I want to start out by making it absolutely clear that; if you don’t have big and strong forearms you are not going to have a muscular and strong upper body or at least not see its full potential.
Think about it, if a tree has tiny roots, it won’t be able to grow into a 100ft monster. It needs the foundations to make the rest of it big and strong. When you go to the gym to work your upper body, no matter what exercise you’re performing, the workout is transferring through your wrists & forearms first. So without strong forearms you can’t lift heavier weights and you may be stunting your growth in other areas of your body. So would it sound logical that you need strong forearms first to push past the plateau and keep on lifting heavier and heavier weights?
Ok, yes, your forearms will get naturally bigger and stronger if you are performing the bench press exercise for example. But wouldn’t it be great if you could accelerate the growth of your shoulders, chest and biceps? This is particularly important for hard gainers. This is where you might get confused. The guys with lucky genetics may be able to get away with not having to do isolation exercises on their forearms, neck and calves because all of the other exercises they do will make them get bigger anyway.
Hard gainers on the other hand, generally have smaller frames, and thinner wrists and ankles. Therefore the accumulation of muscle on the forearms and calves is minimal, naturally. Hard gainers should still carry on doing compound exercises such as bench press and squats, but after a while once you have got out of the beginners faze, you will need to do isolation moves for your calves and forearms.
Don’t let your forearms full behind, they need weight training attention too!
How to Get Bigger Forearms
Forearms are stubborn muscles to see improvement in, that’s because they can tolerate so much. Therefore you can train them hard. If you visit the gym 3-4 times a week, try training your forearms and calves at the end of each of those training days. This is the only muscle group that doesn’t follow the common rule for building muscle. In every other muscle group if you trained them 4 times a week you would more than likely over train them and hinder any muscle improvement.
Note: Although your forearms might be able to take a lot of punishment your wrist joints can’t. Train your forearms for 4-8 weeks and then take a break from forearm work for 2 weeks. That should stop you from getting any joint problems.
Behind the back barbell wrist curls
To perform this exercise is fairly easy. All you need is a barbell. You probably don’t need any weight on it at first, especially if you haven’t done this exercise before. Hold the barbell behind your back like what is shown in the picture. Keeping your arms locked out and motionless, flex your wrists back and forth slowly to work your forearm muscles. This is known as a wrist flexion exercise.
A good addition to static holds would be a fat bar or you can try Fat Gripz which makes any barbell or dumbbell thicker which makes any exercise harder and works your grip strength and forearm muscles. All you have to do is hold the weights for about 30-60 seconds while gripping the weights as hard as possible. Do about 3 sets with a minute in-between.
To read my experience with the Fat Gripz click here.
Thick Bar Training
Thick Bar Training with Fat Gripz
Just performing your usual exercises like barbell curls or bench presses with Fat Gripz can build up your forearms. But for the hard gainers amongst us, a little more isolation in that area is needed as I have already stated above. I have been using Fat Gripz for 4 weeks now and I have seen a sudden leap in grip strength for sure. The rate of improvement is slowing down a bit now but progress is still in the right direction. For your forearm workout program I think Fat Gripz should be a part of it along with these other exercises in this post.
Take one exercise from the list above for each training day. For example you could do it like this:
Training Day 1: Static Holds
Training Day 2: Behind The Back Barbell Wrist Curls
Training Day 3: Fat Grip Workouts
Bicep and Forearm Exercise Combo!
Try the reverse grip barbell curls. This exercise is not just how to build bigger forearms but how to build bigger biceps as well! These are great at working out your forearms and biceps at the same time. When doing this exercise, make sure your movements are slow and deliberate. Keep your arms tucked in, so that you are only moving from your elbows. This will isolate the biceps and forearms. Caution: If you suffer from elbow problems like tendonitis I would skip this exercise.
Kneeling Forearm Stretch
After every forearm workout like any other muscle group you must stretch afterwards. To stretch your forearms execute the kneeling forearm stretch.
That’s it folks, if you take on all these exercises you will be well on your way to bigger forearms. Remember to lift heavier every week, keep good form, and eat right.
Thanks for reading!