Here are 3 must-haves when it comes to arming (pun intended) yourself with the right tools to pack on some muscle to those often forgotten appendages.
1. HAMMER CURLS
Yes, a no-brainer when it comes to arm training, but hammer curls hit forearms just as hard as, if not harder than, other forearm-specific exercises. The brachioradialis and brachialis are the two important players involved with the hammer curl giving you that coveted massive lower arm look.
Start by holding a pair of dumbbells by your sides with your palms facing your body. Now, the movement can be performed one of two ways: You can begin by curling the weight straight up toward your shoulder or curling the weight up toward the direction of your opposite shoulder. Either way, be sure to curl in a controlled manner avoiding swaying and jerking the weight up. Return in the same manner. 3 to 4 sets of 10-15 reps should do the trick.
2. HOLDS & CARRIES
This one tends to be a long-lost piece of advice relegated to strongmen with no aspirations of aesthetic development. News flash: larger forearms are stronger forearms. By practicing different holds and carries, you will directly affect your forearm development for the better.
First and foremost, be sure to attempt most, if not all your lifts without wrist straps (you know, those things you wear to help you lift more while saving your grip?) Go for heavy farmer’s walks, barbell and dumbbell shrugs, Romanian deadlifts, and other pulling exercises that have you using a lot of weight. Rows, deadlifts and pull-ups are also good choices to go sans straps.
3. WRIST CURL/REVERSE WRIST CURL COMBO
Yes, I know, this is actually two moves in one but worth doing for sure. The basic supinated and reverse (pronated) wrist curls directly work not only the forearm flexors and extensors, but also help develop grip strength and endurance in the forearm area. Done in superset fashion, this movement combo is an intense way to finish off those stubborn lower arms!
Sit at the end of a bench grasping a barbell with your forearms resting palms up flat on the end between your legs. Proceed to lower the weight by rolling the bar down your fingers for an intense stretch. Pause and then return the weight by curling the bar back into your palms and curling at the wrist for a contraction. Squeeze at the top before returning for another rep. 3 to 4 supersets will toast those forearms!
GET BIGGER FOREARMS
So, now you have the pieces to the puzzle for bigger forearms, but how do they all fit? If forearm size is a priority, then working them at the end of any and all upper body training days is a must. 5 to 10 sets of one, two or all of the above would be the best approach.
As stated earlier, you will also want to ditch the wrist straps and start feeling the bar in your hands more. Squeeze the bar on bench presses, rows, and shoulder presses. Learn to grip the bar with authority and not rely on straps to help do the lifting for you. You will soon find that as your grip strengthens, so does you entire body.
A strong grip is directly indicative of a strong body. Well-developed forearms aren’t only a vanity-driven endeavor, they are also a true sign of whole-body power and confidence. So, get busy and build some forearms you can be proud of.