The forearm…the forgotten body part.
When was the last time you saw someone training forearms? For me, it was a while ago! Even my own forearm training hasn’t been consistent which is why on my new plan I’ve changed that.
Forearms are involved in many exercises, they’re on show all the time (pretty much) yet so many of us don’t train them directly! What’s going on?
Now, I get that we use them a lot of the time…but that’s not focused training is it, right? They aren’t going to get big that way (well, at least not for most of us). So what exercises can we do that will help build those forearms and build up the grip strength too?
Let’s check out a few exercises that train them directly, plus a few others that can help too.
Direct Training Exercises
Alternating Dumbbell Wrist Curls
A great exercise to focus on the forearms…
- Rest your forearm down on a bench with palms facing up.
- Have a dumbbell in the opposing hand ready to place into your working hand.
- Securely grasp the dumbbell with the working hand and (whilst keeping your forearm straight on the bench) flex the wrist so that the dumbbell comes towards you…before slowly lowering it away from you downwards towards the floor until stretched out as far is comfortable.
- Bring it back up again and repeat the movement before switching hands for a total of 3-4 sets with each arm.
Note: You should use a moderate weight that you can do around 10-15 reps with good form…although lower reps are possible, using heavy weight for this exercise is not recommended to avoid straining the wrists.
Here we have a classic forearm training exercise!
- First of all, get two weight plates (one for each hand)
- Hold the plates by your sides
- Use your fingers to grip the outer side of the plate and your thumb to grip the inner side
- SQUEEZE the plates tightly for as long as you can
- Once you’ve had enough put the weights down and rest for a few minutes before doing it all again!
Note: As your grip starts to weaken towards the end of your working set you may drop the plate - ensure you don’t drop on your feet!
Lastly, start by using a low weight and work up in weight over time…to make it more difficult you can hold two plates with one hand at the same time…you will need to experiment with plate thicknesses and weight to find what’s best for you.
This one is SUPER easy, all you need to do is find some heavy dumbbells and then hold them for as long as possible.
Similar to the plate pinch, just with dumbbells…although chances are you’ll be able to do these for longer (unless your gym has some really heavy dumbbells!) as they’re designed to be easily held so it may be worth doing these as more of a ‘finishing’ exercise.
Again be careful as you may drop them, especially if your hands get sweaty!
Grippers (see product links below) are great tools for popping in to our gym bag and using when training your grip…or for use at home. All you need to do is squeeze the gripper...hold for a few moments before releasing slowly…and then SQUEEZING again.
Over time, increase the difficulty or amount reps/how long you hold it for continual progress.
Although we can directly train the forearms using exercises like above, if you’re wanting to really ramp up your forearm size and strength try adding in the following on the same day or on other days that you train:
Close Grip Pull-Ups (Palms Facing Each Other)
Most gyms nowadays have pull up bars that allow you to do close grip pull ups, if so then make sure to do this exercise. Normal pull ups do of course work the forearms however close grip pull-ups like this work the forearms (and biceps) really well.
Alternating Hammer Curls
Hammer curls allow you to use a decent amount of weight, plus they work the forearms.
Holding some dumbbells with palms facing your body, curl the dumbbells once at a time...keeping your body tight to avoid your form getting sloppy. You’ll see the forearms really POPPING when doing this exercise (or you will do when they grow!)
Just make sure that you’re doing the reps at a tempo slow enough to make the forearms work hard, it’s not uncommon to see people using a lot of ‘cheating’ when doing this exercise which takes the focus away from the intended muscle group. For more on “cheating” click here
The biceps will also be doing a lot of the work here, however as you’ll notice the forearms will be working hard throughout.
Okay and that’s it!
If you’re looking for bigger forearms and an iron grip, make sure that you focus on these exercises and work them HARD just like the other body parts for results.
Oh and make sure you don’t crush peoples hands with your new found grip strength, you’d be surprised at how strong your grip can get #StrongPersonProblems
What do you think to forearm training? Do you train them directly or is it something you’re thinking about?
Let us know below in the BLOG comments!