Forearms are one of the underrated muscle groups, one of the most important features that you will want to achieve. Not only do they make significant appearance in the arms, but they also play a key role in strengthening your grip to handle more weight.
Even if you are an expert in arm training, they can be a challenging muscle group to build up. They are one muscle group that people struggle with and often find themselves plateauing.
There is no real secret to getting bigger arms. Training your forearms as an accessory muscle is not enough to increase muscle size. You need to treat them as you would treat any other muscle group.
That’s why we’ve put together this list of five best exercises, if done right, will put you on the path to building the arms you will be proud of!
Benefits of training your forearm
This important but often overlooked part of the body can be developed and strengthened like any other, but why is it so important? There are a number of reasons why you should not ignore the forearms, and in most cases put in effort in really developing them.
For those with interest in better muscle definition and bigger muscles, skipping the forearms makes an incomplete look. Picture this, big biceps, triceps, and shoulders, with small forearms.
Improve movement and functional strength
Another good reason to develop the forearm is to increase better functional strength. The body is a kinetic chain, and all the muscles, big and small, as well as the connective tissue, joints, and bones, work together. By building strength in all muscles, you move more efficiently and safely, reducing injuries and pain.
No muscle should be neglected in this process, including the forearms. There are many muscles in there which connect and impact with the movement of the elbow, wrists, and hands. Big forearms help with daily activities, such as opening jars and carrying heavy objects, and in sports such as golf and basketball.
Great grip strength
Developing the forearms will improve stronger grip strength which will allow you to lift more weight and equipment, which in turns improves your overall strength. It also helps with other daily activities which involve lifting objects and opening jars.
Investigators have also found a compelling health reason to work on grip strength. In a study of more than 140,000 people, a decrease in grip strength was associated with a decline in health. Every drop of 11 pounds of strength led to a 17 percent higher risk of dying from heart disease. The increased risk of death from heart attack and stroke was seven to nine percent.
How to get bigger forearms with lesser pain at same time
Also, there may be rehabilitative reasons to train the forearm. Forearm pain can lead to injuries and accidents, overuse, nerve damage, and arthritis. Strengthening the forearm muscles can help manage pain and speed recovery from injury or surgery.
Anatomy of the forearm
Additionally, the forearm muscle groups that I will refer to in this article are your flexors, extensors, and brachioradialis.
Flexors (underneath your forearm)
A group of muscles located on the back of the arm that is responsible for the extension of the wrist and fingers, as well as supination of the forearm.
Extensors (above your arm)
A group of muscles located on the anterior part of the forearm that are mostly involved in the pronation and the flexion of the forearm.
It helps to bend the elbow towards you, like your biceps. Also extends the wrists. Your main focus is to challenge these three muscle groups regularly with arm exercises to increase growth and strength.
Below are 6 best exercises to get bigger forearms. Do all 6 of them to increase the growth of your forearm.
How to get bigger forearms – the best strength workouts
Dumbbell or Barbell exercises
You can use dumbbells or barbell to work the muscles of the forearm. With just a few exercises, you can target all the muscle groups in your forearm:
- Revers biceps curl
Do a regular biceps curl but with the back of your hands and wrists looking up. This works the forearm muscles that are important in elbow flexion. The EZ bar allows the wrists to be pronated enough to hit the forearms hard, but not to strain the wrist joint.
This curl variation allows for continuous tension in the brachioradialis.
- You can do this using either a barbell, dumbbell or a kettlebell. Start by holding the outer bend of the bar with the palms down.
- Keep your elbows locked on your sides and your shoulders down & back. With a tight grip on the bar curl your arms to the chest. Pause for a second at the top.
- Lower the bar slightly and focus on squeezing the bar hard all the way down.
- Zottman’s curls
This variation of curls takes some focus on the biceps and returns it to the forearm muscles that connects to the upper arm. These curls were first popularized by an old-time strong man who had the forearms to back it up. This variation of the curl is great for challenging the forearms and teaching them to work hard in conjunction with the biceps.
- Start with the dumbbells in your hands and by your side with your palms facing forward. Curl them up until they reach the top.
- Pause at the top
- While at the top you rotate your wrists (pronounce) until your palms are facing down. Keep the wrists tight and grip the dumbbells firmly.
- Lower the dumbbells slow and controlled, while keeping the palms facing down.
- Finish repeating, rotate your wrists back and palms forward, then repeat for desired number of reps.
You will be using your biceps during this curl but don’t think for a moment that your forearms will get a break. When done properly these curls will leave your forearms and brachioradialis trembling.
- Barbell wrist curls
Barbell’s wrist curls are one of the most common forearm exercises but many people do it improperly. Don’t let your ego overwhelm you while you do this exercise and use the weight you can use to keep a complete range of motion with. Barbell wrist curls works the brachioradialis and flexors.
The best way to perform the barbell wrist curls is to kneel down next to a flat bench with your arms in front of the bench. Grab the barbell with an underhand grip and curl it as high as possible and while lowering the barbell, let the barbell roll down to the tip of your fingers.
- Fat Grip Dumbbell rows
Place the Fat Grip around the dumbbell handle. (If you do not have a Fat Grip, wrap a small towel around the handle.) Put your right hand and kneel on the bench, hold the dumbbell, and pull your shoulder inwards while pulling your elbow to your rib. Do this for desired number of reps.
- Plates curls
The next step in getting big forearms is to increase how hard your fingers can pinch. Vary your grip to target different areas of your forearm. Instead of doing a bicep curl with a dumbbell, use a weighted plate and hold it at its end and curl.
- Weight bearing
Grip and forearm strength are important in handling heavy objects, so try these simple but challenging weight carry exercises to develop the forearm muscle.
- Farmer carry
This is a very simple exercise that builds strength in the wrist and fingers while also combining many other muscles. Hold a heavy dumbbell on each side and allow the arms to rest straight down by your sides. The palms of your hands should face inward. Your back upright and walk in a straight line.
- Trap bar carry: Do the same exercises but with more weight when using a trap bar.
- Pinch carries: You must actively pinch two plates together so that they do not slip. Grab two plates on each hand and pinch them together. Stand as tall as possible, tighten your core, and walk.
- Behind the cable wrist curls
Behind the back cable wrist curl is a great isolation exercise that specifically targets your forearms. Using straps will help you keep the tension lasting on your forearms and will pump your muscles with lactic acid.
Stand with your back to the pulley cable machine and hold the straight bar. Curl the bar and hold the movement at the contraction for a few seconds.
- Grip Crushers
This is another great isolation exercise that engages your forearms and your grip only.
Wrap your hand around the handle and squeeze until the two handles touch. both handles. To add this to your workout, warm up with a easier resistance first.
Bodyweight exercises for the forearms
You can also use simple bodyweight exercises using a pull up bar and other machines to work the forearms.
- Fingertip Push-ups. Perform push-ups balanced on all fingers to work the wrists and forearms. Start on your knees if necessary.
- Crabwalk: In the reverse table top position, keep your hands under your shoulders and your fingers pointing toward your feet. Walk back and forth.
- Pull ups: Pull up is a challenging exercise but is important for the upper body and basic strength. do a pull with your hands facing inwards and out to hit the different muscles.
- Dead hangs: This is as simple as it sounds. Just hang on the pull bar with the palms forward and arms shoulder width apart for a great forearm challenge. Modify this challenge to hit different muscles. Fold a towel over the bar and hang on it while gripping each end of the towel.
- Reverse cable curls: With your back to the cable machine, grip a lower pulley curl your arm forward and bring your hand up to the shoulder, like a biceps curl.
- Towel pull ups: We know that pull ups builds thick arms and strong grip. Holding a towel instead of a bar, however, increases the amount of work on your arms – now, you have to hold the towel tightly just to stay up and even squeeze a little bit harder just to pull yourself up. Don’t be surprised if you can only do one or two reps in your first try.
How to do it:
Wrap two towels around a pullup bar. Hold a towel in each hand, do your pullups, keep your chest up and your shoulders down as you go up. If this is very difficult, however, start with one hand holding the towel and the other hand holding the pullup bar. After that, repeat for the other side.