How To Manifest Muscle Mass From Elbow To Wrist
By Eric Broser
Throughout my career as both a competitive bodybuilder and “physique transfromation artist” I have been fascinated with forearm development. Even as a youngster I remember always being impressed when I would see a guy wearing a short-sleeve shirt and displaying thickly muscled and highly vascular forearms. To me, this represented power and strength—and that was something I knew I wanted. Of course, some lucky people are genetically gifted and need no direct forearm work to bring about significant hypertrophy in this muscle group. However, for the rest of us mere mortals, we must specifically target this area in order to keep it lagging behind the upper arm.
Remember, the forearms are heavily recruited in every single upper-body exercise that you perform. This forces them to become very tough and resilient, which unfortunately makes it harder to affect their hypertrophy. Simply “pumping them up” with a few sets of wrist curls is not enough to get them growing, so you need to think in terms of literally bombarding the forearms with relentless intensity and varying stimuli. This means precisely and aggressively targeting the flexors, extensors, and brachioradialis with specific movements and utilizing a wide array of rep ranges, training techniques, and strategies.
- Super Size With Supersets: I find that the forearms respond quite well to this particular training protocol, so it is a very good idea to include it in your workouts often. In some sessions I recommend “pre-exhaust” supersets in which a forearm “isolation” movement is followed by a curling (biceps and brachilais assisted) movement. In other sessions try hitting the curls first and then look to isolate just the forearms immediately after.
- Ditch The Wrist Wraps: While it makes good sense to utilize wraps on the heaviest sets of some back exercises, there are some lifters that rely on them for almost every movement, and on all sets! By doing this, the forearms are robbed of valuable stimulation, as well as gains in strength, which can undoubtedly hold back their development in the long run.
- Train Forearms Multiple Days Each Week: Like the calves, we rely on all of the muscles in the forearms in almost every daily task we perform. As I mentioned, this makes them very stubborn and resistant to growth. So, if your forearms are greatly undersized you may benefit from hitting them up to three non-consecutive days per week, with each session varying in some way from the last. Lagging muscle groups often need more frequent and more intense stimulation.
- Wrap Things Up With Plate Holds: This often-ignored exercise is amazing for finishing off a forearm workout with a magnificent pump. Additionally, it helps build tremendous strength in the hands and fingers, which will only serve to make you stronger during many other important exercises and daily tasks (and it gives you a hell of a powerful handshake.) The movement is simple: Grab a matching pair weight plates (10 to 45 pounds, depending on strength and fatigue levels) with only your fingertips, and hold them by your sides for as long as possible. Make sure to squeeze as tight as you can, and be prepared to deal with some intense levels of lactic-acid burn!
Exercise Sets Reps
Seated Barbell Wrist Curl 3 13-15, 10-12, 7-9
Standing Barbell Reverse Curl 3 13-15, 10-12, 7-9
Superset 1: 2 13-15, 7-9
Low Cable Reverse Curl
Standing Behind-The-Back Barbell Wrist Curl
Superset 2: 2 13-15, 7-9
Seated Barbell Reverse Wrist Curl
–Superset with: Alternating Dumbell Hammer Curl
Superset: 2 10-12
Seated Barbell Wrist Curl
Seated Barbell Reverse Wrist Curl
Seated Concentration Hammer Curl 2 4-6