18 exercises to make your forearm bigger and stronger

Forearm Workouts

Forearms are a very important part of our body when practicing Calisthenics. However, there is not always a specific workout routine dedicated to these muscles, for this reason we bring you a very complete collection of forearm workouts.

Why is it Important to Strengthen the Forearms?

This is not only the strength that we build up in our muscles with these workouts, but also the good it does for our joints, our wrists both when exercising and in our daily life are joints with which we work a lot even if our work is in front of a desk.

For this reason it is good that we dedicate some time to work the mobility and stretching of the wrists, in this way we will have a good support for many exercises and avoid common problems due to repetitive work.

Basic Forearm Workouts

1. Hanging in the Australian Hang Position

Forearm Workouts

This is a basic exercise, but not a simple one. In the “Aussie pull-up” or prone rowing position (palm of the hands as shown in the picture) we will hang using our fingers, this grip so that we do not generate so much friction and we have to make more effort with our forearms. If you feel that the exercise is too easy for you, you can try to remove one by one your fingers from the bar.

Also remember that the thicker the bar, the more work your forearms will have to do. Try with your legs bent, and if you want to increase the intensity, you can stretch them out completely. To further increase the difficulty of the exercise, keep one leg raised. The more advanced version would be the Front Lever (feet in the air).

2. Wrist Push-Ups against Wall (or Low Bar)

Forearm Workouts

In this exercise we will start with our hands resting on a wall with our palms, we will use the movement of the wrists and fingers to push the wall, once you feel very comfortable with this movement you can use lower objects on which you can lean like a table or one of the bars for funds that are usually not much more than a meter high.

3. Wrist to Wall Extensions

Forearm Workouts

This time we will also use the wrists and fingers to press the wall but with the back of the hand, to also exercise the upper part of our forearms. A more advanced version would be to perform it on the floor with knees supported, and later, the more difficult version, without supporting the knees (like a typical traditional push-up, but using the wrists).

4. Chair Lift

Forearm Workouts

Surely the name of this exercise may seem very strange, but I assure you that it will be very good for your forearms. The way in which you will lift the chair will be taking it by the front legs while you are lying face down in front of it, this more than for comfort, will be to have control over the movement of the chair and prevent it from falling abruptly.

Forearm Workouts

When holding the chair in this manner, it will depend entirely on the strength of your grip to keep it in the raised position off the ground.

Once you manage to do this movement, you can do repetitions by moving the chair back and forth to activate your forearm muscles even more. Of course the weight of the chair will be very important, try to use as light a chair as possible to start with.

5. Bodyweight Finger Rolls (Bodyweight Finger Rolls)

For this exercise we can use several common implements at home such as a broomstick and a couple of chairs, we can also do it at the gym with a bar and a couple of flat benches. What you will do is put the broomstick on the two chairs, so that you can take the broomstick in half as if you were going to do Australian pull-ups.

What you will do is take the stick with your fingers and wrap them around the stick until you have completely grasped it and your hands are on it, that’s why it’s important to hold on to a bar or broomstick that is not fixed.

Intermediate Forearm Workouts

6. Hanging from the Bar

This exercise although it looks simple, offers a challenge for your forearms, this time we will support all our body weight holding the bar, as in the previous exercise you can make the exercise a little more difficult and effective if we use only our fingers. You can also try using just a few fingers (you can take one off the bar at a time) or just one hand at a time as your strength increases.

7. Supination Swings

Forearm Workouts

In this exercise we will activate the forearms through the grip and the movement of the wrists, you will only have to hold on to the straight bar and swing slightly back and forth. It may seem very simple but after a few times you will be able to feel how it activates your forearms.

8. Prone Swings

Forearm Workouts

Very similar to the previous exercise, this time changing the grip we will work a little more the extensor muscles of the wrist, this is important, since the ideal is to work the muscles of the forearm, like any part of our body, in a balanced way.

9. Fingered Push-ups

Forearm Workouts

This movement is very similar to the push-up, the difference, and what makes it very good for the forearms, is that we will do it holding on to a low bar with a false grip (that is, the backs of the hands should try to be facing downwards), you will notice that you will depend on the strength you do with your fingers to not let go of the bar.

You can just hold that position or do your push-ups simultaneously.

10. Handrails

Forearm Workouts

That’s right, the handrails that we find in playgrounds or in many gyms are an excellent exercise for your forearms. You just have to pass it over and over again as many times as you can, of course, in the most controlled way possible and passing through each and every one of the bars.

Advanced Forearm Workouts

Before continuing with these more advanced exercises, I recommend you take a look at the following video with exercises and tips to strengthen your wrists:

11. Fingertip Push Ups (Fingertip Push Ups)

Forearm Workouts

One way in which the forearms are activated is with the movement of the wrists, so this movement will be doing push-ups with them. For this you can start in a push-up position or by resting your knees on the floor if you want to start with less difficulty.

The movement will consist of lifting the palms of the hands leaning on our fingers, that tension in the fingers also adds a lot of load to the forearm, so you will see that it is an excellent exercise.

12. Wrist Push Ups (Wrist Push Ups)

Forearm Workouts

This time we will do the opposite movement, for this you will start leaning on your knuckles, and you will get up straightening your fingers, a slightly more challenging exercise but very good for exercising the wrist extensors. You can start with your knees on the floor to decrease the difficulty.

13. Finger Rolls with Total Weight

Forearm Workouts

This time we will do the same finger movement as in the Body Weight Finger Rolls exercise, only this time we will be carrying our full body weight, taking into account that we are holding on to a low bar, the best option would be to maintain a Tuck Front Lever position with our knees bent while doing the movement. This exercise is very advanced, so be careful.

14. Pull-ups with Rods

Forearm Workouts

As you can see, when it comes to exercising the forearms, creativity is very important. For this exercise we will do pull-ups, but instead of holding directly to the bar, we will hold a rod in each hand and put them on the bar.

Controlling the bar so as not to fall will be our first challenge, once we achieve it. We can do the pull-ups. To begin with, you can use the rods on the bar to do Australian pull-ups.

15. Towel Pull-ups

Forearm Workouts

This time we will use another easy to get object to work on our grip strength, just use a short towel and leave each of its ends on one side of the bar. We will take the towel on each of those sides and do the pull-ups. If it’s a little difficult at first, you can work on the grip alone, holding it as long as possible.

Why the towel? This is because it has a volume and texture that forces us to make a great effort to keep hold of it, although it doesn’t let us slip easily. In addition, the position in which we have to take it forces us to make a lot of strength with our forearms.

Weighted Forearm Workouts

16. Reverse Curl

Forearm Workouts

With this exercise we begin to see some very useful exercises with free weights to work your forearms. The word “reverse” in this curl refers to the grip, since it is not the normal supinated grip to work the biceps, but will be in prone grip. As you may have already noticed, this grip in which the strength depends on the fingers is excellent for working the forearms.

17. The Farmer’s Walk

Forearm Workouts

You will have to lift the heaviest dumbbells you can handle, in an upright position, with your chest out start walking, if you are in an enclosed place you can walk in circles or in a figure eight pattern. About 50 meters will be enough. When you complete the distance stop and keep holding the dumbbells as long as possible.

18. Wrist Curl

Forearm Workouts

Sitting down, take a long barbell or dumbbells and rest them on your knees or on the same bench you are sitting on, so that your hands can bend and hang down, once in that position raise your hands only using your wrists and keeping your arms resting on your legs or the bench.

To produce a little more tension on your fingers, at the time of lowering slightly extend them so that the weight slips through them just a little, to prevent the bar from falling.

General forearm workouts

Any torso exercise will indirectly work the forearms. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t train with exercises that do train them directly, such as those mentioned above. Every muscle in the body is important. As the saying goes “you are only as strong as your weakest link”.

Arm Rings Workout

If you want to strengthen your forearms and your arms in general, take a look at the following routine. Here is a routine from my Strong Arms plan:

Increasing strength in forearms

At the beginning of the article I said that the muscles of the forearms are very important in our body, especially if we talk about Calisthenics, in addition to the aesthetic factor that I consider also important, the muscles of this portion of the arm are responsible for the movement of the wrists and fingers, so they are the ones that allow us to achieve grip strength on the bars, for example.

Sometimes when we do pull-ups or other exercises in which we have to hang on a bar, we stop not because of fatigue in our biceps or other muscles, but because we can not keep the grip longer, and I can say personally that it happened to me a lot in my beginnings in Calisthenics.