Vascular forearm at age 32.
Fitness

Top 5 Exercises for Building Bigger Forearms: What Worked for Me

Disclaimer: If you are inexperienced, you should attempt these exercises with light weight and/or low frequency to train your muscles. You can slowly increase weight and frequency over time, but overdoing it in the beginning can lead to injury. If you experience any sharp pain or excessive discomfort, stop immediately.

Let’s talk about forearms. Lots of guys want bigger forearms. Some guys are genetically blessed with big forearms – I’m not one of them. Some women find big forearms to be an attractive trait in a man. I’m going to tell you exactly how you can grow your forearms and increase vascularity because I’ve done it myself. All you need are some dumbbells and a pull-up bar. Do note, though, that everyone is limited in some way by their body’s frame. Your forearm will probably never look like Oleg Zhokh’s (picture below).

Oleg Zhokh, a professional arm wrestler who has a genetic anomaly that allows his left forearm to be trained to a size that would make Popeye cry.

1. Wrist Curl

If I could only recommend one exercise for working the forearms, it would probably be the wrist curl. Wrist curls feel like they work my forearms out more than any other exercise. After completing a set, I can really feel the burn and see a noticeable pump in the forearm.

How to Perform a Wrist Curl

The wrist curl is performed from a seated position with the forearm resting palm-side up on the thigh. Your wrist should be hanging slightly over your knee. Grip a dumbbell and with your wrist bent back toward the floor, slowly curl the dumbbell using your wrist.

My Routine for Wrist Curls

I perform the following drop-set of wrist curls 4-5 days per week.

  • Reps to failure with 30 lb. dumbbells
  • Reps to failure with 20 lb. dumbbells
  • Reps to failure with 10 lb. dumbbells

2. Reverse Wrist Curl

Very similar to the wrist curl is the reverse wrist curl. The movement of the exercise doesn’t change much aside from the palm being face down rather than face up. Reverse wrist curls are slightly more difficult, so use less weight than you would with a wrist curl.

How to Perform a Reverse Wrist Curl

The reverse wrist curl is performed from a seated position with the forearm resting palm-side down on the thigh. Your wrist should be hanging slightly over your knee. Grip a dumbbell and with your wrist bent down toward the floor, slowly curl the dumbbell by bending your wrist back.

My Routine for Reverse Wrist Curls

I perform the following drop-set of reverse wrist curls 4-5 days per week.

  • Reps to failure with 20 lb. dumbbells
  • Reps to failure with 10 lb. dumbbells
  • Reps to failure with 5 lb. dumbbells

3. Pull-up & Chin-up

Pull-ups & chin-ups are an essential part of my workout routine, and it just so happens that they help build forearms as well. These exercises will also help tremendously with building the muscles in your back.

How to Perform a Pull-Up or Chin-Up

To perform a pull-up (palms facing down) or chin-up (palms facing up), grip a pull-up bar about shoulder width apart and slowly pull your body weight up until your chin is level with the bar. Then, slowly lower yourself back to the starting position. You want this to be a controlled and smooth motion.

My Routine for Pull-Ups & Chin-Ups

I don’t have a set routine for doing pull-ups and chin-ups. My house has three pull-up bars, each in different rooms, so I just do them whenever I feel like it. I’ll usually perform sets of 10-15 reps and have recently tried some different grip variations.

4. Dead Hang

The dead hang is a simple, but difficult exercise that will really blast your forearms.

How to Perform a Dead Hang

To perform a dead hang, grip the pull-up bar, take your feet off the ground, and hang for as long as you feel comfortable. After a period of time, you will feel an insane burn in your forearms. Once the burn becomes too much, just let go.

My Routine for Dead Hang

I try to dead hang for around 60 seconds 4 to 5 times per week.

5. Hammer Curl

The hammer curl works your forearms with the added benefit of working your biceps at the same time.

How to Perform a Hammer Curl

To perform a hammer curl, grip a dumbbell with your palm facing your body and let it hang by your side. Without moving your body or upper arm, slowly curl the dumbbell up until your forearm is nearly vertical. Then slowly go back to the starting position.

My Routine for Hammer Curls

I perform the following drop-set of hammer curls 4-5 days per week:

  • Reps to failure with 30 lb. dumbbells
  • Reps to failure with 20 lb. dumbbells
  • Reps to failure with 10 lb. dumbbells

Well, are you ready to start building bigger forearms? You know the secret now! Well, one secret anyway. There are so many more exercises that can work the forearms – I’m just giving you the blueprint that worked well enough for me. Feel free to reach out with any questions or let me know if you have any secret forearm-building techniques that I should know! Thanks for reading!

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