Written by Jack Boardman
Build Your Forearms
The forearms are often a neglected part of a weight lifter’s workout plan – or are they? You can work on your forearms, the same as any muscles, to make them thicker and to add symmetry to the work you’ve put into your upper arms. Many people are unaware of the various other muscles they are working when focussing on others. For example, on chest day when determined to build your pecs on the bench press you are also working the anterior deltoids, serratus anterior, coracobrachialis, scapulae fixers, trapezii, and the triceps.
That said, you might not be aware when your forearms are being worked as a result of focussing on others. The benefits of training your forearms also include a stronger grip, which you will undoubtedly benefit from in other areas of your weightlifting. To develop your forearms, the pronator teres is the muscle along the underside of your forearm that turns your hand so that the palm faces down. To exercise this, you should focus on wrist curls with your elbow stationary and palm facing upwards.
The brachioradialis covers the top and outer part of your forearm and flexes your arm at the elbow. To exercise this, do the opposite to the pronator teres by performing wrist curls with your palm facing down. Here a few examples of forearm workouts that cover some of the various movements that will work your forearms. From these, with a little ingenuity and deductive skills, you’ll be able to figure out which other exercises build these muscles.
Single Dumbbell Wrist Curl
As mentioned above, sit down with your legs bent at right angles and feet firmly planted and, with your elbow resting on your thigh, curl the weight with your wrist so that your elbow does not move. Vary this by facing your palm down for one muscle, and facing up for the other.
Your forearm strength considerably determines the strength of your grip. A simple place to start for this is the classic bit of equipment, the hand grip, which you squeeze and release in order to strengthen your grip.
Band Finger Extension
This one may sound so simple you don’t know how you didn’t think of it before. Loop a small, tight resistance band around your fingers and thumb so that they’re bunched together, then spread your fingers out, stretching the band.
Bend your right elbow and clasp your left hand over the fingers on your right hand. Gently bend your wrist back so the back of your hand is closer to your forearm, then extend your right arm to feel the stretch. After 60 seconds, stretch the opposite muscles, bending your fingers and wrist so your palm is closer to your forearm.
This is an example of an exercise you’ve likely been using to build other muscles, including your bicep and back, without realising your forearms are also being pumped. Rest your left knee and hand on a bench and grasp a heavy dumbbell with your right hand. Keeping your back in its natural arch, explosively row the weight to your side—you can use less-than-strict form.