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The Best Forearm Exercises | 5 Exercises for Mass

The Best Forearm Exercises | 5 Exercises for Mass
Writer and expert5 years ago
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For most of us, when we talk about our arms routine, it's all biceps, triceps and shoulders. In the effort of building bigger biceps and horseshoe triceps, we tend to ignore forearms.  Forearm exercises can help you strengthen other parts of your upper body like your biceps and chest muscles.

Most of the gym goers would agree to the idea that training arms and performing deadlifts will instantaneously train the forearms - and that’s absolutely correct. However, forearms are a stubborn muscle group and they need more training.

Always remember, it's not about flaunting forearms in your tee, as training them helps in getting a better grip on all other lifting exercises too!

Anatomy Of Forearms

The forearms consist of three, slow-twitched muscles. These include:

1) Brachioradialis – This muscle flexes from the forearm to elbows.

2) Flexors - Rear end of forearms

3) Extensors - Middle of forearms

Forearm muscles are smaller in size and they need time and intensity to grow so we need to train them separately - and properly.

It's important to emphasize that performing deadlifts do stimulate forearms muscles - however, due to the range of motion, it doesn’t involve all the three forearm muscle groups, therefore, they still need to be trained with specialized exercises.


Forearm Exercises and Equipment

1) Seated/Machine Reverse Wrist Curl

The reverse wrist curl targets the top or extensor muscles of the forearms - this forearm exercise has a few variations - dumbbells/barbells/standing/sitting etc.


Forearm reverse curls


a) Start with a biceps curl rod/dumbbells with a manageable weight and face your palms upside down.

b) Rest your forearms on the bench/your knee if you're sat a little further back than the above image -  (wrist should be outside the bench in that case)

c) Without lifting your forearms, try to pull your wrists up. Keep it movement slow.

d) Hold the movement for some time at the peak concentration level before slowly lowering the bar/dumbbells back to the start position.

Note: Most of the gyms have a dedicated machine set-up with adjustable weights. Try to get used to machines for preventing injuries.

2) Seated/Machine Wrist Curl


Forearm wrist curl

a) Start with a biceps curl rod/dumbbells with a manageable weight - keep your palms as if you are doing barbell curl (facing up).

b) Rest your forearms on the bench and your wrist should be outside the bench as shown (upside down) in the figure above.

c) Without lifting your forearms, try to pull your wrists up, keeping the movement slow.

d) Hold the movement for some time at the peak concentration level before slowly lowering the bar/dumbbells back to the start position.

3) Farmer's Walk

A strength-increasing, grip-strengthening, muscle-building exercise!

This is a simple but effective multi-tasking exercise that will torch fat whilst increasing grip strength to benefit your forearms.

Start by choosing your variation of the Farmer's walk - dumbbells (heavy), short barbells etc.

a) Begin this exercise by positioning yourself in-between your weights choice

b) Lower yourself down and grip the handles firmly

c) Keeping your back straight and head forward, power through your heels to raise yourself up

d) Steps should be short - move forward quickly for the furthest distance available in your gym/training area (take frequent breaths!)

4) Wrist Roller- A Creative Forearm Workout

A great grip-strengthening exercise!

Some gyms will have a specific piece of equipment to perform this exercise - if not, don't hesitate to get creative and make one yourself!

Forearm exercise wrist roller

a) The image shows the bar attached to a weight from a string - hold this with hands extended and a bit above your shoulder height.

b) Unroll the weight by rotating your wrists forward until the weight will go no further (don't bend your elbows throughout)

c) Contracting your prominent wrist forward for the full stretch, begin to roll the bar backwards. Actively feel each muscle contracting and retracting to engage your mind-muscle connection.

d) Return to starting position (weight at the top) and repeat. Do this for a couple rounds and you'll be burning!

5) Gorilla Grip Trainer... (If Available)

Gorilla Grip trainer is a very awesome machine to train your forearms, wrists and fingers - Bruce-Lee trained his forearms by using a Gorilla Grip Trainer machine! We're not saying you'll be round-house kicking anybody anytime soon but you have to respect the master's physique.

The machine allows you to go heavy and train forearms very effectively - if your gym has one, make sure you use it!

? Adjust the weight accordingly - use your fingers but do isolate your thumb while grabbing the top bar

? With the four fingers and keeping the palm open, grab the bar attached to the weight, squeezing the fingers and try to pull the bar up - try to achieve as much contraction as you can get. Keep the movement slow.

? Don't involve the thumb in the movement. Only fingers would work

? Try to do as many reps as you can - change hands to complete a set.


Standing Olympic Plate Hand Squeeze Extension 
Standing Olympic Plate Stand squeeze

a) Grip the edge of a weight plate and hold at arm's length

b) Hold posture straight with feet shoulder width apart. This is very important as you want to avoid getting hurt.

c) Inhale whilst slowly beginning to lower the plates until fingers reach extended length - enough so to still be gripping the weight plate

d) Exhale and squeeze the plates back to starting position, powering the contraction through your forearms and closing your hands. Remember to practice good form here. Keep you back straight and your chest out to avoid injury.

Note: Perform by preference - both arms can be trained at the same time/ alternate.

Sample Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
Seated/Machine Reverse Wrist Curl 3 15,12,10
Seated/Machine Wrist Curl 3 15,12,10
Farmer's Walks 3 Failure (60sec rest)
Wrist Roller 3  10, 8, 6 
Gorilla Grip Trainer/alternative 3 20,20,20

Take Home Message

 ? Always secure your wrists when performing forearm workouts

? Use lifting straps if needed for a solid grip

? While performing reverse curls, make sure your wrists and thumbs are secured and there is no pain or injury in your wrist or fingers.

? Forearms require heavy workouts. Train them meticulously with your upper arms.

? Forearm gains take time - just like any other muscle group - consistency is always key!

Writer and expert
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