why your forearms are bigger than your biceps
Fitness

Why Your Forearms Are Bigger Than Your Biceps and How To Fix It

When it comes to forearm size, most people are looking to make theirs bigger but for a select few, the issue is the reverse; their forearm muscle is larger than their biceps, which can create an unbalanced look in the arms.

The main reason your forearms would be bigger than your biceps is simply that you’re training them more, perhaps through activities like climbing and grip strength training. To address this, implement more bicep isolation exercises into your routine.

Here, in more detail, are the reasons your forearms are bigger than your biceps and the steps you can take to even out those muscles.

4 Reasons Why Your Forearms Are Bigger Than Your Biceps

1. Your training is focused on forearms

The most common reason for having more muscle mass in your forearms than your biceps is because your training focuses more on them. This is usually the case if you’ve been trying to develop a stronger grip; this sort of training directly activates your forearms and not your biceps.

Grip training can include exercises like wrist flexion and other common wrist curls. Activities like climbing also engage your forearms more than your biceps, and if you do a lot of this without much bicep training, it can cause an imbalance.

2. Not training your biceps

Linked to this is the possible issue of neglecting your biceps altogether. Bicep size can be grown through compound movements like bent-over rows and even deadlifts, but the muscles properly benefit from focused training which isolates them.

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If you’re not performing exercises like bicep curls or cable curls, then this could also be why your biceps are smaller than your forearms.

3. Lifestyle

It could be the activities outside of training and exercise are affecting the size of your forearms. This is particularly pertinent if you perform a lot of manual labor, perhaps in your job. Lifting and holding heavy objects will build stronger forearms, as they require a strong grip.

While this is great for forearm strength, if you’re doing this sort of work and no other training, there’s a chance your forearms will become more developed than your biceps. 

4. Genetics

This is the most difficult factor to contend with; your forearms might be bigger than your biceps simply because of your genes. Every person’s body is different, and you might find that no matter how many heavy weights you lift with your biceps, you will still have stronger forearms.

That being said, you can still focus on upper body strength and continue to train all areas of it, it’s just that it’s likely to be more difficult to find that muscle balance you’re looking for.

How to reduce the size difference between forearms and biceps

1. Bicep isolation training

In order to increase your biceps measurement, you’ll need to perform exercises that isolate and engage the muscle. Whether it’s performing curls on the cable pulley machine or performing a simple exercise like a barbell curl, it’s important to focus directly on the biceps.

There are compound exercises that will engage your biceps, but they’ll also be targeting other muscle groups – in some cases, including your forearms – and so won’t be quite as effective, though are still important to include.

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You should aim to train your biceps at least twice a week, with a rest in between sessions.

2. Train biceps first

When completing an upper body workout, you should focus on your upper arms first if you want to grow your biceps more than your forearms. This is because, usually, the muscles you train earliest in a workout typically get the best workout, because fatigue has not yet set in and your form is optimal.

3. Fewer forearm workouts

If you’ve been performing forearm exercises that focus on building forearm strength, then it would be wise to reduce this training volume if you want your biceps to catch up.

That’s not to say you should neglect your forearms altogether, but exercises like the wrist curl – which only uses the forearm – should be minimized, so as to allow your biceps to balance out in size.

4. Focus on the mind-muscle connection

This is when you pay attention to the feeling of a muscle working during an exercise. In this case, you should really focus on your biceps when performing things like curls. This ensures your form is correct and that your biceps are doing the work, rather than other muscles like your forearms taking over.

Conclusion

It’s fairly rare for a person’s forearms to be bigger than their biceps, but if this is the case for you then there are numerous reasons as to why. The most likely is that your training, lifestyle, or a combination of both places more emphasis on your forearm muscles, meaning they’ve become more developed.

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The simplest way of addressing this imbalance is to focus on your biceps more in training, ideally through isolation exercises like curls.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do forearms get bigger with biceps?

This depends on the type of exercise you’re doing; compound movements that work numerous muscles at once will provide a more even workout across your arm, whereas isolation exercises like bicep curls will mainly activate just one muscle, in this instance your biceps.

That being said, your forearms are often one of the assisting muscles when your biceps are working and so will still feel some benefits of exercises.

Do push-ups build forearms?

Push-ups work numerous muscles including your pecs, shoulders, triceps, and – to an extent – your forearms. As a bodyweight exercise, push-ups will only build a certain amount of muscle, but they will help improve muscle endurance.

Push-ups on your fingertips, though, will activate your forearms much more and make them one of the primary muscles involved, giving them a more thorough workout.

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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