The Best Forearm Workouts for Building Strength and Size

Having a well-rounded muscular physique is what every person wants, right? It’s not uncommon for people to skip over this important muscle. Just like I’m sure it’s not as exciting for you to do exercises that focus on your stabilizers compared to the ones you can physically see every day (different topic for another day).

Forearm Workouts

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The Best Forearm Workouts 

Even though these are considered secondary muscles, it’s still important to give them a good workout! You don’t want to be the guy with huge biceps and baby forearms, do you? It’s important for you to have a good foundation of forearm exercises stored in your arsenal.

Here, we will discuss the best forearm workouts you can start using today so you can finally get rid of those petite baby arms.

Before I dive into that too much, let’s first discuss the importance of utilizing those muscles.

Related: The Ultimate Dumbbell Workout 

Related: Build Muscle: How To Guide For Skinny Guys

#1. Grip Strength Matters

Ever grabbed a weight and suddenly felt it slipping right out of your hands, or at least coming close.

I know I have!

Whether you’re doing a deadlift or a shoulder shrug, you are going to need to be able to hold and grab onto those weights. If your grip strength is weak, it’s going to make these exercises much more difficult for you.

More often than not, your grip gives out before the muscle you’re actually working does (you’ll notice this a lot with shoulder shrugs). Not to mention, studies have shown that forearm strength is a good indicator for predicting overall body strength.

#2 Strong Firm Handshake

This one isn’t notably as important, but having a nice firm handshake definitely makes for a good first impression.

#3 Bigger Forearms

Probably the most obvious one, it will make you look more well-rounded. Having a proportional looking body is important, but as you work your forearms, you are also improving bicep strength as well.

There are quite a few smaller muscles that make up the “forearms”, 9 to be exact. IMAGE.

That’s quite a few muscles if you asked me. Note that all of these muscles are involved in grip strength and grip endurance. Also, remember there is a difference between grip endurance vs strength.

You want to make sure you are involving different types of exercise to include different variations to hit all of these different little muscles appropriately.

Enough with the educational #@$%, let’s get to the forearm workouts already!

1. Dumbbell Wrist Flexion

You are first going to start out by sitting on a bench, and you are going to want to have a dumbbell in each hand. Next, make sure your palms are facing up and your arms are resting on your legs.

Now, begin sliding your wrists so that they are just barely hanging off over your knee’s.

Begin curling your wrist up slowly as high as you can, hold it, then slowly lower it back down to starting position. Repeat until you reach muscular failure.

Sets: 3-4

Reps: As many as possible

2. Dumbbell Wrist Extension

forearm workouts

This is going to be very similar to wrist flexion, except this time your palms are going to be facing down to the ground instead. This is personally one of my favorite forearm exercises.

Again, start with your arms resting on your legs, making sure your wrists are hanging just slightly over your knees.

Now, make sure that you are able to bend your wrist all the way forward without touching your knees. If it touches, then you may need to slide your arms out a little further.

Being with your wrists bent down forward as far as they can go and begin slowly raising your wrist as high as you can. Hold your wrist in that position for a second, and then slowly lower them back down to starting position.

Again, do this until you reach muscular failure.

Sets: 3-4

Reps: As many as possible

3. Reverse Dumbbell Curls

This is a personal favorite of mine (awesome to superset with a bicep routine).

This can be done with dumbbells or a preacher curl bar.

You want to start in a standing position with your arms shoulder-width apart and a dumbbell in each hand.

Make sure your palms are facing behind you, and begin to slowly curl the weight up as high as you can (roughly chest height). Make sure your elbows stay locked at your sides at all time.

The only part of your arm that should have any movement is from the elbow up (forearms).

Last, slowly lower the weights down to starting position.

Sets: 3-4

Reps: 10-15

4. Plate Hand Squeeze (pinch)

For this exercise, you are going to want grab two weighted plates, and hold them together with one hand for as long as you can. I recommend starting out with a lightweight and moving up from there. Aim for 20-30 seconds, and then take a break. If you are just starting out, begin with 2 five pound weights, and move up from there.

This is more of an endurance-based exercise, but as you increase the weight, it can help improve your strength as well.

Sets: 3-4

Reps: Hold For At Least 20 Seconds

5. Grip Trainers

forearm workouts

These are specifically designed to help with developing grip strength. You are most likely going to have to purchase this, but they are relatively inexpensive. This is probably one of the top forearm workouts you can incorporate into your routine for developing strength!

There are all different levels and adjustments for grip trainers, starting with beginner level grip trainers.  If these are too easy for you, there are advanced level grip trainers as well.

I would recommend treating this exercise a little different than the other exercises. Try aiming for 10-12 reps for each set, but try and go for 5-6 sets instead. 

I would change up the rest each week. Since studies have shown that longer periods of rest help develop strength (3 minutes +), one week make strength your main priority. The following week, shorten the periods of rest (1 minute or less) and aim for endurance based exercises by increasing the number of reps (15 +)

6. Hanging Isometric Hold –

forearm workouts

These types of forearm workouts are solely based on helping develop muscular endurance. For this exercise, you are going to want to find some type of pull-up bar. It doesn’t matter if it’s at the gym, your house, or even at a playground. What you want to do is grab and hold onto the bar as long as you can. Give yourself shorter periods of rest, ranging from 45-60 seconds. Try to aim for 4-5 sets on this exercise.

Sets: 4-5

Reps: Hold As Long As Possible

Alright, that sums up the forearm workouts! Trying to figure out a good workout routine can sometimes be difficult without the right help. 

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