On this list, I’m going to show you some of the best forearm dumbbell 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.
This guide includes:
- Why it’s essential to strengthen your lower arms.
- Tutorials on how to perform the various exercises.
- How to get bigger forearms and wrists.
- And other training advice and alternatives.
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 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 dumbbells.
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.
2. 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 o 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.
3. 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.
4. 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 curls 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
Tips for forearms workout with dumbbells
The most important advice is to do the exercises with the correct form. If you swing or use a too heavy weight, you won’t be able to target the lower arm muscles. Except for the farmer’s walk, these are isolated exercises that require focus.
Are they enough to build massive forearms?
Yes and no.
I don’t believe in doing only isolated exercises for strength. Firstly, the amount of load we can use is limited, mainly if we use a hand weight. For example, none of the forearm curls above can be done with over a hundred of pounds correctly.
The other reason is that since the forearms are activated in all sorts of activities, it’s better to engage them within a compound move. That is more natural, and they even get a higher load. A good example is pull-ups. You don’t just need to grip the bar, but when you pull and lower yourself, the forearms are stimulated. The same is true for the deadlift (that is why I never use wrist wraps.)
So, do I mean that dumbbell exercises for forearm strength are useless?
Absolutely, no. They are very beneficial and must be in your strength training routine, but lifting big is the key to strength and size.
An example forearm workout for mass
- Bar hang: 3×2-minute
- Farmers Walk: 2×2 minute
- Hammer curl: 3×10-12
- Palms up wrist curl: 3×20
Within this intermediate level workout, the first two exercises are compound ones, and the last 2 are isolated ones.
Beginners just pick 2-3 exercises above and do two sets with 15-20 reps.
Frequently asked questions
What are the best exercises for vascular forearms?
Each of the exercises above is perfect for that. Although, how vascular your lower arms are is depending on your genes and your body fat level. Plus, besides dumbbell do barbell and body weight exercises for forearms.
Is it worth to use a forearm workout tool?
Well, if you have a pair of dumbbells at home, you’ve got everything to build muscular forearms. Although, you can use the hand gripper equipment everywhere and if it provides enough resistance, it helps to improve grip strength.