The Best Exercises for Forearms

The Best Exercises for Forearms

We bring you a collection of the best exercises for your forearms, which will allow you to increase grip strength, volume of your arms …

The forearms are possibly the least specifically trained muscle, or the one with the least attention dedicated to it during most of our everyday routines. This could end up being a mistake in the long run.

In the case of many exercises, if we do not use external auxiliary equipment, such as handles, it’s possible we might have to stop doing the exercise in question, as the lack of support renders us unable to stimulate the target muscle due to failure of our grip

In this article I will be talking about the best forearm exercises to make sure you put them in your routine, and this will help you greatly strengthen your grip. These will be done through a range of exercises of great benefit, such as Deadlift, Rowing, Pull-ups, Rope climbing .. In other words, these exercises will strengthen us functionally !

Anatomy and Function of the Forearm

The forearm muscle complex is made up of compartments divided in turn by fascial segments: anterior compartment, lateral compartment and posterior compartment of the forearm:

  1. Those in the first group (Anterior) are the round pronator that pronates and flexes the forearm, the radial flexor of the carpus that flexes and abducts the hand in the wrist region, the palmar of the radius that flexes the hand, the flexor carpal ulnar, the superficial flexor digitorum, the flexor digitorum longus, and the quadratus pronator that pronates the forearm itself.
  2. Those in the second group (Lateral) are the brachioradial that flex the forearm at the elbow joint, turns the forearm towards the middle position and pronates it; and the long radial carpal extensor that extends and abducts the hand at the wrist joint.
  3. And finally those of the third and last group (Posterior) which are the short radial extensor carpi, the extensor digitorum, the extensor digiti minimi, the extensor carpi ulnaris, the anconeus that extends the elbow joint , the supinator of significant importance because, as its name suggests, it is the supinator of the forearm, the long abductor of the thumb, the short extensor of the thumb, the long extensor of the thumb and finally the index extensor that extends the metacarpophalangeal joint of the index finger.


The Elbow-Forearm set has two different functions, and we make constant use of both:

  • Elbow flexing and extension . This changes the functional length of the arm and changes the distance between the hands and the body. The joints that make this movement happen are the humeroulnar and humeroradial.
  • Supination and pronation of the forearm. Engaging the proximal and distal joints between the radius and the ulna, which are capable of turning the palm of your hand up(supinate) or down (pronate) without moving the shoulder joint.
At the same time, it also works in synergy with the muscle structure of the hand and its functions such as the opening and closing the palm and fingers, rotating, flexing and extending the wrist joint

Why is it important for you to train your forearms?

Generally, the time spent training our upper limbs revolves around the biceps and triceps, which often leaves out and has a detrimental impact on the forearms and wrists. Ironically, these two forgotten areas give the biggest support to the development of your biceps and triceps, as well as the shoulders, chest and back.

For these reasons, someone looking to improve all their abilities and performance , should not skip these groups and should think about dedicating more time to the strength of hands, wrists and most definitely forearms.

Exercises for Forearms for aesthetics

This is possibly among the less common reasons for focusing on forearms, however it still plays a part and can be taken into account.
Forearms 1

No one can deny that seeing a “dry”, vascularized and large proportional forearm is a sign of strength

Exercises for Forearms by type and what they work for

It is without a doubt the main reason for these exercises is to: strengthen our grip.

In reality, when we climb up a rope, we are doing 1-hand row, while if we deadlift, we are strengthening our grip. However, it would be fair to say that in these cases we train it indirectly, with the hands at distal ends , resulting in an inevitable work out in order to support other exercises.

Forearm exercise

Rope climbing is one of the most demanding exercises for your upper body, especially the forearms

The Best Exercises for Forearms

Basically everything that involves gripping something with your hands in combination with arm movements is the most functional and effective way to work your forearms and get more grip strength

Pull-ups with a towel

For those of us who follow the BPT, week 34, sets us this impressive exercise to exercise all the grip, and strengthen the forearm at the same time.

This exercise adds an extra difficulty factor to the pull-ups themselves, and it will be our own body weight that will have to support the muscular area. Doing this exercise as much as possible in our routines will result in a noticeable change in our grip strength and development in forearm size.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a towel-you can also use your own t-shirt and do this “Side-to-Side” variant of the exerciset:

Perform more sets with fewer repetitions, as we may soon reach our target muscle fatigue , for example 6×6

1-handed forearm curl with bar

To carry out this exercise it is recommended to use an Olympic bar, as this will help us perform better in terms of weight and length. The point is to perform the curls trying to keep your balance at all times, that is, that the bar does not move more to one side than to the other during the lift. In order to demonstrate and keep up this stability, we’ll have to use all of our forearm strength.

Although in principle it may seem that the objective is to do bicep curls, and in essence we do, but with the object of keeping a correct balance of the bar at all times due to the fact that we are

Performing fewer sets of more repetitions, such as 3×15 per side

Seated Dumbbell Wrist Curl

An excellent exercise to work wrist flexors, a muscular area grossly left out by almost all sportspeople. We can work it out by adding a fatigue component, that’s to say, by reaching muscular failure point. It’s easy to realise when this happens, because we have to physically drop the dumbbell as we won’t be able to take the weight anymore. You have to pay a lot of attention to the complete exercise cycle, where in the eccentric phase, it is extremely important to extend the wrist and reach the grip, even if this ends up being with the fingers.

Perform 3-4 sets to failure on each side, using a light weight, such as dumbbells that weigh between 10 or 14kg

Inverted Curl with bar while standing up

We can use a Z bar or short bar. The load is lower than what we would normally use in order to be able to adequately perform Biceps Curl. The target muscle in this case is the Brachioradial (external part of the forearm).

Perform 2-4 sets of 12-15 repetitions

Farmer’s Walk

An exercise that will give us the maximum ppm! Again, in week 11 of the BPT, we will find this exercise set for our routine. Although it is an exercise focused on grip work, isometric contraction is very notable, and therefore, our pulse will shoot up.

We can even use this as part of our metabolic circuit. The trick here is to find weights that are “big enough” to boost grip.

Farmer walk bar

We will use the largest dumbbells possible, or, if we have them, “Farmer-Walk-Bars”

Forearm Exercises for Grip work with Utensils

Fat Gripz

When dealing with the issue of grip, anything that provides us with an obstacle to increase the intensity of our grip will be extremely helpful in strengthening it. In this case, there is an invention called “Fat Gripz” that works in precisely this way.

We can buy one, or, as PowerExplosive suggests, even make one ourselves. This will allow us to keep developing our forearm muscles using this new tool while doing standard exercises like curls, rows and other exercises.

Be aware! You need to be prepared to accept that you might be lifting a much lower weight and that, additionally, muscle fatigue might happen a lot sooner.

Hand Grip

This exercise is more specifically focused on the strength of the hand itself, but the forearm muscles also play a role. The most important thing is to get your hands on this utensil, and start practicing all day long…

Forearm Exercises with Kettlebell

This is highly effective for our forearms exercises as well as improving our coordination at the same time, considering that we can gradually increase the weight and vary our movements, going from the simplest to the most difficult. You could also try doing this in pairs, with a gym buddy, which makes things really fun… but a little bit dangerous.

Grip Competitions

The most extreme example of these exercises is when they are taken to a competitive level, using the Fat Gripz mentioned above. Here is an example:

Related articles

Best Exercises for Forearms Assessment

Aesthetics - 100%

Functionality - 100%

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Competition - 100%


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About Javier Colomer
Javier Colomer
"Knowledge Makes Stronger", Javier Colomer's motto, sets out his clearest statement of intentions expressing his knowledge and fitness experience.
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