Whether you want to look like Popeye or just maintain good strength in your forearms to prevent injuries like tennis elbow or even have more control over your golf swing, there are a few key exercises you can do to get strength and tone in your lower arms.
Bodybuilders know that building forearm strength is important in lots of other exercises. The grip needed to lift really heavy weights needs strong forearms even if you are just out to get big biceps.
By having the forearm strength to hold heavier weights for more time, you can build up your shoulder, bicep, and other upper body muscles. Try these moves to get your forearms in shape:
The Loaded Carry
This exercise aims to build forearm muscle endurance. Start by lifting a heavy dumbbell or kettlebell in each hand. Use a weight heavier than you would try to curl with but not so heavy that you have to strain.
Stand straight. Brace your abs, keep your chest up, and shoulders back.
Walk it. With the weights in your hands move your arms like you are walking
This will work your forearms more than standing still. Try this in sets or twenty yards, or even see how far you can carry them for 5 or 10 minutes.
The Wrist Curl
Start by sitting in a stationary position, taking a seat on the edge of your workout bench. Place your feet flat on the ground and your knees shoulder-width apart.
Use lighter weights than you’d use for bicep curls and lift as little as 2kg weights in each hand, increasing them bit by bit if that feels easy. You can work one forearm at a time or both together
Place your elbow on your thigh with your arm flat.
This puts most of the weight on your forearm instead of your bicep. It also supports your arm, so you can avoid injury. Curl the weight by moving only your wrist up and toward you. Try performing sets of both upward and downward wrist curls. You want to work both sides of the forearm so switch between upward and downward curls. Use slow and steady movements, maintain a good grip and perform for 12-15 reps.
The Barbell Wrist Curl
Place your forearms flat with your hands and wrists protruding off the edge of the bench. Lift up the barbell with both hands. To balance the weight, keep your hands roughly shoulder-width apart to form your grip on the barbell. Perform the curl with palms facing up. You can vary the weight depending on your strength but aim to do around 12 -15 curls. Then work the other side, flip your arms over and perform the curls palms downward.
The Dead hang
If you don’t fancy weights you can always try using your bodyweight. For the dead hang, hold onto a pull-up bar and just hang there supporting your own weight. The longer you hang the more your forearms will squeeze.
Pull into a chin-up. The next stage is to pull yourself from the hang into a chin up. This will not just work your forearms but your back and core muscles too.
This is very much like a push-up but done on your finger tips. Be careful not to strain your fingers so start with one or two to get comfortable. The next stage is to maintain straight arms and push yourself up and down with just your fingers. For this get into a push-up position on your fingertips with straight arms and your body straight back. Finally, you can combine the two, extending from a normal push up into a finger tip push up.