You train your biceps and you blast your triceps and you now to get in serious back and chest and leg work too. But how often are you training your forearms? How often do you give them extra gym attention?
Because they just might be the key to unlocking greater strength and muscle and dominating all those other parts of your training too. Very often, forearm and grip training is underestimated, but the stronger you get your forearms and grip, the better you’ll perform on exercises like pullups and rows, and the less you’ll have to think about grip on exercises like deadlifts. There are other reasons to strengthen your forearms, too: if your grip is weak, you could face more serious health issues down the line.
In theory, you train your grip during every workout, of course. One of the best ways to train your forearms is to grip everything with intent, squeezing tightly on the bar, whether you’re doing pullups or rows or deadlifts. The more you grip the stronger and more consistent that grip will get. But every so often, it doesn’t hurt to add some intentional forearm work into your training, too, because that can bring up weak points, and it’ll ready you to grip with more intent on all those other movements. So add these moves into your workouts.
When to Train Forearms
You don’t need to work through marathon forearm training workouts, of course. Instead, inject light forearm training into every session. It’s easy to do 1 or 2 forearm exercises at the end of a standard workout. Just do 2 to 3 sets of each move.
Forearms are much like calves and abs, too: They’re a muscle group that should get routine work almost every day. That means you don’t need to take a “rest” day from training forearms. Don’t be afraid to inject them into 5 to 6 days a week of training; your grip strength will benefit and it can be trained with that kind of frequency.
One easy way to think about this then: Choose one forearm exercise from the list below, and do 3 sets of it once a day at the end of your workout. It’s a guaranteed arm pump at the end of every single day. (And there’s never anything wrong with that.)
Bottoms-Up Clean to Rotation
The bottoms-up clean will tax your forearms to balance a load at the top of each clean. Adding the rotation makes that balance even more challenging.
Towel Hammer Curl
Grabbing a dumbbell or kettlebell via towel is a perfect way to build forearm strength, adding a grip challenge to every curl rep.
Towel Inverted Row Hold
Blast back, biceps, and forearms all at once with this challenging isometric hold. The greatest challenge may come to your forearms here: They have to grip tightly or you list slipping down the towel.
Ultimate Peak Biceps Curl
Yes, you’re blasting biceps and brachialis on this curl, too. But adding in the twist midway through and controlling the descent will also blast your forearms, especially as you go heavier in weight.
Total Arm Countdown Finisher
This well-rounded finisher blasts biceps and triceps, and includes a generous helping of hammer curl work, too, which is perfect for building your forearms.
Turkish Getup Challenge
Racking up time with a kettlebell upside down is destined to build forearm strength, because the balance component is tricky. Here, you’ll do that, and have to balance the bell through a ton of total-body movement, which will lead to a generous forearm pump after each completed rep.
Spider Curl Finisher
A unique bend of alternating biceps and hammer curl work, this series places your forearms under plenty of tension. Grip the dumbbells tightly throughout for even more forearm work.
The classic Farmer’s Carry will pump up your forearms more than you might expect: you’re gripping heavy bells as you walk.
Yes, you need to grip the bells tightly when you swing, and that will lead to plenty of organic forearm work.
The classic deadlift, without wraps, is a potent weapon in building massive forearms. The key: Don’t use wraps and don’t use a mixed grip. If you force your hands to handle the grip work, it won’t be easy to lift, and you may have to go a bit lighter than you would with straps, but your forearms will get a heavyweight challenge lifting a large load.
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