forearms training

forearms training? 4 types of exercises for home and the gym!

Forearms training is incredibly important for calisthenics athletes but is unfortunately often overlooked. Yet, strengthening your forearms can have significant implications for other calisthenics exercises, such as improving your handstand and planche.

You wouldn’t be the first person to make substantial progress in bodyweight exercises like the muscle-up and handstand or even weightlifting, all by fortifying your forearms.

In this blog, you’ll discover why it’s crucial to train your forearms and which exercises you can use for this purpose.


Why train your forearms?

You probably already understand the importance of training your forearms, which is why you’re reading this blog. However, to give you that final push, here are three reasons why you should start training your forearms.

Physical/strength symmetry

Do you want to be symmetrically strong and muscular across your entire body? Most likely. That’s why it’s essential to incorporate exercises specifically for your forearms into your workout routine. If you neglect this, your forearms might lag behind your muscular upper arms, and that’s not a desirable look.

Preventing/Healing Injuries

For healthy wrists and elbows, it’s crucial that the muscles in your forearms are trained proportionally with the rest of your body.

Strong forearm muscles help prevent injuries and reduce the risk of fractures.

In fact, when dealing with an elbow injury, you often need to perform exercises to strengthen specific muscles in your forearms.

Note: If you are dealing with an injury, it’s important to first consult with a physiotherapist before starting these exercises.

Overlap Strength

If you regularly train exercises for your forearms, many other exercises will see improvement.

Strong forearms aid in calisthenics exercises like the handstand, planche, and handstand pushup. Additionally, pulling exercises such as pull-ups and deadlifts benefit from a strong grip.

It’s not just in the gym where you’ll reap the rewards; a powerful grip is also valuable in everyday life. For instance, when you want to carry all the grocery bags in one go.

4 Types of forearms Exercises

Your forearms consist of a large group of mostly small muscles that enable various movements. There are muscles that assist in gripping and others that allow movement in your wrists and elbows.

As these muscles cannot all be trained in the same way, I’ve categorized them into 4 different types of exercises. You’ll find them below, with both gym and home variations for each group mentioned.

Grip Exercises

Grip exercises are ideal for training the flexors of your forearms. This is perhaps the easiest variation of forearm training.

There are countless exercises you can do to improve your gripping strength in the gym. For instance, you can hang from the bar in a pull-up position without actually pulling yourself up.

Another option to enhance your gripping strength is the pinch grip plate hold. You can easily progress by starting with light weight plates and gradually increasing the weight.

Pronation & Supination Exercises

When performing pronation and supination exercises, you are training the muscles that rotate your wrists. You start with your wrist in a neutral position and rotate it alternately from left to right (see video below).

Preferably, when performing these types of exercises, aim for a high number of repetitions with light resistance. This resistance can be created using a stick, hammer, or resistance band.

Brachioradialis Exercises

The brachioradialis is the largest muscle in your forearm in terms of surface area. Chances are, you’re already training this muscle without even realizing it.

When training the biceps, the brachioradialis comes into play.

However, it’s still wise to specifically target this muscle.

You can easily do this by performing a reverse barbell curl. This is similar to the regular curls for your biceps, but with a reverse (as the name suggests) hand position. So, in a pronated stance. See the video below for an example.

You can easily train the brachioradialis at home by using dumbbells or resistance bands to mimic a similar movement.

Other examples of exercises for the brachioradialis include the Zottman curl and the hammer curl.

wrist flexion exercises

The final exercises to make your wrists and forearms incredibly strong are exercises that involve wrist flexion and extension.

In the gym, these exercises are often performed using dumbbells. However, you can easily do these exercises at home as well, using equipment such as a wrist roller or a flexbar.

See the video above for an example of bending and stretching exercises using a flexbar.

Tips for forearms training

  1. Start with light weights: when you begin training your forearms, it’s essential to start with light weights to avoid overloading the muscles.

  2. Progress by gradually increasing the weight: as you notice progress and your muscles get stronger, it’s time to add some weight. Try to do more repetitions in each workout, and over time, increase the resistance.

  3. Aim for high repetitions: forearm muscles respond best to sets with many repetitions. Therefore, choose low intensity and aim for a minimum of 12 reps per set.

Frequently Asked Questions about Forearm Training

Is it important to train forearms?

Yes! Strong forearms are necessary for everyday activities such as lifting, pushing, and pulling. Forearm strength is also crucial when engaging in many other sports activities, such as pull-ups and deadlifts.

Why would I want to train my forearms?

There are countless reasons why someone would want their forearms to become stronger. Perhaps you simply want to build muscle so you look good in a t-shirt. Or, forearm strength might be your weak point, preventing you from excelling in calisthenics/powerlifting exercises.

How can I build forearm strength?

To strengthen the muscles in your forearm, you need to regularly expose them to resistance. There are 4 types of exercises you can incorporate into your routine for this purpose, emphasizing training with high reps and low intensity.

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