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Forearm – The Muscle You Probably Never Train, But Perhaps Should.

November 13th, 2012 · 2 Comments ·


Every time I talk about forearm, I think about Popeye forearm which is much bigger than his butt. Forearm muscles are located between the elbow and wrist of the lower arm. Just like calf, forearm is a another common neglected body part. Calves work whenever we walk and forearms come into play whenever we move our fingers. Yet both muscle groups are slow in developing, except those who blessed with good genetics in that areas.

But, forearm is important.

  • It helps us to lift heavy things. Say, in moving a table, forearm is used as a support.
  • Another example – have you ever doing biceps curls where you find that your forearms are screaming before your biceps are tired? That happens because your forearm is not strong enough. The stronger your forearms are, the more you will be able to curl, allowing the exercise to give sufficient challenge to your biceps.
  • Strong forearms are also important in sports which you need to hit a baseball or throw a football.

Not many people train their forearm seriously. In fact, most do not even train it at all. No doubt, some have powerful well shaped forearms without any direct work. They are the fortunate group who has superior genetics. For the rest of us, while we may work on the forearms indirectly when we do bench press, pull ups, deadlift, barbell curls or other compound exercises, but these workouts are not targeting forearms specifically. In other words, to build forearm, you need to have a more complete forearm workout. You need to strain the muscle fibers and forearm isolation will be recommended.


As how to train forearms well, the method varies depending on individual. Some require high repetitions with light weight to get the forearm muscles respond well whereas other use lower repetitions with heavier weight. However, unlike biceps or triceps, forearm muscles are small. You most likely will not be able to load them with the same heavy weight as you use for your biceps curl. But, that is fine. Train them consistently.

After doing forearm workouts, I found that my grip strength has improved much. With better grip, I am able to do another 2 to 3 repetitions in my pull up or lat pull down. I never dedicate a day just to work on my forearm. I pair it with shoulders workout. Here are some of the recommended forearm exercises:

  1. Hammer Curl
  2. Seated Dumbbell/Barbell Wrist Curl – both palms-up and palms-down (reverse) curl


So, if you want to have a developed forearms to impress your peers, instead of taking spinach like Popeye, you need to work them out. Treat your forearms like your biceps. Give them the same respect and the equal attention.  Check out the workouts for forearm here.



Category: Forearm

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2 responses so far ↓
  • adrian // Nov 14, 2012 at 8:50 PM

    the forearm exercises that work for me are deadlifts, chin-ups, pull-ups, barbell/dumbbell rowing, farmer’s walks and bulgarian bag spins. Grip strength is key in building up the forearms.

    wrist curls give you a pump but don’t do a damn thing because there is NO way you can lift a heavy weight doing that.

  • Sweko // Nov 18, 2012 at 7:42 AM

    Doing super-sets of forearm extension and forearm flexion exercises can decrease the time working on the forearms in your workout. In addition, adding dumbell pronation and dumbell supination may also benefit if you are trying to increase your grip strength.

    Great article MunFitness!


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