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Build Big Forearms: A Quick Guide

by Jeremey DuVall on August 30, 2012
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Having muscular forearms isn’t just good for giving a firm handshake – they can tell a lot about your overall physique. When someone meets you for the first time, your forearms are often the first impression they get about your strength and muscular size. Not only will they help to impress the ladies, having powerful forearms also helps you to lift more weight in the gym on big exercises like deadlifts and pull-ups. The result? More muscle across the rest of your body, not just your arms.

Building Big Forearms – The Basics

Developing rock-solid forearms has less to do with heavy wrist curls and much more to do with exercise selection and training. Your forearms are responsible for grip strength so the more that your weight training routine challenges your grip, the more gains you’ll see. Focus on using heavier compound lifts like deadlifts, dumbbell rows, and pull-ups to challenge your grip strength and build stronger arms. Normally use wrist straps for heavier lifts? You’re limiting the strength of your forearms by reducing the work they have to do. Unless you’re training for a powerlifting competition where bar weight is the most important factor, do yourself a favor and ditch the straps for a few weeks. Without the help, your forearms strength will improve dramatically in the first few training sessions.

Looking for an added boost to build your forearms faster? There are a variety of grip tools out there designed to increase the load placed on your grip. For those looking for a quick fix, using towels on exercises like pull-ups and rows can provide an added challenge. Many gyms also have thicker bars to substitute for a traditional one that can drastically increase the grip demand. If you’re looking for a bit more, tools like Fat Gripz are becoming extremely popular for their ability to increase the thickness on dumbbells and bars and instantly make exercises more challenging.

Blast Your Forearms – A Quick Finisher

Looking for a quick workout to finish off your forearms before heading out of the gym? Complete the following circuit 3x through with as little rest as possible between exercises. Toss it in at the end of your upper body days as a finisher.

Towel pull upsTowel Pull-ups – 10 reps or as many as possible

Wrap two towels around a pull-up bar so that it increases the thickness. Grab on to the wrapped towels, one for each hand, with an overhand grip. Start from a dead hang before pulling up with each rep.

Hammer Curls – 10 reps each hand

Immediately grab a pair of moderately heavy dumbbells. With your thumbs facing up and your elbows planted at your side, begin performing alternating curls. Gripping the dumbbells firmly with each hand.

Towel Bodyweight Rows – 10 Reps

Similar to the pull-ups, take two towels and wrap them around a barbell set between waist and chest height. With an underhand grip, grab the towels and hang back with your body in a straight line from shoulders to feet. Pull your chest towards the bar as you squeeze your shoulders together. Slowly lower all the way down before repeating.

Farmer’s Walks – 100ft

Grab a heavy dumbbell in each hand. Set your shoulders back and walk for 50 ft before turning around. Keep your pace stead and your shoulders held back the entire time.

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Jeremey DuVall
Deliverer of happiness at @Automattic. Awesome high-fiver. Outdoor enthusiast. Lover of coffee and craft beer.
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