Imagine having a bulky back, chest, and shoulders with weak and lean arms. Might not be the best body proportion, right? Most people overlook the forearms muscles when working out but a full-body workout is incomplete without forearms-ripping exercises. Having forearms that are nicely built is not only important to serve looks but they also play a crucial role in other functions. The most important function of having strengthened and developed forearms is the development of functional health.
Functional health is referred to as the exercise movements that imitate the activities of a person’s daily living, such as walking, sitting, eating, getting out of bed, etc, to increase the efficacy of the body’s total movement. Another important function of the forearms is to develop better grip strength. Working on your forearms will increase the grip strength that will help you in your practical life situations, like when you lift heavy luggage or open tightly sealed bottles or jars. In the gym, having strengthened forearms will enable you to lift heavy weights equipment during your workout.
Not having developed and strengthened forearm muscles can hinder your workout in the gym. This is because more grounded forearms lead to a better and firmer grip with more muscles creating a compressing clutch during exercises. When your forearms or wrists are weak and underdeveloped, these muscles might be the first ones to wear out and be fatigued when you’re performing exercises like push-ups. This implies that you will never genuinely burden the real pulling muscles during the exercise because your lower arms give out excessively fast. This is known as the weakest link in the kinetic chain — individual muscles and joints working together to perform a task.
When you are performing exercises like push-ups, you are not just captivating the significant muscles that you’re focusing on with the exercise, like the back, chest, and bicep muscles, but you are additionally including every one of the muscles engaged with the kinetic chain that plays out this movement. This incorporates your wrists, hands, and forearms. So in case you are performing push-ups and your grip strength is weak, your back may not engage in the exercise properly because your arms and forearms fall flat before different muscles even get tested.
How to Build Your Forearm Muscles?
Here are a few exercises that will target your forearms and help you gain mass on them.
- Farmers Walk: This exercise helps build your fingers and flexors while engaging other muscles in your body. To perform this exercise:
- Hold a pair of dumbbells with the palms of your hands facing inside.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
- Keep your spine straight and core tight
- Walk in straight lines as you keep your shoulders engaged
- Reps: 10 sets, 12-15 steps
- Chin-ups: This exercise targets your forearms and flexors. To perform this exercise:
- Grab the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart while the palms of your hands face you
- Pull your body up until your chin is over the bar by contracting your shoulder blades together. Keep your core engaged
- Hold the position for a few seconds and then lower your body back to the initial position
- Reps: 3 sets, 8 chin-ups
- Towel pull-ups (bar hangs): This exercise targets your wrist adductors. To perform this exercise:
- Put two towels over a bar and keep them shoulder-width apart
- With a tight grip, grab the towels in each hand
- Hang yourself from the bar by lifting your feet off the ground
- Cross your ankles behind you and keep your core engaged
- Hold this position for 30 seconds
- Reps: 5 sets, 30 seconds
- Zottman Curl: This exercise helps increase the muscle strength of the forearms. To perform this exercise:
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand while standing up with palms facing your sides
- Keep your upper arms in place as you curl the weights
- As you’re lifting your dumbbells, rotate the palms of your hands such that they’re facing your biceps instead of your sides
- Hold this position for a moment
- Then rotate your palms again so they are facing downwards this time
- Lower the weights down slowly
- Reps: 3 sets, 10-12 curls
- Hammer Curl: This exercise targets your lower arms muscles with the help of a contraction. To perform this exercise:
- Stand up with your knees slightly bent and hold a dumbbell in each hand with your arms straight and palms facing your sides
- Lift the dumbbell to your shoulders i.e. curl it such that your thumbs face your shoulders. Lift one dumbbell at a time.
- Hold this position for a few seconds.
- Reps: 3 sets, 10-12 curls
- Pull-up bar hang: This exercise targets your lower arm muscles, fingers and flexors and strengthens your core. To perform this exercise:
- Stand under a pull-up bar and reach up to the bar. Hold the bar with your arms shoulder-width apart
- Your palms should face forward
- Lift your feet off the ground and cross your ankles behind your back
- Hold this position for 30 seconds
- Reps: 3 sets, 30 seconds
- Crab Walk: This exercise improves the mass growth of your forearm muscles. To perform this exercise:
- Sit on the ground with your face towards the ceiling
- Your feet should be in front of you hip-width apart
- Your arms should be behind you with your fingers facing the hips
- Tighten your abs, engage the core and lift your hips off the ground
- Start moving by working your right foot forward followed by your left hand
- Then work your left foot forward followed by your right hand
- Continue back and forth in this position
- Reps: 10 steps forward, 10 steps backward
- Towel Cable Row: This exercise targets both your forearm and back muscles simultaneously. To perform this exercise:
- Take a towel and hook it to a cable pulley
- Stand in front of it with your back straight and knees slightly bent
- Grab the ends of the towel in each hand
- Pull the towel toward you by squeezing your shoulder blades together
- This should create a rowing motion
- Reps: 3 sets, 10 reps
- Plate Hammer Curls: This exercise targets the size and strength of your forearm muscles and biceps. It also strengthens grip. To perform this exercise:
- Stand upright and tighten your core
- Hold a plate from each end with your hands. Hold a firm grip
- Lift the plate to your chest by curling your biceps
- Adjust the weight according to your level
- Reps: 4 sets, 8 reps
- Pinch Carries: This exercise targets your forearm muscles. To perform this exercise:
- Grab a plate in each hand with the smooth side facing outward
- Pinch both the pates together such that they do not slip or are separated.
- While performing this exercise, keep your core tight, back straight, and walk
- Reps: 3 sets, 15 yards walk
Equipment That Builds Forearm Muscles
Forearm muscles can be built at the gym as well as at home using various equipment. Some of them are the following:
- Cable pulley Machines: These machines consist of weighted cables that are attached to handles for pushing and pulling. A variety of workouts can be done using a cable pulley such as biceps curls, rows, chest presses, etc. All these exercises require the movement of arms in different angles. Some of these pulleys also have ankle attachments that focus on your lower body. For resistance, cable pulleys have weight stacks or spots for weight plates.
- Dip Stand Bars: A basic dip stand bar consists of two U-shaped bars that are about the height of your waist. They allow you to perform push-ups, pull-ups, L-sits, etc. Exercises are performed on a dip stand bar using resistance with parallel bars. Workouts on this equipment helps tone the forearms muscles, build strength and burn fat. They are portable and can be used at home too.
- Wrist and Forearm Developer: Wrist and forearm developers consist of forearm rollers that build muscle, increase flexibility and enhance cardiovascular activity. For a secure hold, it has a soft foam grip. It not only targets the forearms and wrists but it targets the fingers too. It has an adjustable grip with a resistance level that varies from product to product.
- Shoulder Pulley: A shoulder pulley is an equipment that consists of a small pulley at the top with handles and ropes extending down from it. It is hooked over a surface, such as a door, to perform exercises. They not only strengthen your forearm muscles but are also helpful in improving shoulder motions after a surgery.
- Lift Pulley Machine: A lift pulley machine consists of a wheel that carries a cable, cord, chain, rope or a belt on its rim. It is mainly used for weight lifting and targets the biceps, triceps, and forearms. When the user pulls the rope or the cable, the weight shifts the force to the user’s body resulting in exertion. Lift pulleys allow you to perform exercises in a variety of motion ranges.
- Stack Wrist Curl Machine: This machine consists of a bar attached to resistance cables and a seat. The user seats and pulls the bar up and down to gain strength. This machine targets the forearm muscles, wrists, and flexors.
Before you start performing any of these exercises, make sure there are no injuries or possible underlying conditions that may deteriorate your health if you work out. In case of injuries or post-surgery conditions, you should consult your physiotherapist for the right exercises and directions and they should guide you on what exercises to perform and how to perform them.