On this list, I’m going to show you some of the best forearm exercises. These moves help to increase the muscle mass of your lower arms to look like Popeye. Also, they help to make your forearms more defined and improve grip strength.
This guide includes:
- Why it’s essential to strengthen your lower arms.
- Tutorials on how to perform the various forearm weight exercises.
- How to get bigger forearms and wrists, stronger wrist flexors.
- And other training advice and alternatives.
Most exercises featured here use dumbbells. So, if you have a pair of dumbbells at home after running through this post, you’ll know how to get a good workout.
Why do these lower arm exercises?
Grip strength is quite underrated in the field of muscle building. Everyone focuses on the chest, arms, etc., to look cool and firm. But, insufficient forearm strength can lead to a few problems and may stop you from developing.
I’ve seen guys stop growing because the bar slipped out their palms. They couldn’t do more pull-ups or deadlifts because their fingers, wrists, and forearm muscles were weak. Instead of curing the problem with exercises, they started using wrist wraps and other shortcuts. Don’t commit that mistake. Include forearm strengthening exercises in your workout routine.
And, you need nothing more, just weight.
1. Hammer Curl
Maybe the hammer curl is the most well-known among the forearm exercises, but it shapes the biceps as well.
- The execution is the same as biceps curl, but the palms are facing inwards. This way, the upper parts of the forearm muscles are engaged more.
- The rule is the same. Don’t swing the dumbbells, keep your elbows close to your body and your back straight.
For this exercise, you may use heavier weight since it’s more compound than the previous ones. Hence, do 8-15 reps.
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2. Farmer’s Walk
It’s an underestimated compound exercise that works your lower and upper body and develops your functional strength. It’s a combination of cardio and strength training. Because you have to hold dumbbells for minutes, it makes your grips super powerful.
- Grab two weights and pull your shoulder blades backward. You can use heavier loads.
- Walk for at least 1 minute, but 2-3 minutes should be your goal.
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3. Palms Up Dumbbell Wrist Curl
You can do the wrist curl with one or two weights.
- Sit in the bench, place your forearms on your thighs, and with your hands facing up.
- Your wrists should be off your knees so that your hands will have enough space to move up and downwards.
- Curl the dumbbells towards your forearms as much as you can. When you have the maximum contraction, stop for a moment, and squeeze your muscles.
- Slowly lower the DB back to the starting position.
To avoid using the momentum or your shoulders, you can do the wrist curl by kneeling behind a bench by placing your lower arms on the pad.
Don’t use too hefty weights that spoil the correct form of the exercise. I suggest doing at least 12 reps, but you can perform up to 20 reps.
4. Palms Down Wrist Curl
With the previous training, we target the bottom side of the forearms. With this overhand grip version, we focus on the upper side of it.
- The starting position is the same, but your hands are facing down.
- Lift the dumbbells upwards in front of you as high as you can.
- At the top, pause for a few seconds and slowly with a controlled motion, lower the dumbbells.
Perform 12-20 reps.
5. Dumbbell forearm rotation
This exercise is excellent for strengthening your wrists and fingers. You can do it by sitting with your arms on your knees. But, I prefer the bench version since I can make larger circles and bypass the other muscles.
- Kneel behind the bench and place your lower arms on the padding with your palms facing upwards.
- Make a move as if you were turning a key with the dumbbells.
Do 15-20 repetitions.
6. Forearm dumbbell twists
It seems to be a silly exercise, but wrist rotations with weight strengthen your grips effectively. Because of the rotational movement, you have to grip the bar tightly, so your fingers, forearms, and wrists are activated.
- Grab two dumbbells in a standing position.
- By keeping your upper arms close to you, rotate the weight.
7. Reverse dumbbell forearm curl
Everyone knows the biceps curl, but with a twist, we can turn it into an excellent exercise for the forearms.
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand with shoulder apart. Your palms are facing down.
- Lift the dumbbells up. Keep your elbows next to your torso and use the power of your lower arms. Exclude your shoulders as much as you can and don’t use the momentum.
- Lift the weight until you feel the contraction in your forearms. I prefer to lift higher to get a longer range of motion.
- At the top of the movement, stop for a moment, and just hold the weights.
- Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position. The negative phase is also beneficial for strength.
Do 10-20 reps.
8. Dumbbell Finger Curl
Dumbbell Finger Curl is another variation of Wrist Curl which emphasizes more on your wrist flexors when your fingers are in motion. It also works on the flexor carpiradialis and flexor carpi ulnaris. To improve the technique, you can do a set in each arm. It involves 3 phases:
- Start by kneeling on the floor vertical to an exercise bench. Firmly hold two dumbbells in a supinated position.
- Keep the backside of each forearm on the bench so that your wrist doesn’t hang on the bench. Make sure you keep your arms on the bench throughout the exercise. Allow the dumbbells to roll down to your fingers while extending the wrist. Now that’s the starting position.
- In the concentric phase, flex both wrists at the same time while raising the dumbbells upwards. As you bend your wrist, wrap your fingers around the dumbbell. Slowly extend your wrists and allow the dumbbell with your finger to return to the starting position.
9. Zottman Curl
The Zottman Curl is one of the best workouts for your forearm. Compared to the Forearm Curl, the Zottman Curl needs you to flip your grip on the dumbbell during your movement. Here’s how to do it:
In a standing position, hold your dumbbells in each hand at your side with your thumbs around the hurdles for safety and with the palms-up grip. Keep your chest up, eyes forward, and knees slightly bent. Keeping your elbows in place, curl the weights towards your biceps or shoulders simultaneously for both hands.
Once you get to the top, hold the position and squeeze your biceps, then flip the weights until your palms are in the pronated position. Still in this position, lower your dumbbells slowly towards your thighs until you are close to your limit. Hold this position and turn your palm to the palms-up grip and start again. If you can’t finish all reps with both arms at the same time, you can alternate your arms on each rep.
Try to perform about 12 reps.
10. Towel Kettlebell Curl
This exercise is usually done with a Kettlebell but you can do it with a dumbbell. Make sure you don’t allow your arms to be fully extended at the end of the movement to prevent tension from leaving your biceps which can you to release the dumbbells. If you are a wrestler, this training will benefit you by improving your grip.
This workout will engage both your arms and forearms. Here’s how to do it:
- Loop the towel around a pair of dumbbells or through the handle of a kettlebell and fold the towel in half.
- Hold the end of the towel in both hands and curl, keep your upper arm in a stationary position and then perform a curl.
- move your foreman up until the palms of your hands reach the level of your shoulders.
- Return to the starting position by slowly lowering your arms with the weight and repeat.
Do 5 – 8 reps due to the continuous stress of the exercise.
Perfectly worked-out forearms are part of the goals for a great body for men. Modern women are also leaning towards achieving this. So, you should try any of our listed exercises today and make yourself look great!