The last thing that you probably feel like doing after busting your ass in the gym is moving on to yet another body part – even if it’s just for four sets. You can try and justify it in your own mind that forearms are worked as a secondary muscle with the larger body parts, but the only way to get them to grow properly and – using the ‘kill two birds with one stone’ mantra – bring up your grip strength so you can finally crush that empty can of beer at the first summer barbeque is to also work them separately.
Before getting into what you should be doing for this body part, let’s take a look at the major muscles that make up the forearm. (Apologies ahead of time for the boring shit):
*Pronator teres – the middle and thickest part of the forearm located on the inside
*Brachialis – the short part of the outer section of the forearm that is connected to the bicep
*Brachioradialis – the top inner part of the forearm that runs all the way down from your bicep to the wrist
Because the forearm is one of the smaller body parts, training them frequently is something that should be a part of your workout regiment. Of course, you also have to keep the amount of sets to a minimum as to avoid overtraining.
A good way to go is to hit them at least four times per week. A lot of our training programs include a four or five day a week schedule so doing a few sets for forearms at the end of your workout is something that is not only feasible but necessary, as well.
Most people make a common mistake when it comes to their forearms. They will do a few exercises for them only on days that they train arms. If that particular person does biceps and triceps together, they may only be working their forearms one or two times a week at the most. For a pro with 19-inch forearms, that may be enough. But for the average Joe out there, more work is needed to fill them out.
One exercise, four sets of 12-to-15 reps is enough for each day that you are working forearms. You also need to switch things up and do a different movement every day. There are plenty of forearms exercises besides wrist curls, so there’s no excuse not to polish off your session with one of these (with forearm part concentrated on in parenthesis):
*Barbell Wrist Curls (Pronator teres) – there are different variations for this staple exercise. You can perform them on the end of a bench with your arms on your thighs (for a wider grip) or in between your knees and leaning on the bench. Also try them with lighter weight with your arms on your knees while you’re squatting with no bench for support.
*Dumbbell Wrist Curls (Pronator teres) – similar to the above but you can really get a good squeeze at the top using a single-arm movement.
*Reverse Barbell Wrist Curls (Pronator teres, Branchialis) – standing with your back to the bar, these really bring out the lump in your inner forearm and the top of the rep can hit the separation on the front.
*Reverse Barbell Curls (Branchialis, Branchioradialis) – make sure to keep the weight light so the rep can be performed full and without jerking the bar up. Also keep your elbows in using a medium grip.
*Reverse Dumbbell Curls (Branchialis, Branchioradialis) – going light and slow on the end of a bench will make these a good variation exercise.
*Front Hammer Dumbbell Curls (Branchialis, Branchioradialis) – bring the dumbbell up straight from your side all the way up to your ear with the weight facing front. Can be done together or alternating.
*Side Hammer Dumbbell Curls (Branchialis, Branchioradialis) – start with the dumbbell facing sideways by your thigh and bring it up to your opposite pec. Do a full set before switching hands.
There are a number of other forearms exercises available to you but these will hit them from every angle. Rotating these every day up to four times a week will compliment your tough arm workouts. Putting the forearms to the task multiple days is not overdoing it as long as you keep the sets to a minimum each session.