Forearm Exercises for Men and Women

These forearm workouts listed are for both men and women. Both of you can follow these workouts for building and toning your forearms. This section contains detailed descriptions of all major exercises that focus on the forearms.

Read through the exercise descriptions thoroughly so you know exactly what the exercise is going to accomplish, how to execute it properly and safely and how to best incorporate the exercise into your forearm workouts.

You can do forearm exercises in various forms. Variation does matter to the growth of your muscles. Update your workouts every two to four weeks for better results. You can do forearm exercises with barbells, dumbbells, resistance bands, machines, and more.

Mentioned exercises is a list of all practical forearm exercises that you can include in your workout schedule. You’re not supposed to do all of these on a single day. Also, always warm up the forearms with lower weight for greater resistance to any potential injuries.

1. Seated Barbell Wrist Curl

The seated barbell wrist curl is one of the most effective exercises for the wrist. This exercise targets the flexor carpi ulnaris, flexor carpi radialis and palmaris longus muscles primarily, and the finger flexors muscles secondary.

You can perform wrist curls with a barbell, EZ curl bar, dumbbells, pulley or cable, etc… Also, this exercise can be done in a seated position, with forearms either resting on the thighs, or over the edge of a bench, or while standing upright.

Instructions for Seated Barbell Wrist Curl:

1.   Kneel on the floor with the forearms resting across the width of a

     bench Now hold a barbell about shoulder-width, palms facing up,

     the hands and wrists over the edge.

2.  Begin with the wrists extended so that the hands are below the

     forearms.Use an open grip (the thumbs on the same side of the bar

     as the fingers). Let the barbell roll from the palms onto the fingers.

     This is the starting point.

3.  While keeping the arms stationary, flex the wrists as far as possible to

     lift the bar up and toward the upper arms in a short range of motion.

     Stop when the wrists won’t go any higher. Pause and squeeze the

     forearms, and then slowly lower the bar back down to the starting


4.  This will complete your one repetition.

5.  Exhale as you curl the bar up. Inhale as you lower down.

6.  Repeat it until failure (10-15 reps / 2-3 sets).

2. Reverse Barbell Preacher Curl

Reverse barbell preacher curls involve the arms, not just the wrists. It is identical to the barbell preacher curl for the biceps, except that you use an overhand grip instead of an underhand grip. That slight difference transforms it into a forearm exercise.

This isolation exercise specifically targets the brachioradialis, the brachialis, and to a minor degree the biceps.

They can be performed with either an E-Z curl bar, or a straight bar (pictured below).

Position the seat so the lower chest is pressed against the inner pad, and the upper arms are rested on the outer pad at roughly a 45-degree angle with horizontal.

Instructions for Reverse Barbell Preacher Curl:

1.   Set up a barbell with desired weight on the rack of the preacher bench.

2.  Grasp the barbell shoulder-width apart using a closed, pronated grip

     (palms are facing down).

3.  Sit on the preacher bench with the back of the arms rested on the pad

     and raise the arms until they are vertical. This is your start position.

4.  Slowly lower the arms until they are almost straight.

5.  Lift the bar up towards the chin back to the start position.

6.  This will complete your one repetition.

7.  Exhale as you curl the bar up. Inhale as you lower down.

8.  Repeat it until failure (10-15 reps / 2-3 sets).

3. Behind the Back-Wrist Curl

Behind the back-wrist curl is an isolation exercise used to build the flexors of the wrist and forearms. This exercise can be performed by either sitting on a bench or standing (like pictured below). It is easiest to either pick up the barbell from a squat rack or have a partner hand it to you.

A peak contraction is very important as forearm muscles are difficult to build since they are continually stimulated in all upper body exercises.

Instructions for Behind the Back-Wrist Curl:

1.   Grasp a barbell behind the back, shoulder width apart with the palms

     facing back.

2.  Stand straight holding the barbell behind the glutes at arm’s length. This

     is the starting position.

3.  Slowly curl the wrist in a semi-circular motion towards the ceiling.

4.  Hold the contraction for a second and lower

     the barbell back down to the starting position.

5.  This will complete your one repetition.

6.  Exhale as you curl the bar up. Inhale as you lower down.

7.  Repeat it until failure (10-15 reps / 2-3 sets).

4. Wrist Roller

The wrist roller is one of the best exercises for developing forearm size and strength. This exercise works both wrist flexors and wrist extensors because there are two actions involved; wrist extension and wrist flexion.

In wrist extension, the knuckles are raised; and in wrist flexion, the knuckles are lowered. A different set of muscles is involved in each action. Although there are specific devices to do this movement, you can make a wrist roller quite easily.

To make your own wrist roller, cut a wooden dowel or PVC tubing about 12 inches (30 cm) long. Tie one end of a rope around the middle of the roller. Let the rest of the rope hang down, and tie the other end around a dumbbell or through the hole of a plate.

Instructions for Seated Barbell Wrist Curl:

1.   Grasp the roller with the hands on each side of the rope. Extend the arms

     out in front of you, maintaining a slight bend at the elbows.

2.  Alternately extend the wrists upwards to wind the rope around the roller

     and lift the weight. Keep going until the weight meets the roller.

3.  Slowly under control, alternately extend your

     wrists downwards to unwind the rope and lower the weight.

4.  Increase the resistance so that it is difficult but not impossible to get the

     weight up to the top and back without fatiguing.

5.  Repeat it until failure (2-3 sets).

5. Hand Grip

Hand grip exercise is good for strengthening finger flexors muscles in the hands. This exercise requires a hand grip tool. They come in a variety of different styles. Many gyms and health clubs have spring collars that can be used as a hand grip tool (pictured below).

Also, they can be performed from just about anywhere including the gym or at home.

Instructions for Hand Grip:

1.  For this exercise, you need a handgrip tool

     (as shown in the picture).

2.  Hold the tool and squeeze it.

3.  Hold for a second then slowly release.

4.  Repeat it until failure.

5.  Alternate with the other hand.

6.  Perform 2-3 sets.

6. Reverse Dumbbell Wrist Curl

Reverse dumbbell wrist curl is an isolation exercise used to build the wrist extensors, the muscles on the backside of the forearm. This exercise is identical to the standard dumbbell wrist curl except you take a reverse overhand grip on the dumbbells, palms turned down.

They can be performed in a seated position, with forearms either resting on the thighs, or over the edge of a bench. Many people prefer dumbbells for reverse wrist curls because they place less strain on the wrists and they allow a longer range of motion.

Use lighter weight than you would for the forearm curl with an underhand grip. Good technique is more important than weight, which should never be heavy. Too much weight or too wide a range of movement can lead to injury.

Instructions for Reverse Dumbbell Wrist Curl:

1.   In a seated position, with the forearms resting on the thighs (or on

     abench) and hands extending over the knees, use a pronated grip (palms

     facing down) to hold the dumbbells.

2.  Flex the wrist so that the hands hang down from the wrist at about a 90-

     degree angle. This is the starting position.

3.  Extend the wrists to lift the dumbbells up as high as you can. Pause and

     squeeze the forearm muscles, and then slowly lower the dumbbells back

     down to the starting position.

4.  Hold this position for a second while forcefully contracting your forearm

     muscles, then slowly return the dumbbells back to the starting position.

5.  This will complete your one repetition.

6.  Exhale as you extend the wrist up. Inhale as you lower down.

7.  Repeat it until failure (10-15 reps / 2-3 sets).


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