best exercises for bigger forearms
Fitness

15 Best Exercises For Bigger Forearms

Your forearm muscles are devilishly difficult to target; building forearm strength predominantly comes from compound exercises in your workout routine that promotes arm growth. 

From resistance training to bodyweight movements, here are 15 of the best exercises you can perform to activate your forearm muscles and develop some serious forearm gains.

1. Bottoms-up kettlebell press

How to

  • With an overhand grip, hold the kettlebell by its handle, with the weighted bottom pointed up above your hand. Your elbow should be bent – this is the starting position.
  • Push the kettlebell up and above your head by straightening your arm.
  • Lower the weight back down to the starting position and repeat for 8 reps on each arm.

Why it works

This movement provides a tough forearm workout as this part of your arm is constantly engaged to create a strong grip and to keep the weight stable while you press it overhead.

2. Farmer’s carry

How to

  • With a pronated grip, hold a dumbbell or kettlebell in either hand (making sure they’re fairly heavy weights) at your sides and stand tall with a neutral spine.
  • Start walking, keeping the weights where they are. You can continue walking for a set amount of time, or do bursts of a certain distance for 5-7 sets.

Why it works

This move requires supreme grip strength as those weights will start to feel very heavy, very quickly. Your entire forearms are under constant tension in this simple exercise, making it great for forearm growth.

3. Reverse biceps curl

How to

  • Hold a barbell or pair of dumbbells with an overhand grip, and your palms facing your body so that the backs of your wrists face away from you.
  • Bend at the elbow and curl the weight up toward your chest, as you would a normal bicep curl.
  • Lower back down under contol to the starting position and repeat for 10-12 reps.

Why it works

Though it goes through the same range of motion as the standard bicep curl, the reverse curl helps promote elbow flexion and focuses your lower arms to help build forearm size and strength.

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4. Fingertip push-ups

How to

  • Adopt the push-up position with your back straight, resting on your fingertips and toes. You can place your knees on the floor if needed.
  • Bend at the elbows and lower your chest and head toward the floor, without bending your fingers.
  • Push back up to the starting position and repeat for 12-15 reps.

Why it works

On your fingertips, your forearm flexors and wrist flexors are working extra hard to take your body weight and keep it stable.

5. Wrist flexion

How to

  • Sit on a bench with your knees bent. Hold a dumbbell in your hand, and rest the back of your wrist on your knee so your hand hangs over the end. 
  • Moving just your wrist, curl your hand upward to lift the weight slightly.
  • Lower back down and repeat for 10-12 reps.

Why it works

This is a rare exercise that is almost exclusively a form of forearm training. Also known as forearm curls, this movement has serious growth potential.

6. Zottman curls

How to

  • Perform a normal bicep curl with an underhand grip, then pause at the top of the movement.
  • Rotate your hands so that your palms now face outward, then lower the weights back down through the normal range of motion.
  • At the bottom, rotate your hands back to the underhand position and repeat for 10-12 reps.

Why it works

This is great for building muscle mass across your entire arm, as your forearms are working as grip muscles to keep the weight under control as you rotate and lower it.

7. EZ bar forearm extension

How to

  • Hold an EZ bar with an overhand grip and curl it up so your elbows are at 90 degrees.
  • Allow your hands to go limp so your knuckles point downward. Then, flex at the wrist to curl your hand up.
  • Repeat for 12-15 reps.

Why it works

These wrist curls build impressive forearms by exclusively targeting the relevant muscles to provide an entire forearm workout. 

8. Pinch plate curls

How to

  • Hold a single plate in your hand, pinching it at the edge to ensure a strong grip. 
  • Curl the plate up and lower back down under control. Repeat for 10-12 reps.
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Why it works

Not only does this develop grip strength and finger strength, it also activates your forearms while using lighter weights, meaning you can build muscle endurance.

9. Hand gripper

How to

  • Adjust the settings so that you’re able to fully close the gripper, but it is challenging.
  • Hold it in one hand, then squeeze to close the handles together, before releasing again. Repeat for 12-15 reps.

Why it works

Powerful forearms are a key part of developing a stronger grip, so this piece of equipment targets your forearm muscles and is easy to fit into your arm routine.

10. Towel pull-up

How to

  • Wrap a towel over a pull-up bar so its two ends hang down. Grab hold of both ends, with your feet off the ground.
  • Pull your weight up by bending at the elbows, until your chin is level with or just under the bar.
  • Lower back down and repeat for 8-10 reps.

Why it works

This is arguably the most challenging exercise on this list and is a great way to build powerful forearms, as you need a lot of grip strength to keep your body under control.

11. Towel barbell curls

How to

  • Wrap two towels around a barbell where your hands would be. Hold the towels with a strong grip so that the bar hangs from them.
  • Using the towels, curl the bar up to your chest, hold for a second, then lower back down.
  • Repeat for 10-12 reps.

Why it works

Like towel pull-ups, this movement requires to use of a very strong grip, thus activating your forearms more than regular barbell curls. 

12. Dead hangs

How to

  • Hold onto a pull-up bar with an overhand grip and hang from it, with your arms straight and core engaged.
  • Hold here for time.

Why it works

Not only is this an extremely simple exercise to perform, but it will also greatly enhance your grip strength, which equates to bigger forearms. This move can also help you prepare for full pull-ups.

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13. Kettlebell hammer curls

How to

  • Hold a kettlebell with a pronated grip, palm facing inward, by your side, arm straight. 
  • Bend at the elbow, keeping the position of your hand the same, and curl the kettlebell up toward your chest, ensuring the weighted round end points outward the entire time.
  • Lower back down and repeat for 8-10 reps on each arm.

Why it works

The weight of the kettlebell will make it more likely to sway side to side, or dip downward, so your forearms and grip have to work very hard to keep it steady and under control.

14. Plate pinch

How to

  • Hold weight plates at arms length by your side, with a neutral spine and shoulders back.
  • Maintain a tight grip between your thumb and fingers for time.

Why it works

Like dead hangs, this static exercise emphasizes your grip, meaning your forearm muscles are doing most of the work to keep you from dropping the weights.

15. Walkouts

How to

  • Stand up straight, then hinge forward at the hips and fold over your legs so your fingertips touch the ground.
  • Walk your hands forward, on your fingertips, keeping your feet where they are until you reach a high plank position.
  • Walk your hand back toward your feet then rise back up and repeat for time.

Why it works

When performed at a fast pace, this move is an effective cardio workout but, by using your fingertips on the ground, you

Conclusion

These forearm exercises will help you develop the muscles in your lower arm and build serious grip strength, which not only helps with aesthetics but also performance. Some require heavy weights, others don’t include a single piece of equipment, but they’ll all promote forearm muscle growth.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you train forearms every day?

You should avoid training your forearms every day, as they’ll need time to recover in between sessions. Muscles should be trained at least twice a week in order to develop properly, but overdoing it can lead to injury and burnout.

George Gigney

George is a Level 3 Personal Trainer and qualified Behavior Change Specialist. He has been training clients for several years and writing for over a decade, focusing on sport, wellbeing, and fitness.

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