The forearms are the first muscles that people see when you wear a short sleeve shirt, making them a glory and glamour muscle that deserves special attention. To get big forearms fast, you need to choose the right exercises to stimulate the maximum amount of muscle fibers.
The mistake that most people make in the gym is performing compound exercises such as pull-ups and barbell rows, believing that’s enough to trigger forearm growth. The truth is that just like every other muscle group, your forearms need direct work…and lots of it.
Let’s breakdown the parts of this muscle, its function, and the best exercises for bigger forearms.
FOREARM EXERCISES FOR GROWTH
Forearms might not receive the same attention as quadriceps, chest, and back for focused training but these seemingly insignificant muscles play an extremely important role in your workouts and day-to-day activities.
The brachioradialis is one of the largest muscles in the forearm and its role is to flex the forearm at the elbow. Since the brachioradialis is mainly composed of fast-twitch muscle fibers, it responds best to fast contractions and heavy weights.
The best way to isolate the brachioradialis is to use a combination of exercises that require a neutral and a pronated grip (palms facing the floor). We recommend alternating between hammer curls and reverse curls from workout to workout.
Use a heavy enough weight to get four to six repetitions. As you perform a palms-down exercise, be sure to keep your elbows at your sides. Explode up but do not go higher than parallel. At the top of the movement, hold the contraction for one second, then lower the weights under strict control for a count of 3 to 4 seconds.
The other largest portion of the forearm is the muscle group of wrist flexors, which induces flexion of the fingers and the hand. The wrist flexors are primarily made up of slow-twitch muscle fibers that respond best to slow contractions and high repetitions.
Contrary to popular belief, the best way to train the flexors is not by doing wrist curls. Using a straight barbell forces your wrist in an unnatural path which can increase your risk of injury. The best way to stimulate the wrist flexors and get big forearms is two-fold: thick bar training paired with frequent isometric contractions.
Due to the increased thickness of the dumbbell or barbell, you will effectively engage the forearms and the wrist flexors just by holding the thick bar. If you don't have access to thick bars, make sure to grab yourself some thick grips to increase the effectiveness of your exercises.
Using a thick bar with direct isolation exercises like dumbbell static holds, farmer walks, plate pinches, and deadlifts will trigger growth. The key is to find an exercise where you can use a thick bar and hold a heavy weight for at least 45 to 60 seconds. Be sure to experiment with different thickness levels of thick bar training.
THE SAFE WAY TO WRIST CURL
For people that only swear by wrist curls, you can perform a few sets once in a while but be sure to follow these tips in order to maximize results and minimize risk of injury:
- Use dumbbells with a thick grip handle - Never use barbells
- Focus on light weight and a higher repetition range of 15 to 20
- Do not hyperextend your wrist – Only lower to neutral
- Consider an isometric hold after the completion of each set of wrist curls
BIGGER FOREARMS WORKOUT
Use this workout to get big forearms fast for six to eight weeks followed by one rest week:
- Thick Grip Static Holds: 3 sets of 60 seconds
- Thick Bar Reverse Curls: 6 sets of 4 to 6 repetitions
- Farmers Walk: 6 sets of 45 to 60 seconds
- Plate Pinches - 3 sets of 60 seconds
- Fat Dumbbell Wrist Curls: 4 sets of 15 to 20 repetitions
- Thick Hammer Curls: 4 sets of 6 repetitions
It's not very hard to get big forearms once you know how to train them correctly. Remember that the forearms need a great amount of volume to grow. Don't be scared to over train them; you won't.