The Best Bodybuilding Forearm Workouts for Your Experience Level – BarBend

There (probably) isn’t a gym rat on the face of the Earth who neglects their arms. After all, your biceps and triceps are some of the top glamor muscles. Even at a young age, an adult probably invited you to “make a muscle” by flexing your own arm. But what of the particular forearms ?

In typically the realm of bodybuilding , the devil is often in the details. Smaller, secondary muscles like your forearms don’t get this lion’s share associated with the limelight, but they do a lot for often the overall appearance of your current physique.

Man rests on his forearms during gym workout
Credit: Ruslan Shugushev / Shutterstock

You might think that simply holding onto the dumbbell or barbell is enough forearm work to build them up. While this may be true for beginners, if you want to build forearms that Popeye would envy — without slamming down multiple cans regarding spinach — you’ll have to train them directly.  

The very best Fore arm Workouts for Bodybuilding

Beginner Bodybuilding Forearm Workout

For rank beginners, muscles like the calves , abdominals , and especially your forearms tend to grow on their own by virtue of resistance training itself. After all, these muscle tissue play a large role in supporting your mechanics while you lift.

As such, most beginning physique aspirants do not need to give their over arms too much attention in the first few years. They should grow just fine on their own, provided you’re gripping properly and training your arms or back.  

The Workout

A good back and biceps workout will give your forearms more than enough stimulation to grow. If you’re new in order to lifting weights , your forearms likely aren’t used to maintaining a closed fist against significant resistance.  

Standard “pulling” movements in which gravity is attempting to yank the weight of your hand will do simply fine.  

Note that you can train your over arms with or without this specific exercise. The deadlift, pull-up, plus any manner of row are all fantastic options for early forearm growth, while also giving you a lot of back stimulation to boot.  

Intermediate Bodybuilding Forearm Workout

With a few years of real gym experience under your belt, it might be a suitable time to be able to start assessing your physique for strengths and weaknesses. If you feel your own forearms are lagging behind or are disproportionately underdeveloped, you can begin to add some dedicated work to your training plan.

The Workout

At an intermediate level (think between three and six years in the game), you probably don’t even need a dedicated “forearm day” yet. What you can do, though, is plug a couple of forearm-specific movements into the tail end of any workout.  

Training forearms as a capstone to your back or arm days makes sense from the congruence perspective, but you can also do some forearm exercises after leg training if you want to hammer them while they’re fresh.

As you can see, this back-and-biceps workout sneaks in plenty of fore arm stimulation without requiring it to be the centerpiece of your session.  

As you move through the workout, the particular exercises demand more and more of your forearm and grip strength , culminating with a loaded carry that tests how long you can squeeze your own hand shut.  

Advanced Bodybuilding Forearm Workout

Whether you’ve pocketed your pro card years ago or simply want to build the most impeccably-developed physique you can, advanced bodybuilders need to give attention to even the smallest muscles that many others overlook.

Your forearms are no different. Dedicated fore arm work takes time out of your likely-busy gym schedule, but it’s the best way to make a new stubborn muscle grow if compound lifting isn’t enough.

The Exercise

You have two options for forearm training as an advanced physique athlete — you can give them their own day entirely, or train your current forearms when you first walk into typically the gym for another session.

Man grips exercise rope during cable curl
Credit: ALL best fitness is HERE / Shutterstock

As long as you don’t kick off a back workout along with forearm exercises (it might be hard in order to hold onto heavy rows in case your grip is torched), you may get some sort of good session in 15 to 20 minutes and still have plenty of time (and energy) left over for this rest associated with your day.

  • Cambered Bar Reverse Spider Curl:   3 x 12
  • Cable Wrist Curl:   2 x 12-15
  • Cable Wrist Extension:   2 x 12-15
  • Dumbbell Wrist Rotation:   1 back button 15-20
  • Plate Pinch or Farmer’s Carry :   3 sets for maximum distance or even time.  

An advanced fore arm workout will exercise each of the small functions your over arms perform. This means loading often the motor patterns of flexion, extension, plus rotation, as well as incorporating some isometric crushing via curls and carries.  

Anatomy and Function of the Forearm

Your forearm is one of the most complex pieces of muscular machinery on your body. There aren’t just one or two muscles that will affect your motion regarding your wrist and hand — there are dozens.  

As such, memorizing every individual muscle tissue between your hand and elbow isn’t exactly a practical use of your time. More importantly, it probably won’t do much to be able to bolster the exact efficacy involving your workouts .

However, understanding the anatomical function and motor behavior of those muscles might help you understand the “why” behind the forearm exercises you have in your routine.

Wrist Flexion

Your brachioradialis, flexor carpi radialis, in addition to flexor carpi ulnaris are three of the bigger muscle tissue on the particular underside connected with your forearm. They help perform typically the action with wrist flexion, which draws your palm downward.  

They also provide a lot of heft to the appearance of the fore arm. You can train this action together with all manner of resistance , yet dumbbells and even cables are usually the most common tools.

Hand Extension

Extension, or bending your arm backward, is the opposite function for wrist flexion. The musculature on the top of the forearm assists in performing this process.  

You’ll generally notice that hand wrist extension is more difficult to perform than flexion, and you may have a good reduced range of motion as well. As such, wrists extension exercises are commonly performed using very light weights, but are equally important for balanced muscular development.

Wrist Rotation

The wrist joint doesn’t actually rotate — this bones of your respective forearm do. Your forearm consists about two primary bones, often the radius together with ulna. These two bones twist around one another to turn your forearm and hands in space.  

While rotation exercises are great, they may not necessarily be the best bang for your buck for muscle growth . However, rotation and flexion-extension movements have been shown for you to be beneficial for remedying certain cases in elbow pain. ( 1 )


The ability to close your palm around an object is crucial for all manner of exercise, particularly upper-body resistance training . After all, a person can’t grow your pecs or perhaps blast your own personal lats if you can’t hold on to your weight in the first place.

The engine action from clasping something in your personal palm will be actually performed by your many, numerous tiny ligaments and tendons in your hand, and additionally isn’t strictly caused by muscle contraction. However, the soft tissues inside your side attach to the exact muscles within your forearm.  

pair of hands gripping each forearm
Credit: Tim_Booth / Shutterstock

This is why, even without having a flexion-extension cycle, isometric movements like the plate pinch, farmer’s carry, or maybe deadlift will tax your forearms to a serious degree as they strain to help keep your own fingers wrapped snugly close to whatever you’re holding.  

Forearm Training Tips

Training your current muscles properly is an art. This is because true for your quadriceps as well as shoulder as it is for the tiny muscle groups in your forearms. While the particular rules of hypertrophy remain the same no matter what muscle mass you’re working on, there are unique tactics you may employ whenever working on the forearms of which might improve your results.  

Start Slowly

If you are brand new to the fitness center, you most likely don’t need to perform dedicated forearm work as those muscles work to adjust to typically the rigors associated with strength training .  

Even if youre quite comfortable lifting weights already, an individual shouldn’t dive headfirst into a bunch of bonus forearm function on top of your own personal existing program.  

Your forearms may be bearing a lot of training volume that you don’t consciously notice, so be sure to add additional work with caution and in small increments.  

Don’t Go (Too) Heavy

Progressive overload is essential to long-term muscle growth, plain not to mention simple. However , the “smaller” the exercise, the harder it may be to add noticeable amounts of weight.

If you’re performing hand curls with a 10-pound dumbbell , for instance, moving towards the 15-pounders represents a 50% increase within resistance — a dramatic jump anyone would never make on an exercise like the squat or overhead press.

As such, be wary regarding trying to beef up your personal forearms via using heavier and heavier weights. You’ll possibly get stronger over time, but don’t force the issue. Your own form is usually likely in order to degrade rapidly and you might actually put yourself at risk of injury .  

Use Strict Tempo

Tempo refers to this cadence at which you lift or even lower some weight. Whilst moving fast or explosively is good for developing muscular power , you should take things much slower if you happen to be training your forearms.

Many of often the motor features your over arms perform are at least partially assisted by your connective tissues within your wrists and fingers. These muscles and structures aren’t really susceptible to hypertrophy, but they can bear pressure.

If you knock out your arm curls or perhaps extensions sloppily, you run the risk of your own soft tissues bearing load that should be placed on your muscles.  

Get Creative With Your Equipment

The particular barbell is the de-facto weapon of choice for strength athletes . Most bodybuilders tend to be able to be quite fond involving it as well. Nevertheless , a person may possess to use your noodle a bit when you want to comprehensively train your current forearms.

Your current wrist anatomy is highly individual. Typically the range connected with motion you might have in flexion, extension, or maybe rotation is quite limited when compared against other larger joints, which might make it difficult to feel comfortable performing fore arm exercises having a barbell (or even dumbbells).

Don’t be afraid for you to look beyond free dumbbells . You can train your forearms with cables, resistance bands , lacrosse balls, weight plates, or even a PVC pipe and a few string in the event that you have got them upon hand.  

Forearm Gains Matter

The arm is more than just your biceps and triceps . Your own personal shoulders — and, obviously — the forearms contribute a great deal to help how jacked you look overall.

In fact, the appearance of your over arms signals which you work hard in the gym even if an individual aren’t in the health club (or the exact beach). Regardless of whether you’re wearing a t-shirt or a fabulous button-down having the sleeves rolled, your own personal forearms are on full display more often than you might think.  

If they’re the first impression you make by using your physique, you’d better make sure they’re up to snuff.  


1. Lee JH, Kim TH, Lim KB. Effects of eccentric control exercise for wrist extensor and shoulder stabilization workout on the pain and also functions with tennis elbow. J Phys Ther Sci. 2018 Apr; 30(4): 590-594. doi: 10. 1589/jpts. 30. 590. Epub 2018 Apr 20. PMID: 29706713; PMCID: PMC5909009.

Featured Image: Ruslan Shugushev / Shutterstock

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