T Nation

Lagging Forearms?


After I finished my workout today I looked in the mirror and noticed how small my forearms are in comparison to my upper arms. I admit I haven't trained them like I should. Anyone know any excellent forearm movements beyond the basic wrist curls?


Another, more flattering photo.


cable reverse curls


Cable hammer curls are also killer, especially one arm at a time holding both sides of a rope handle in one hand. Basically a thick grip hammer curl.

Other options: Standard dumbbell hammer curls and/or pinwheel curls (a.k.a. crossbody hammer curls). Anytime you do a set of standard curls, immediately knock out reverse curls with the exact same weight (mechanical advantage work). You could also "tri-set" this by adding hammer curls after the reverse curls, again with the same weight.

You don't have to go crazy with a forearm specialization. Stick with wrist curls and add some neutral grip and/or reverse grip work into your arm day or back day. What're you doing for arms/biceps right now?


I do regular curls, hammer curls, and preacher curls for biceps, usually 8-12 reps for 3-4 sets.

Triceps I usually just do dumbbell tricep extensions for 5 sets of 12-15.

I'll at the very least throw in some reverse curls after my regular curls like you said.



Well my only problem with cable stuff, is that I have a home gym. So I don't have any machines. I have a plethora of dumbbells, but nothing I could use with cables.


Also, would something like reverse grip rows work well if I were to incorporate some kind of reverse grip into my back day?


Not a big problem. Do what you can. Reverse grip preachers would be another option. I'd also consider changing the rep range. Things like hammer curls or pinwheel curls put you in a good leverage situation to work heavier, something that's tough in the 6-8 rep range. Keep an eye on not using too much body English, but do try to move some weight.

If you happen to have Fatgripz or something to make the bar thicker (I'll sometimes put two bar pads next to each other on a barbell to fatten it up), that could also work. Using a thick bar for almost any exercise will increase the forearm/gripping work.

Ah, tricky situation where I probably should've clarified. Reverse-grip curls are done palms down, pronated. This increases the forearm contribution to the movement. Reverse-grip rows are done palm up, supinated, which increases the biceps involvement.

I meant to suggest finishing back day with some reverse-grip or neutral-grip curls, just a few sets after the back work for the day is done. A reverse-grip row could be good for more general arm involvement, but wouldn't necessarily hit the forearms a ton better. Though neutral-grip rowing/pulling does seem to bring more forearms into the action.


Makes sense, I'll definitely add something like that then. I'll also see if I can jury rig some kind of fat grip to help. Thanks a lot for the help.


could get some bands -good overall addition fora home gym anyway

x2 on fat gripz also especially the orange ones


I can't bench press anymore without fat gripz or else I get crazy forearm pain. I feel it has been pretty beneficial to my forearm development, especially considering my inability to deadlift and my lack of any type of specific forearm training as of late. Basically what I'm trying to say is I recommend fat gripz.


I don't think your forearms are lagging behind the rest of your upper body. My general suggestion would be to continue getting bigger and stronger. Forearms develop slowly over time. That being said, pin wheel curls have always really helped my forearms.


IMO it's ok to cheat a little with these and go heavy.


You've got to rig your self up a wrist roller! You get all the benefits of wrist curls/reverse wrist curls in one exercise, not two. Plus it;s way easier to set up, and way more comfortable than balancing your forearms over your knees.

Reverse curls, hammer curls and hammer curls across the body (pinwheel curls? how have I never heard that before) are cool too.

For grip you can try to pick up your hex dumbbells up by the ends. Or do farmer's walks with your triceps bar.

Fat Gripz are really cool too. But I used cardboard and duct tape to make thick handles for years and years before I finally got a pair.


Aren't wrist rollers like the rope connected to a weight that you have to roll to lift the weight? Something like this?


Yes. I've also never personally seen someone with big forearms use one on a regular basis.


No, that's not a wrist roller. That's broom handle tied to some clothesline.

check out this guy

Notice how the "roller" is supported. That way you just roll, and work your wrists, not your shoulders. You can also use way, way, way more weight. Like 220 pounds, not like an old 5 pound exercises plate.

Pretty much every real grip guy uses a wrist roller, often.

Here's the wrist roller as an "event."


as we're going into more hardcore territory...


Since no one has said it yet, what about hang cleans and deadlifts, especially in a higher than typical rep range like 5-8? I'll actually get a forearm "pump" just from doing a set of 8 or so hang cleans. These movements load the forearms with a lot more weight compared to all the isolation stuff. Trap-bar deadlifts in particular hit the forearms well. A lot of people (including me) have gotten muscular forearms without ever doing a wrist curl.

And I'd agree with a previous poster that your forearms don't look like that much of a weakness anyway, so you might get a better bang for your buck in terms of training time incorporating useful compound movements like the above rather than adding a bunch of "forearm specialization", especially at your experience level.