The 10 Best Forearm Exercises For Building Muscle

The 10 Best Forearm Exercises For Building Muscle

9 min read


30 May 2024

Hack Beast Mode

  1. The golden rules to building bigger forearms and a solid upper body
  2. The 10 best exercises for building bigger forearm muscles
  3. Final tips for building muscle mass

When you’re putting together a solid weekly gym routine, you probably tend to focus on the big muscle groups.

We’re talking chest, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps, and legs. Maybe abs as an afterthought.

The smaller or more ‘niche’ muscles are usually left out entirely. Or they just get a slight workout as the minor players in bigger lifts.

But they deserve a proper workout in their own right.

One of the most underappreciated and under-trained body parts in this vein is the forearms.

Not many people think to put much effort into training them separately—but they’re definitely worth some muscle-boosting TLC.

Think about it…

  • They’re highly visible and often on show
  • Muscular forearms look great aesthetically
  • They round out your arms for better symmetry and balance
  • They play a vital role in grip strength
  • They’re crucial in improving your stability for so many lifts
  • Stronger forearms reduce limitations and allow you to lift heavier

Why wouldn’t you want to build them up along with the rest of your body?

To get you those massive forearms that you’re hopefully now psyched up for, we’ve pulled together 10 of our favourite muscle-building exercises for pumping up those forgotten lower arms.

Just tack a couple of these onto the end of your arm day workouts, and you’ll soon see some epic growth in this area.

Are you ready to rock? Sweet, let’s look at the forearm exercises you need to weave into your training routine.

But, first…

The golden rules to building bigger forearms and a solid upper body

muscular man

To get bigger and stronger muscles, no matter where on your body they are, you need to follow some golden rules.

Fuel your muscles

Firstly, you need to consume more calories than you burn (known as a calorie surplus). You should also prioritise protein intake within your daily calorie counts and consume it as part of almost every meal and snack. A good starting point is to consume one gram of protein per pound of body weight per day, then adjust your macros as and when necessary.

Keep progressing and testing yourself

Progressive overload is another key to building muscle. This means you need to constantly increase the weight, reps, or set counts of your exercises. You can also try different variations of the same exercises to test yourself in different ways.

Give your muscles time to heal

Don't underestimate the importance of rest. Your muscles need adequate time to recover and grow, so give them the rest days they need to put all of that protein to good use. You should also be getting around seven to nine hours of sleep every night and be training each muscle group no more than twice a week.

Lift with good form

When it comes to direct forearm training, there are some common mistakes that many people make. One of the most common ones is neglecting proper form.

It's crucial that you maintain proper wrist alignment and avoid excessive wrist flexion or extension during forearm workouts, as injury here can have ramifications across all your other lifts.

Don’t overdo it

Another mistake is using too much weight too soon. As forearms often go undertrained, make sure to start with lighter weights and gradually increase the resistance to heavy weights as your strength improves. This will also ensure you keep that good form from the very start.

Anyhow, that’s enough of the build-up. Now it’s time to see exactly what exercises you should be doing to get big and beefy forearms.

The 10 best exercises for building bigger forearm muscles

You’ve got lots of different options for training forearms.

Plenty of these exercises just require standard gym equipment, like dumbbells, kettlebells, or a barbell, but there are other pieces of apparatus you can get for a great forearm workout at home, too—like grip strengtheners and hand grip balls.

Here are 10 of the best forearm workouts for you to try.

Hand grippers

Hand grip device

A really affordable and easy-to-use piece of kit. Very versatile. You can literally sit and squeeze these while you’re watching Netflix for improved grip strength and boost your forearm growth.

  • Slowly squeeze and release hand grippers for as many times as desired

Barbell wrist curl

This will probably be the lightest you’ll ever load up a barbell, so don’t worry about starting off with a super low weight. 

You could even practice with the bar on its own first until you get a feel for wrist curls.

  • Place your elbows on a bench and lean forwards
  • Hold the bar with an underhand grip (palms facing upward)
  • Curl the bar towards your inner wrists and feel the burn in your forearms
  • Slowly lower back to the starting position
  • Perform three sets of 10 to 15 reps

Reverse barbell wrist curl

Now flip those wrists over to give them a workout in the opposite direction. You can also perform a reverse or standard wrist curl with dumbbells if you prefer instead.

  • Place your elbows on a bench and lean forwards
  • Hold the bar with an overhand grip (palms facing downwards)
  • Curl the bar towards the back of your wrists and feel the burn in your forearms
  • Slowly lower back to the starting position
  • Perform three sets of 10 to 15 reps

Farmer's walk

two men doing farmers walk exercise

A classic lift in strongman events. But don’t worry—we don’t expect you to carry massive wooden logs. Just some normal weights will do.

  • Pick up heavy dumbbells or kettlebells in each of your hands
  • Walk for around 50 meters (or however much space you have) with the weights hanging down by your sides
  • Perform three sets of 50-meter walks

Wrist roller

A wrist roller is a pretty unique piece of equipment that includes a handle and a rope that you attach to a weight.

  • Load your desired weight onto the end of the rope
  • Stand upright with your arms straight out in front of you (parallel to the floor)
  • Hold the handle on both ends with an overhand grip (palms facing down)
  • Rotate one wrist at a time using an upward motion until the weight comes fully up towards the handle
  • Once the weight reaches the top, return the weight to its starting position by rotating one wrist at a time in a downward motion
  • Perform 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps

Plate pinch grip carry

A variation of the farmer’s walk is mentioned above, but this is slightly more challenging and will also test your grip strength. Another option is to skip the walking and just stand and hold for as long as possible.

  • Pick up a weight plate in each hand and hold them with your fingertips
  • Walk for around 50 meters (or however much space you have) with the plates hanging down by your sides
  • Perform three sets of 50-meter walks

Hammer curl

Although hammer curls are traditionally used to build your biceps, they also hit your forearm muscles—so they’re a real double whammy for bigger arms.

  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand with feet shoulder-width apart
  • Let your arms hang naturally at your sides with your elbows close to your body and your palms facing your body (in a neutral grip)
  • Slowly curl the dumbbells up towards your shoulders while maintaining that neutral grip
  • Pause at the top, then slowly lower back down to the starting position
  • Perform three sets of 10 to 15 reps

Reverse grip curl

Another movement that does double duty by working your biceps along with providing extra forearm engagement. 

It’s essentially a standard barbell bicep curl but with an upside-down grip. EZ bars work really well for this one too.

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and hold a barbell with an overhand grip (palms facing down), hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart
  • Keeping your elbows close to your sides and your wrists straight, curl the bar up towards your shoulders
  • Pause at the top of the curl and briefly squeeze your forearms, before slowly lowering back down to the starting position
  • Perform three sets of 10 to 15 reps

Towel pull-up

Whereas standard pull-ups are targeted more towards your back and chin-ups hit your biceps more, throwing a towel into the mix will add a grip challenge and get your forearms in on the action, too.

  • Hang a towel over a pull-up bar and grab the ends of the towel with an overhand grip
  • Pull your body up towards the bar while maintaining a strong grip on the towel
  • Slowly lower your body back down to the starting position
  • Perform three sets of 10 to 15 reps

Zottman curl 

Another exercise that works your biceps as well as your forearms. You’ll be lifting the weights upwards like a standard dumbbell curl, then rotating your wrists at the top to lower down like a reverse curl.

  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing up (underhand grip)
  • Curl the dumbbells up toward your shoulders, keeping your palms facing up
  • At the top of the lift, rotate your wrists so that your palms are facing down (overhand grip)
  • Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position with your palms facing downwards
  • Rotate your wrists back to the starting position with palms facing up for your next rep
  • Perform three sets of 10 to 15 reps

Final tips for building muscle mass

man with large forearms

To really maximise forearm endurance and muscle growth, add some of these exercises into your regular upper body strength routine. 

You want to maintain that balance and symmetry, not just on your arms, but throughout your whole body—no muscles left behind!

  • Start out with compound exercises that target multiple muscle groups, such as bench press, overhead press, or rows
  • Next, throw in some isolation exercises for other upper arms, like bicep curls or tricep extensions
  • Then you can finish your workout with some dedicated forearm exercises, like reverse barbell curls or wrist curls

Before we leave you, here are some final tips and reminders to help you build muscle, on your arms as well as across the rest of your body…

  • Progressive overload: Gradually increase the weight and intensity of your exercises to continuously challenge your muscles and promote growth.
  • Variety: Incorporate a mixture of exercises that target different areas of your muscles to ensure balanced development.
  • Proper form: Maintain good form throughout your exercises to effectively target your muscles and prevent injury.
  • Mind-muscle connection: Focus on engaging and squeezing your forearm muscles during each exercise to maximise muscle activation.
  • Rest and recovery: Allow for sufficient rest and recovery time between workouts to promote muscle growth and prevent overtraining.
  • Stretching: Stretching after workouts can help alleviate muscle tension and promote blood flow for faster recovery.
  • Foam rolling: Use a foam roller to massage your muscles and release any tightness or tension.
  • Proper nutrition: Ensure you're eating a balanced diet with sufficient protein and nutrients to aid muscle recovery and enhance growth.
  • Supplements: Find the perfect stack to support and complement your workout goals to take your results to the next level.

And that’s how you build strong forearms to go along with your other muscle gains.

For more quality weight-training tips and sample workout routines, head over to our YouTube channel as well as the CrazyBulk blog. We’ve got plenty more to keep your gym sessions fresh, challenging, and producing massive muscle growth. It’s time to hack Beast Mode.

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