Forearm Workout

big forearms


I remember back in my hockey playing days, I think I was in bantam (15 to 16 years of age) and I was getting ready to tie up my skates beside my teammate, Paul who was also tying up his skates.

As Paul was tying up his skates, I couldn't help but notice the size and the muscle in his forearms.

It looked as if his forearms could rip the laces right off his skates!

Whenever he tightened his skates, his forearms flexed and they looked as if they took on a life of their own. Ever since that moment, I wanted to get that same look on my forearms.

Of course, Paul was genetically more adept to forearm development than I was since he didn't even lift weights, and he was only 16 years old! But that didn't stop me from trying to get huge and sinewy forearms. I remember doing endless sets of wrist curls in my bedroom trying to build my little, stick like forearms and seeing no results. I couldn't understand why my forearms never grew.

Well, over time I've come to realize that I had it all wrong, like most of my weight training routines at that time. You see, forearms are a very small and complex set of muscles.

They are used constantly doing light and heavy work. It's because of this that you have to train forearms in a very different manner. Of course, the principles of correct training techniques apply but if you truly want strong and powerful forearms, your going to have to start training them in such a manner as to make them work hard, heavy and briefly.

I remember when I first started training at my local gym, I was doing a lot of heavy shrugs, pull downs, barbell rows and dead lifts. I was using these “wrist hooks” for most of these lifts because they helped me lift more weight.

These hooks allowed me to keep moving the weight, even though my wrist gave out. Well, one of my mentors saw this and said, “listen, if you want to develop those forearms, get rid of those wrist straps”. I couldn't believe he said that. That meant that I'd have to lighten the load on all the lifts and I didn't want to.

I really couldn't argue with him because his forearms alone measured about 18 inches around. Now, I know a lot of you out there will disagree with me but this works. His reasoning was that your forearms get plenty of work doing just about anything that has to do with your upper body. Once they give out, there is no need to keep going.

I was going to failure with my forearms for all my lifts for my back. Plus on top of that, I was doing two forearms workouts per week and probably two biceps workouts. I reality, I was training my forearms, 4 maybe 5 times a week, taking each and every movement to failure. This was way too much.

What my mentor wanted me to do, was get my forearms “used” to moving the weight by themselves and gradually get them stronger without any aids. This way, my body got used to working with my forearms. The results? Well, I haven't trained with wrist straps or wrist hooks since and my forearms are plenty strong.

So, if you are wanting to build and strengthen your forearms, start using your natural grip strength on dead lifts, barbell rows, chin ups, and other pulling movements. Once your forearms give out, drop the weight. Over time, you forearms will get stronger and stronger and will start to develop.

Now, as for your forearms workouts, you will only need one per week. Since your forearms are a small muscle group and are worked for your curling and pulling movements, you only need one direct workout per week.

If you're really serious about developing your forearms and want to build them up, you have to start training them first and foremost in your weight training program. That is, if your weight training workout schedule is something like this:

Monday: Back and Shoulders
Tuesday: Legs
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: Chest and Arms
Friday: Rest

Your new forearm program will look as follows:

Monday: Forearms and Shoulders
Tuesday: Legs
Wednesday: Back
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Chest and Arms
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Rest

This way, you prioritize your forearms and give them the mental and physical energy they need for hard and heavy workouts with plenty of rest time. By the time back comes around, your forearms should be good to go. However, if you find they are still sore, try training them on Thursday instead of Wednesday and move chest and arms to Saturday.

You might have to play around with the dates and workout times but just remember to train your forearms first and foremost, give them plenty of rest and do plenty of heavy rows, pull downs, and dead lifts, without any wrist straps and I'm positive you'll see a big difference in the way your forearms look and feel.

What about wrist apparatus' such as wrist grabbers and strengtheners? I've never used them and I've never had a need for them. However, if I every did use them, I'd only use them sporadically. Listen, you don't want to keep working your forearms day in and day out because they'll never grow. Here's what you want to do:

• Concentrate on strengthening your forearms for compound movements such as dead lifts, barbell rows, pull downs, rows, and chin ups, minus wrist straps;

• Train them first and foremost in your weight training routine using a forearm specific training routine;

• Train your forearms directly once per week;

• Make constant improvements week after week in all of your forearm specific exercises

Once you follow the above noted points, you should start to see some improvement. One more point is to make sure you add more calories to your diet. A word to the wise - Your not going to get big and strong by cutting most of your calories. It's just not going to happen.

You want to start eating calorie dense foods packed full of grade A muscle fuel (carbohydrates), and muscle building material (quality protein sources). Follow a proper diet with the above noted elements and your forearms, as well as the rest of your body, will explode overnight.

For more information about nutrition and building muscle, see the following page:

Muscle Building Diet

Hammer Curls

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Warm up: 1 x 20 reps
Set one: 1 x 10 reps
Set two: 1 x 8 reps
Set three: 1 x 8 reps

Reverse Barbell Wrist Curls

Warm up: 1 x 20 reps
Set one: 1 x 12 reps
Set two: 1 x 10 reps
Set three: 1 x 10 reps

Wrist Curls On A Bench

Warm up: 1 x 20 reps
Set one: 1 x 12 reps
Set two: 1 x 10 reps
Set three: 1 x 8 reps

This is a sample forearm routine that will get your forearms on the road to growth. Now, you have to remember, as with any weight training routine, you have to constantly improve with each and every workout. This is the number one aspect to building muscle and strength because if your not improving with each workout, your not growing. Take a look at the following page to find out how you can apply this powerful principle:

Gaining Muscle Mass

All the best,


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