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Build Popeye Forearms To Grow Bodybuilding Biceps

Updated on November 2, 2009

Popeye and Bodybuilding

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Biceps like Popeye's Forearms

I am sure all of you are well aware that Popeye, the sailor man, had forearms that measured a massive 22 inches in diameter. This, along with his dietary habits of including plenty of greens into his meals on a daily basis, lent him the strength to best the overly confident Bluto in an almost endless number of competitions of strength and brawn. Now Popeye's biceps didn't provoke nearly as much envy as one would have expected with the grip strength that he must have possessed, but then again, he was only a cartoon.

Grip and forearm strength is necessary and often a limiting factor for a large variety of exercises and a majority for pulling movements in particular. That means that all of your favorite exercises that happen to work your biceps may be limited by the amount of Popeye you've got in your workouts.

Neuromuscular Inhibition and You

The reason that you should give a bit more focus to your grip strength is due to a phenomena known as neuromuscular inhibition. Essentially, your brain will shut off the link to a certain muscle group if the weight is too much. This is a protection mechanism that your brain employs to keep your body from injuring itself. Now if that weakest link is your forearms, then you will only be able to do as much as your grip can handle. If that weakest link is your biceps, however, then you will literally be working them as hard as you possibly can, which means they will have to grow to catch up. If your forearms are the weakest links, then you will not be giving your biceps as much as they can handle, which will lead to less impressive gains then you are otherwise capable of. So if you want some big bodybuilding biceps, you need to work those forearms by themselves.

Big Forearms Get you More Attention

Besides helping you lift more weight and giving your biceps more stimulation, forearms really do help your physique. Big muscular forearms look intimidating and really help with vascularity, besides cartoons, how many guys have you ever seen that work out for looks with huge forearms and small biceps? If you really want to make your arms look good and symmetric, make sure to do some grip work.

Forearm Exercises for Bodybuilding Biceps

Here are a few exercises that you definitely want to throw in the mix at the end of your back and bicep days and never the day before a workout that will really demand your grip.

Fat Bar Pull-ups and Chin-ups
If you are lucky enough to have a fat bar at your gym make sure to take advantage of it and at least do negatives if you cant do full chin-ups.

Fat Bar Curls
If you have access to a fat barbell as well, then you are in for a real forearm destroying treat, fat bar curls and fat bar reverse curls especially are really great for forearm development. if you don't have access to a fat bar of any kind, you should definitely check out Fat Gripz because they can turn almost any barbell, dumbbell, or cable exercise into a massive forearm builder and grip tester.

Rope Pull-ups

The fatter the rope you can get the better, try to go for double the standard rope cable attachment and see how this changes your exercises. Watch your arms explode in size after doing some rope pull ups and vertical rope pulls

Towel Pull-ups
If you don't want to go get any other equipment, you can use a towel to do a lot of grip work too. You can do a set of towel pull ups, or use your towel with the cable machines to set up any number of grip challenges.

Wrist Roller

If you have access to a wrist roller then you should make sure to do a few sets with as much weight as you can stand. Roll both ways to work your often neglected extensors too.

Standing Forearm Curls
grip a barbell behind your body and curl your wrists skyward.

Extended Finger Bicep Curls

Using a cable curl or straight bar attachment, curl as much weight as you can with your fingers extended as much as possible. let your wrist extend to get your forearms working as much as possible

Wrist Extensor Bands

Also known as "rubber bands" wrap the band(s) around your straightened fingers and thumb and separate your fingers as much as possible for 1 rep

Newspaper Crusher
Grab one full sheet of newspaper by the corner and using only your fingers crumple the entire sheet into as small a ball as you can. Next use 2 sheets, and then 3. see how many sheets you can get to before your grip is fried.


Fill a bucket with sand, and submerge your hand. open and close your fist as many times and as fast as you can.

Once you have started to throw these exercises into your workouts you will really see how massive your bodybuilding biceps can get.

Till next time, stay educated and dedicated.


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