Photos: Melisse Gelula for Well+Good

Kara Liotta Flybarre 2


No white-knuckle gripping of the weights. Think about letting the weight sit in the palm of your hand instead of tightening your grip around it like a Balenciaga bag at a sample sale. That helps move the load of the weight from your wrist to your bicep.


Don’t let your wrist bend or fall back. Keep it in neutral, stable position so that your palm is on the same plane as your forearm. If you see tendons popping out of your forearm, relax your grip slightly.

Kara Liotta Flybarre 4

For weights that are three pounds or less, think of creating a long line from your fingertips up to the shoulder, like a dancer. This allows you to better isolate and tone your bicep, shoulders, delts, and triceps. Releasing your fingertips, like many of the Flybarre instructors do, and resting the weight under your thumb might also work for you. But be mindful if your hands are sweaty...

Kara Liotta Flybarre 5


Bad form can come from using weights that are too heavy. If you hunch your shoulders to hold the weights, drop down a pound, so you can perform reps in a way that’s actually allowing the range of movement you need to tone and sculpt.


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  1. October 3rd, 2012 at 11:03 am

    Thanks for all this information and tips .I can apply this as a personal trainer.

  2. October 17th, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    thank you! nice to know about the wrists. and its so nice to see the lovely miss kara showing us the ropes!

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