How to Build Big Forearms

By Jason Ferruggia

Big ForearmsWanna know how to build big forearms? First of all ditch the lifting straps. Don’t use straps on any of your pulling exercises. That is the fastest way to add size to your forearms. If possible you should use thicker grip handles on dumbbell and barbell exercises. Those would be the first two things you should start with.

With that covered, my next recommendation would be to add in some heavy wrist curls. Not the high rep, light weight pumping nonsense, though. I’m talking about moving some big weight. Behind the back wrist curls work very well here. You can pack on a ton of weight without any risk of injury to the wrists. When you do normal wrist curls with your hands hanging over your knees or off the edge of a bench you can’t use as much weight without risking an injury to your wrists or just being in extreme discomfort. For the behind the back wrist curls I recommend heavy sets of five to ten reps. When you do them in the normal fashion you should stick with sets of ten to twenty reps to be safe.

Suitcase wrist curls are another great forearm building exercise. Stand straight up and hold a barbell at your side with one hand like you would carry a suitcase. Now simply curl the weight up toward you with your wrist. This is a lot harder than it sounds and can be very challenging. Another great exercise is the EZ bar reverse curl with a false or thumbless grip. This means that your thumb is on the same side of the bar that your fingers are on. Curl the weight up as far as you can while not allowing your upper arms to move. You only hinge at the elbow and only your forearms move. The upper arms stay pinned at your side.

No discussion about how to build big forearms would be complete without talking about heavy grip work. For grip work I like to incorporate a lot of rope climbing, towel and rope chin ups, rows with thick diameter ropes and various crushing and pinching exercises. You can even do towel or rope curls by looping one of the two through a heavy kettlebell and doing curls like that. Doing timed hangs from a towel draped over a chin up bar is another great grip exercise. Plate pinching works the fingers and can lead to increased forearm size as well. Simply pile a few plates together, smooth side out and pinch grip them for thirty to sixty seconds as hard as you can without dropping them.

The farmers walk is another great forearm building exercise. Pick up a heavy pair of dumbbells or kettlebells and walk with them for anywhere from one to five minutes straight. This will really blow up your forearms.

Since the forearms are small muscles and recovery quickly they can be trained three times per week with three to six sets of ten to twenty reps. Be sure to start with some heavy weights and finish with a skin ripping pump. And those are the simple facts about how to build big forearms.


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