Best Exercises For Forearms – Enhance your grip strength and arm training

Table of Contents

best exercises for forearmsWelcome to the best exercises for forearms guide. This article is centered towards bodyweight forearm training but includes some weighted exercises that don’t require much material and are proven to be highly effective. Along with other parts of the body such as the neck and calves, the forearms are often a neglected body part, not many people want to or feel like they should train them directly.

granted, the forearms can be effectively trained to a certain extent through indirect work such as pull ups, deadlifts and more, but they remain a very complex muscle group, with around 20 different muscles between the wrist and elbow joint, and training them directly, can further increase your strength gains.

Having developed forearms will improve your overall performances on many different movements. More forearm strength directly translates to being able to a higher force output on basically any exercise which requires you to grip an object;  may it be to perform more pull ups, deadlift heavier, or rope climbing. Finally, it also contributes to a more balanced and aesthetic physique. Here are some of the most optimal exercises compiled from information based on current scientific knowledge and literature on bodyweight and weighted forearm training.


best exercises for forearms

The main  muscle we will be bringing our attention to with the following exercises is the brachioradialis; best worked with pronated movements

The forearm is a complex muscle group which allows for the following movements:

  • anterior side of the arm -> flexors = wrist + finger flexion
  • posterior side of the arm -> extensors = wrist + finger extension + supination
  • Both sides of the arms contribute to wrist adduction and abduction

The exercises

For the following exercises, a lot of the exercises include isometric work, as it is a highly effective training method for your forearms. There will be a few other exercises that work other muscles and do not isolate the brachioradialis as much, but they are chosen specifically for their forearm thickening potential. It’s preferable that you keep any of these exercises for the end of your training session when you have already worked with your compound movements.

dead hang/weighted dead hang/ one arm hang

Just grab a pull up bar or tree branch and hang for as long as you can. The thicker the bar, the harder the exercise becomes as it becomes more difficult to wrap your hands around. Try to increase your time with every session.

Most of us are on a daily basis objected to movements and activities that compress our spine to a certain extent. Hanging of of a bar for a few minutes everyday will not only work on your grip strength, but also allow your spine to decompress.

towel pull ups

Pull ups with a twist. Wrap the towel, or two towels around a bar and play around with different grips ( wide, close, supination, pronation ). You can also do pull ups on two ropes as an equally effective alternative.

Fat grips

One of the most tried and tested methods of improving your grip strength and working your forearms “passively”. You can use a fat grip and place it around gymnastics rings, dumbbells, barbells, your pull up bar, and more. This will augment tension on all your exercises and will make typing on a keyboard or anything else finger related, a difficult job for a few days.

Wrist extensions

To perform this exercise, start with a fairly vertical surface to understand how it works and do the movement properly. Place your hands flat on the surface in front of you and push off from your fingertips. To increase the difficulty, move on to a lower surface. When you get strong enough to perform these in a full push  up position, you will have a solid pair of forearm extensors.

wrist rolls

This is a great forearm enhancing tool that you can easily build yourself in very little time. All you will need is some string, a bar, and a small weight plate. You don’t want to go very heavy on this exercise as even with a light weight, it will burn your forearms intensely. To complete a single rep, you need to roll the weight all the way down, and all the way back up. Repeat as many times as necessary for the burn to take over.

plate hold

Favored by weightlifters the plate pinch is another holding exercise for time, where you gradually increase the number of plates. Adding more weight adds further difficulty in two ways, by making the total load heavier, and widening the grip needed to hold on to the weights.

Rope climbs

Those who have tried legless rope climbs will know how hard these are on your grip and forearms.

Just going up a 15 – 20 feet rope once is hard enough, but try going back down and then up again.

A single set of this and your grip will be shot.

An added benefit of rope climbs is that it recruits a large amount of muscles across your entire body, and will give your biceps a prominent pump.

Perform these once a week to give your body a chance to recover properly.

best exercises for forearms – the workout

As stated above, these exercises should be kept for the end of your workout, with the exception of the “fat grips”; which you can implement directly into your current exercise routine. Other exercises like the rope climb should be performed with low volume, and a lot of recovery time as they can be stressful on the elbows if abused of. It goes without saying that you need to include the right stretches pre and post workout, as well a include some foam rolling which can help with your recovery.

Workout 1: Dead hangs superset with wrist rollers – 2 sets

[Workout 2: Rope climbs superset with plate pinches – 2 sets

Workout 3: Towel pull ups superset with towel extensions – 2 sets

Be patient and augment the difficulty gradually. In time you will see some satisfying results in your grip and forearm strength. Other exercises should get easier, too, and you will certainly develop a strong handshake. Of course, you don’t want to do all of these exercises, nor dedicate an entire session just for intensive forearm training. Pick one or two of these exercises and add them to your current routine as a finisher.

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