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The Top 5 Best Forearm Exercises

Posted Dec 23 2010 12:59pm

Every serious lifter would love to have massive forearms. It just adds to an already good physique, and would seemingly increase all of your other pressing lifts as well. The problem that most people have is that they aren’t sure how to attack their forearms. Either that, or they are not as consistent with their forearm training.

Forearms should be trained just as often as any other muscle. It shouldn’t just be something you work every couple of months whenever you are bored. Take your forearm training seriously, and you will be on the right path to adding some size on them.

Many people think they have to do only direct forearm exercises such as wrist curls, and those will work to an extent, but with forearm training, you have to think outside the box and dumb things down. What is the one major exercise that requires you to have some strong ass forearms? Did I hear someone say deadlifts ? That is correct.

Deadlifts , just like they work every other muscle in your body, they also work your forearms. Many people don’t get this much work because they decide to use straps whenever they go heavy. If you can deadlift a ton of weight without straps, then you are sure to have a great grip and huge forearms.

Aside from deadlifts , which you will read about more in a minute, I want to introduce you to 5 other exercises and a variety of techniques that you can use to build great size and strength in your forearms.


The forearm comprises around 20 different muscles, but it contains two main ones: the flexors and the extensors. The flexors are on the side of the palm of the hand and the extensors are on the opposite side.

The flexors and the extensors both regulate the movement of the wrist, fingers, thumb, and they can also control which way the hand faces.
The muscles of the forarms are pretty much responsible for controling the whole hand.

Although it is not specifically a forearm exercise, I must list this next exercise as very best forearm exercise. I’m listing first, but I won’t count it as one of the top 5. Consider this forearm exercise #0 – an in “ground-zero” – as in the foundation of your training routine – as in you should use this exercise once every week.

Pick one exercise that isolates the forearms and pick another exercises that also targets the biceps. Use those exercises in one workout, then choose a different pair of exercises for your next workout. Try to repeat each exercise at least once a week. Just remember the forearms can still be overtrained if you incorporate too much direct forearm work into a routine with a ton of pulling and rowing.

Aside from incorporating the top 5 best forearm exercises into workout routine, you can improve your forearm training simply by using these additional techniques on other exercises.

  • Resist Using Wrist Straps

    Wrist-straps will take the stress off the forearms and short-change the trainer in this area. In order to fully stimulate the forearms, they require maximal squeezing.

    Straps compensate for a weak grip and it follows that they will negate any form of forearm stimulation, as they prevent optimal squeezing. Those with the strongest grips tend to have the biggest forearms.

  • Use A Thick Bar

    This will increase the difficulty associated with gripping the bar and will resultantly contribute to significant increases in forearm size. If you don’t have a thick bar, wrap a towel or a piece of rubber around the bar to make it thicker.

  • Use A Wrist Curler

    Essentially a wrist-curler is a heavy plate (which can vary in weight) attached to a small bar via a thin rope. To execute this movement, hold arms straight out in front whilst gripping the bar.

    Slowly roll bar with one hand at a time until weight has been raised to shoulder height. Then unwind it and repeat, reversing the way in which the bar is rolled (change from working the flexors to the extensors).

  • Boxing

    Repeatedly punching a boxing bag requires a tremendous amount of forearm strength and periodically structuring boxing sessions into ones routine may provide an edge when it comes to developing these muscles to their fullest.

    Personally I have found that uppercutting the heavy bag with 50-punches, each arm, works wonders as far as developing the flexors goes.

  • Use a Rope

    When doing any kind of pulling exercise such as rows or pull ups, use a rope instead of a bar. You will have to squeeze hard towards the end of each set just to hold on to the weight. This might impact the other muscle group you are training (predominantly back when rowing or pulling), but will hit your forearms and grip hard.

  • Grab Sand

    Sand grabbing is a great grip strength exercise. Simply fill a bucket full of sand, reach in, grab a handful, let it go, grab another handful, flex your fingers, grab another handful, pull it out, drop it, reach in again, etc… Basically work your hands and fingers all around in the sand until your hands are completely fatigued.

  • Practice with Grippers

    I almost didn’t want to mention grippers because 99.9% of grippers suck. You will need to get the Captains of Crush grippers from Ironmind. Start with level 1 unless you are positive that you already have a world class grip. Work your way up to level 4 and you’ll be famous.

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