Nothing says “Bodybuilder” like big, muscular arms, and this includes huge, powerful forearm muscles!
Unfortunately, many bodybuilders (myself included) unknowingly hold themselves back by failing to perform direct forearm exercises on a regular basis.
There are some genetically gifted bodybuilders that are lucky enough to grow huge powerful forearms without doing a lot of direct forearm work. Most of us are not that lucky, so I highly recommend that you establish forearms as a priority and work them at least two times per week.
Besides, what is more impressive than a powerful set of forearms connected to those huge biceps and triceps you have? A powerful grip and muscular forearms will instantly gain you respect when meeting and shaking hands with most mortal men!
Forearm muscles are a bit denser than bicep or triceps muscles, so they can take more punishment without over training. I currently add forearm exercises to the end of all my other workouts, and in short order, I have noticed significant gains in strength in my pull ups and rowing movements.
Give it a try! Below are some of the exercises I do for grip strength and forearm size.
The best forearm workouts will include:
- Direct forearm exercises such as wrist curls and reverse wrist curls.
- Grip strength exercises.
- Loaded carry exercises (such as the Farmer’s Walk)
It is grip exercises that will allow you to use heavier weights in all your other workouts (back, arms, traps) which means bigger muscles!
When it comes to forearm training, bodybuilders want simple, yet extremely effective forearm exercises and workouts to strengthen their wrists and forearms.
I recommend hitting forearms at least 2 times per week. I typically do forearms after biceps, but you can really do them at the end of any workout.
Perform all forearm work last. (If you do these correctly, your grip will be too weak to do any other exercises for a while!)
Barbell Wrist curls 3 sets of 12-15 reps
Reverse Barbell Wrist Curls 3 sets of 12-15 reps
Behind the Back Wrist Curls 3 sets of 8-10 reps
(This is one of my favorites. Try this if you really want to pump up those forearms!)
If you want a truly BRUTAL exercise that gets massive results, try the Farmer’s Walk. If you don’t mind pain, pick up a couple heavy dumb bells, barbells, kettle bells, or whatever heavy objects you have handy and walk as far as you can with them before you drop them!
The farmer’s walk is also used in Strongmen competitions using various insanely heavy objects. It will also give your entire body a great testosterone boosting workout when you start carrying some super heavy weights!
When your grip gives out and you need some wrist straps to continue your workout, I recommend Versa Gripps. See my Versa Gripps Classic review here.
Wrist roller Workouts
Another great forearm exercise to help build huge forearms is using a wrist roller. Here are a couple examples of wrist rollers you can buy on Amazon pretty cheap.
If you have any strength left, add this to your forearm and grip training to quickly develop more strength with minimal equipment. You can also use a wrist roller for a quick forearm workout if you don’t have the time to do the complete workout described above.
As you’ll soon see, the reason a lot of people don’t use this exercise is because it is quite painful to perform as it develops a deep burn in the forearm muscles very quickly!
A wrist bar or roller is one piece of bodybuilding equipment that can be made with things that most people can find around the house, and yet in my opinion is one of most effective forearm developers ever devised.
How to make your own wrist roller exerciser
What you will need:
- broom handle or wooden dowel or PVC about 18″ long and 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter.
- length of sturdy rope 5-6 feet long
- some weights. barbell plates or dumb bells will work.
- electric drill with 1/4″ wood bit
Drill a hole through the center of the dowel or pipe about 1/4″ in diameter. Now take one end of a 5 foot piece of rope and feed it through the hole in the dowel and tie in a nice big knot on the other and so it can’t be pulled back through.
The next thing you’re going to do is to tie either a small dumbbell or a 5 – 10 pound barbell plate to the other end of the rope. Adjust the length of the rope so that when you hold the dowel in your hands and extend your hands straight out in front of your body, the dumbbell or barbell plate is just barely touching the floor.
To make the “deluxe” model, get a small carabiner and tie it to the end of the rope. This way you can quickly add or remove weight by simply feeding the carabiner through the plate (Olympic plates will be needed for this option) and clipping it to the rope.
Now you have made yourself your very own wrist roller exercise device!
If you don’t want to make your own, you can get a wrist roller pretty cheap at this Amazon link.
How to use a Wrist Roller
To perform the exercise, hold the dowel straight out in front of you with both hands and start to roll it either way, moving only at the wrist until the rope is wrapped completely around the dowel and the weight has been lifted all the way up until it stops.
Now slowly roll the dowel the opposite way to lower the weight. It is very important that you keep the weight under control, and do it relatively slowly. Keep turning the dowel in the same direction, and it will start to roll back up. Keep rolling it in that direction until the weight comes up to the top once again. Now reverse the direction and lower it to the bottom. This completes one rep.
There are several variations in the way you can perform this exercise. The method outlined above is my preferred technique. It can also be performed while resting your elbows on something to support your arms so that you can focus more on your forearms and leave your deltoids out of it.
Also see my article on making your own TRX straps.
As with any workout, be sure to take in at least 20-30 grams of whey protein immediately afterwards!!