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Exercises to develop stronger forearm muscles

Updated on October 22, 2010

Forearms grip strength is important

   The forearm muscles are a very strange group to exercise due to the fact that there not the largest muscles or show off type muscles. What the forearms are important for are grip strength. This is very significant if you want to get better at pull ups and the compound exercise dead lift. Having a better grip will also help you perform better when doing exercises that involve biceps such as dumbbell curls since your grip keeps you holding on. You do not want to let your grip give out before the set is over. This is not good cause lets say you are dead lifting and your back is plenty strong enough to do more reps but your grip strength gives out and you just want to let go of the bar. If you can not continue your reps then you will not get maximum work on your lower back muscles. You will want to have the most potential when working with other exercises this is why the forearms are good to work worth isolation work and supplementary exercises.

   You will also find that having great grip strength will help in benching as well. Benching uses mostly chest muscles and shoulders, but the having a good grip will allow you to activate all your muscles better. Forearms are supplementary meaning they are supporting other muscles which help get you stronger and bigger. You should not neglect forearm workouts. They may not be a main group to work, but will improve performance in other areas.

Forearm strength using dumbbells (Isolation work)

A good exercise to do for the forearms is wrist curls using dumbbells. You will not be using very high weight with these exercises since your isolating the forearms and are not using biceps. Find a weight that is suitable for you. You can do this with one arm at a time or two it does not matter. Its best to do with two at a time to save time and know how much time in between sets, but its personal preference. You can do this two ways. One is by sitting on a bench and resting your arms on legs or by kneeling down and resting your arms on the bench while having hands hang off. It does not matter you just need to have your wrists hang over an edge a little. Whether its your legs or the bench.

To perform this exercise grasp the dumbbells with palms facing you. Rest your forearms on legs/bench. Have the dumbbells hang over your legs/bench. Bend the wrists down and rise up. Be sure you are only moving your wrists and not raising the weight up because this will use your biceps. You are working the forearms here and want to isolate them. Do about 10-15 reps.

A variation of this is the reverse wrist curl. It is basically the same thing, but you are working the top of the forearm and not the bottom. Regular wrist curls with palms facing you work the bottom side of the forearm. This time grasp the dumbbells palms away from you and curl your wrist up and down. You may find it harder to do as many as with regular wrist curls so weight might need to be lowered.

You can also use a barbell instead of dumbbells. Again, you can do normal or reverse the same principles apply. It is good to change it up once and a while and switch between dumbbells and a barbell. Just remember to get a suitable weight for you.

Exercises that are in need of strong forearms

Pull ups


hammer curls

farmers walk

reverse barbell curls


   These are just some exercises that having strong forearms will help and doing these exercises will help. (Especially pull ups not chin ups)

Other forearm exercises

   Hand grippers are another way of strengthening the forearms. They are designed for building superior grip strength. There are different strength grips so you can find one that's suitable for you and move up once you are doing more than 20 reps. As with any exercise you will need to do lower reps if you want strength and size.

  The Farmers walk is a good way to also build grip strength. Grasp two dumbbells and walk around the gym or outside for a certain period of time. Keep trying to beat your previous record. This will build grip strength for the forearms.

   Take a towel and put it around a plate and start doing hammer curls this will improve forearm strength, This is similar to using a dumbbell your just isolating forearms more.

Wrist rollers

   The wrist roller is an exercise for the forearms where you hold on to small bar and twist it and bring the weight plate up and twist it down. This continuous motion works the forearms very well. You can find these at wal mart or other local stores. The rope is a attached to a weight plate and when you twist the plate up and down it engages the forearms increasing grip strength.

Wrist roller
Wrist roller


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