Strong and big forearms for that matter, look good, sure, but they’re also incredibly important for strength sports, regular sports, and day-to-day life.
There’s something subtly captivating about big and strong forearms that often gets overlooked by beginner athletes, and it really shouldn’t.
Often times, big forearms relate to a strong grip, which is extremely important when performing movements like the deadlift, clean and jerk, snatch, and any other sport that requires one to grip something for success (think: hockey, lacrosse, baseball, etc).
In respects to lifting specifically, grip is something that is referred to as a limiting factor. A limiting factor is something in the weight room that the body cannot overcome and accomplish without a certain level of strength/training. For example, your back might be plenty strong to pick up the weight, but if your grip fails, then you’re limited to what your grip can withstand.
For that reason, we spend a lot of time at BarBend training and building our grip. Check out our four favorite grip building exercises below!
1. Farmer’s Walks
If you’re looking for a simple and dynamic movement to improve your core strength and grip
simultaneously, then look no further than farmer’s walks. This movement is awesome because it can be performed at every fitness level and the equipment farmer’s walks require is minimal. Another pro to farmer’s walks is that every type of strength and lifter can benefit from doing them.
Farmer’s walks can benefit a powerlifter’s grip on deadlifts, a weightlifter’s grip for clean and jerks, a bodybuilder’s grip for longer workouts, and the recreational athletes ability to carry weight and stabilize the core. Not to mention, this movement is also useful for improving forearm hypertrophy, as it’s a long duration exercise that requires a steady active contraction.
Check out this step-by-step breakdown of this movement in our farmer’s walk guide.
2. Hammer Curls
The second forearm exercise that is making our best forearms list is the hammer curl. This movement requires ample forearm strength to perform and can also improve strength and hypertrophy in the biceps. Similar to farmer’s walks, the hammer curl can be performed at any level of fitness for benefit. In addition, there are multiple variations you can perform with this movement, which include standing, seated, on an incline bench, using pauses, and much more. To target the forearms more heavily, we suggest adding pauses, controlling the tempo, and performing them strict.
Learn everything there is to know about this exercise with our hammer curl guide.
3. Towel Pull-Ups
Okay, yes, normal pull-ups and chin-ups can be great for the forearms, upper arms, and back, but what targets the forearms even more? Adding a towel to the mix. In addition to beefing up the forearms, towel pull-ups improve our hand’s ability to crush and grip objects, which are two forms of hand strength very useful for strength sports.
Towel pull-ups are also great because they’re free to use and add variety to what’s already a challenging movement. If pull-ups are slightly too difficult, then doing holds from a towel can also be useful for improving forearm strength and size.
Read about all of the benefits of towel pull-ups and how to perform them.
4. Suitcase Deadlift
The final forearm movement that makes our list is the suitcase deadlift. For many, this movement may look completely new, but we’re going to guess that won’t last for long. This movement is fantastic for multiple reasons and improving forearm size and strength are only one of the byproducts that come along with using this movement.
As the name states, the suitcase deadlift requires a lifter to pick up an object from the ground on one side of the body. Doing this requires a ton core stability, back strength, and coordination to maintain healthy lifting postures. On top of being useful for training the body unilaterally, this movement is also great for improving grip and forearm strength and size. To make the movement harder, you can use objects like barbells or perform holds at the top!
Read the full suitcase deadlift guide here!