There are a few muscle groups everyone thinks of when they want to look good.
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Nearly everyone wants six-pack abs.
Guys frequently also want big bulging biceps.
But don’t leave out your forearms!
A strong grip is a wonderful thing to have.
But forearms are also some of your most frequently seen muscles and guys, girls do notice them.
Let’s look at a routine that will get you a strong grip and muscular forearms.
Working Out Your Forearms
The muscles in your forearms do several things for you.
When you flex your elbow, you use a muscle in your forearm.
If you want a strong grip, you need strong forearms.
That’s because the muscles for your fingers are in the forearm.
So, to work out your forearms, do stuff with your hands!
And no, writing that paper on your keyboard doesn’t count!
Establishing the Routine
I’m not going to throw a bunch of exercises at you and hope that one or two sticks.
This time you’ll have a routine to follow, plus some recommendations.
There are three parts to this routine: Warm-up, bar work, and hangs.
You should always warm up.
However, you can either do both of the other parts or you can do just one of them.
I’d recommend both but just doing one part is better than not doing anything!
I’ll also mention some other things you can do to help exercise your forearms when you’re not following the routine.
You don’t always need to go to a gym to get strong!
As with any exercise, you want to warm up before performing any strenuous movement.
The basic idea is to get blood flowing to your forearm and to warm up the muscles.
Forearm muscles recover fast, but you don’t want to push too hard and fast!
Plus, you can do these warm-ups to freshen up your wrists after a long stretch of time on the computer.
- Stick your arms out in front of you, palms down.
- Curl your wrists up, then down, then to the left, then to the right.
- Each time, go until you feel a bit of a stretch, and hold it for a few seconds.
- Then, rotate your wrists in one direction ten times. Repeat in the other direction.
- Now, extend all of your fingers.
- Flex them, then curl your fingers inward while flexing. Extend them again (continue to flex), then relax.
- Do this three times.
Finally, shake out your wrists.
You’re ready to go!
To do these you’ll either need a barbell or two dumbbells of the same weight.
Dumbbells let you exercise in your dorm room.
Rather than get a whole bunch of different dumbbells, why not pick up a set with adjustable weights?
For all of these, aim for 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps each.
When you’re more experienced, add on a set then another one, to end up with 5 sets of 12 reps.
Rest for several minutes in between each set, and increase the weight a little bit with each set.
This exercise is a lot like bicep curls, except without any biceps whatsoever!
Sit on a bench and put your forearm on your thigh so your palms are facing up.
- Hold the barbell or dumbbell in your hand.
- Start with the hand as low as you can go.
- Slowly curl it up as far as you can then back down.
If you are using dumbbells, start with your weaker hand.
If you can’t max out a set with your off-hand, don’t max it out with your stronger hand.
Gotta avoid those muscular imbalances!
Reverse Wrist Curls
This is the same thing as the first wrist curl but upside down.
Start with your palms facing the floor then curl up and back down.
You’ll probably have to use a lighter weight for these!
Now, you have to do this exercise with dumbbells.
Sit on a bench with your forearm on your thigh.
Your palm should face to the side, neither up nor down.
Grab the dumbbell and hold it vertically, then proceed to curl up and down like with the other curls.
Now that we’ve worked out the forearm muscles a bit, let’s round out the workout.
Bar work isolates muscles. Let’s try something more practical.
You need a bar to hang from, like you’d use for pull-ups.
Playground equipment works well. Gyms will have pull-up bars, too.
Or you can get a pull-up bar that goes in your doorway.
That way you can practice without leaving your dorm!
You want to do the bar exercises first because those isolate muscles whereas hanging exercises use a bunch of muscles together.
This exercise is like a pull-up, except without any pulling-up.
- Grab onto a bar. Make sure your to hold your shoulders down, then lift your legs so you are hanging.
- Keep hanging out until your grip is about to give away, then lower yourself onto the ground.
The goal here is not reps but rather time.
If you’re new to dead hangs, work your way up to 10 seconds per set.
Start with 3 sets.
Or 5 sets if you’re not using the bar as well. That’s because your muscles will be more rested.
Once you’ve reached 10 seconds for every set, you can make it more difficult by raising yourself so the bar is at your chest.
Or, continue to hang out for a longer time each set.
Hanging from only one hand is even harder.
Use your weaker arm first and don’t exceed that amount of time with your stronger arm.
However! Don’t jump from two hands to one hand! Try a wrist hold first!
Grab the bar with one hand then grab your wrist with the other hand.
It’s more difficult than holding onto the bar with both hands but is easier than only using a single hand.
Finally, you can make hangs tougher by adding a towel into the mix.
The wider around the thing you have to grip, the harder it is to grip.
You can take advantage of this by hanging two towels over the bar and holding onto those instead of the bar.
To increase the difficulty, thicken the towels you have to hold.
You can do this by folding over the towel or using a larger towel.
Other Forearm Exercises
You can do more than just curl weights or hang from bars to strengthen those forearms!
Grip Things Harder!
You use the muscles in your forearm to grip. So, you can work them out by gripping harder!
Whether you’re pushing a bench press or driving a car, grip what you’re gripping more tightly.
It won’t be much, but over time this will add up and your grip strength will skyrocket!
People make things for grip training often called grippers or hand exercisers.
They’re just a thing you squeeze over and over again.
Stress balls can be used in a similar manner.
They’re nice and can help you train your grip while walking to class, but they’re not great.
Like any other isolating exercise, they only train your muscles in one specific manner.
So, you want to do other things as well to have as strong a forearm as possible!
This is an old martial artist trick to strengthen your hand and forearm.
It’s also a lot more tiring than it sounds!
- Take a bucket, and fill it full of sand.
- Now, stick your hand into the bucket.
- Move your fingers all around.
- Open your hand, close it into a fist, dig out the sand from underneath, etc.
The sand provides resistance on all sides so your forearms will get blasted in a hurry!
This exercise is a good one for finishing out your workout.
It’s good not just for forearm-specific routines but for anything else as well, such as HIIT.
Farmer walks are also really simple.
- Grab something heavy and walk around with it.
Weight plates work well, especially when you’re cleaning up after finishing your exercise.
A sandbag or backpack full of textbooks works as well.
Hold a single big weight in both hands or an equal weight in either hand and walk around until you can’t hold it anymore.
Grip strength can help you climb a wall, deadlift more weight without straps, or impress the father of your date with a firm handshake.
Add this routine to your workout regime and you’ll get strong, muscular forearms in no time!