When it comes to getting lean and building muscles, you may have noticed some movements are more effective than others. When you focus on building solid arms, you want to make sure you are working them out proportionately. You don't want to neglect giving attention to any part of your arms, especially your forearms. You must deliberately add your forearm workouts to your fitness routine.
1. What Makes Up Your Forearms?
Like with the other areas of your arms, your forearms comprise a group of muscles. The forearm muscles can be separated into three parts: the wrist extensor, the wrist flexor, and the brachioradialis. The best forearm workouts will address each of these muscles and work them equally so they grow proportionately.
Your wrist extensor is the muscle located on the outside of your lower arm. Its primary function is to extend your wrist. Your wrist flexor is the muscle located on the inside of the lower arm used for flexing your wrist. Your wrist extensor acts similarly to your tricep, albeit in the lower arm, and your wrist flexor plays a role similar to your bicep.
The brachioradialis is the relatively larger muscle to the wrist extensor and wrist flexor. It’s located above and below your elbow on the outside of your arm. When your arm is facing down the brachioradialis is used to move your lower arm. This part is most visible and can significantly add definition to well-sculpted arms.
2. What Are Forearm Workouts?
It seems to be more popular to do bicep or tricep exercises, but you also what to make sure you hit those forearms. You don’t want to neglect your forearm development since those muscles contribute to every other movement that relies on your arm strength. It’s easy to overlook a specialized focus on your forearms when doing your strength-training routine, so you must deliberately set aside time for them. The best forearm workouts don't require a lot of time and many forearm workouts can be done without weights.
The improvements you’ll receive from consistently doing forearms workouts can be as simple as gaining a strong, firm handshake. Strong forearms will contribute to quality grip strength, which greatly matters for many daily activities. Whether it’s carrying groceries or luggage to lifting something heavy, you want to have the strength to do these movements. As you know, having a powerful grip will give you improved functionality to perform most of the exercises in your workout.
3. How to Do Forearm Workouts?
Your forearms, similar to your calves, are a muscle group designed to use frequently throughout your day. These muscles benefit from high repetition workouts. You can do 5 to 6 sets of 15 to 20 reps, so maintain your training accordingly. Still this will be a shorter amount of time when creating forearm workouts to your fitness routine.
Do you find it hard to get yourself to the gym or prefer to doing workouts at home? You’ll be happy to learn that there are effective forearms exercises you can do at home, or anywhere you like. If you want, you can use adjustable hand weights if you feel your forearm workouts need more intensity. You can choose exercises that allow you to train forearms this way, or you can choose exercises that work with your own bodyweight, resistance and flexibility.
How We Reviewed
Create your workout routine from the best forearm workouts we’ve reviewed and highlighted. Based on the analysis of forearm exercise studies and the anatomical understanding of the arm, we’ve formulated a top list of 8 exercises. We mention the benefits of the movement, along with how to do the exercise, so you have the full scope of what each exercise entails. Read on to see what exercise you can incorporate into your training now!
What We Reviewed
- Push Ups
- Farmer's Walk
- Rope or Towel Pull Ups
- Forearm Chair Ups
- Wrist Circles
- Hand Grips
- Wrist Roller
- Reverse Curls with Resistance Bands
How to Do
Place your hands on the ground shoulder-width apart with palms facing down and put your feet slightly apart while resting on your toes. Keeping your elbows close to your body, bend your arms to lower your body until your chest and hip are nearly touching the ground. Be mindful of keeping your back flat and your head, spine and hips aligned. Tighten your core and your butt to help maintain your alignment.
A variation of this can be for you to use your fingers to support yourself rather that the full palms of your hands. As with the original movement place your hands shoulder-width apart, only now life your palms up and have only your fingertips touching the ground. Push yourself up from this poisoning. It may be difficult for you to do more than a few reps initially, so perform as many as you can properly, and try to increase your amount with each of your forearm workouts.
When you pause at the bottom position, you will feel the contraction in your wrist extensor before you push yourself back up. Maintain your comfortable shoulder-width hand position, or you can try a few reps with your balance from your fingers. At the top of the movement, notice the stretching in your wrist flexors.
How to Do
Pick up a heavy set of weights and hold them at your sides. You can hold anything that’s heavy, basically, like a dumbbell, a kettlebell, a weight plate, or a weighted bag. Stand tall and looking forward, walk with them for the prescribed time, preferably 60 seconds. Remember, as you step forward lightly, to keep your back straightened, pack your shoulders, keep your abs flat, engage your core and tighten your grip.
We recommend you do a side load farmer’s carry so you are firmly gripping with both hands and activate both forearms fully. You can also try the duck walk variation, in which you carry the weight in front of you with both hands between your legs. This may feel awkward at first, but it helps you from swinging from side to side while maintaining your upright positioning.
Rope or Towel Pull-Ups
How to Do
When using a towel for this exercise, start with a towel that’s at least two feet long and then roll it and fold it in half. Let the towel hang from a pull-up bar or other sturdy stable bar at a high height. Grab a towel end in each hand and hang from the towel. Pull yourself up towards the bar until your chin is higher than your hands.
This will give your all the benefits of doing a pull-up, while putting extra focus on your grip strength. This variation will also intensely engage your wrist extensors, wrist flexors and brachioradialis. If you find this exercise too challenging, then just hang from the towel for 30 seconds at a time or for as long as you can.
Forearm Chair Ups
How to Do
Place a chair in front of you as you lay face down on the floor. You must extend your arms outward, like in superman poison and have each hand grab a front leg of the chair. You will then use your forearm and grip strength to lift the chair off the ground as you continue to lie with your face down. When you first do this movement maintain a static hold, then in time you can place as much weight on the chair as you can lift for 10 seconds.
This will engage your wrist extensors, wrist flexors and brachioradialis by placing tension the entire time you have the chair lifted. Part of the challenge with this movement is your mental resiliency since you’re experiencing an amount of time under tension.
How to Do
Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, you extend your right arm in front of you with your elbow slightly bent and your palm facing up. You rotate your hand counter-clockwise until your palm is facing the front as if you’re giving a hand signal to say “stop.” Then you will reverse the movement clockwise to bring your hand back to the starting position.
This movement will continually engage your wrist flexors and your wrist extensors. It’s a basic movement and doing it regularly will contribute to your wrist strength and flexibility. Are you noticing that your wrists are weaker than you’d like them to be? This is the perfect movement to build them up without strain or risk of injury.
How to Do
Having access to a hand grip is a great tool to incorporate into your forearm workout. You can use it to train by repeatedly squeezing the hand gripper for a set amount of time You do this isometrically by trying to squeeze it for as long as possible without letting go. If you like, you can add in a rep scheme that feels right for you.
While a hand gripper isn’t a regular household item, it’s very inexpensive and worth the investment for the gains you’ll get from it. It’s portable and easy to use. Hand grip exercisers have been around for a long time and are a standard movement used for developing muscular forearms. If you have one keep it handy so it’s accessible to be part of each of your forearm workouts.
How to Do
While standing straight up, extend your arms out in front of your while holding and overhead grip. It’s another simple and portable piece of equipment that can be part of your forearm workout. It should have a hole drilled in the middle that allows a rope to be secured to it. Keeping your arms parallel to the ground, roll one wrist at a time in an upward motion.
You will roll the rope up toward you in a controlled way. You can attach a weight to the free end of the rope and raise it toward you by rolling the stick or grip you’re using. It can be a weight plate or a heavy bag, whatever you have available. You can perform the movements rolling it both ways as you train the forearm muscles.
This exercise can feel very challenging for your arms, it’s a simple movement but very efficient. It will work all three muscle of your forearem. You can increase the number of times you raise and lower your weights, seeing how heavy you’re able to turn. An added benefit of this exercise is an incredible increase in grip endurance.
Reverse Curls with Resistance Bands
How to Do
Grasp a portion of your resistance band in each hand while stepping on the middle part of the band to create a stable base. Keep your elbows at your sides, and don’t move your arms from your sides, as you curl upward with both arms with palms facing down. Bring your arms up to just past a 90-degree angle. Stop at the top of the movement, then bring your arms back down to full extension.
This is a reverse curl, and it's an excellent exercise for developing the brachioradialis and wrist extensors. Adding this exercise to your forearm workouts will allow these muscles to bulge outward when keeping your arms are by their sides. Remember to hold the contraction for a few seconds at the top of the movement. If you want to have more muscles involved, a helpful tip is to keep your thumb outside of your grip as you’re holding onto your band.
Are you feeling inspired by any of these choices for your forearm workouts? Whether you want to improve upon your throw, climb, and swing, or you want to improve your strength for exercises where you pull or press, you know that these will help. Since the wrist circles and push-ups are easy to do and have no additional equipment, we suggest you add them to your workout routine first. Your forearms will noticeably show gains with this specific deliberate focus two or three times per week.