Before the advent of biceps flexing to show off arm strength and development, the forearms were considered to be a chief indicator of great strength. Massive forearms were the benchmark of primordial power.
Old school weight trainers usually sported forearms ridged and corded with muscle and these old time strongmen were generally endowed with massive grip strength to match.
There are good reasons as to why strong forearms are so important. As athletes we are only as strong as our weakest link. Regardless of how strong the rest of your body is, if your grip is weak it will be the limiting factor in the application of this strength. Hand and wrist strength is of paramount importance in the execution of the majority of lifting activity.
Build Massive Forearms
As far as muscular development of the forearm is concerned of course bone structure has a great influence on the maximum size attainable. Big boned endomorphs especially have a head start in this regard as their forearms are naturally big. Smaller boned individuals are often cursed with small forearms and struggle to attain any additional amount of meat on them.
For the natural trainee acquiring additional forearm mass is extremely difficult. As with the calves these muscles are extremely resistant to change.
Some chemically enhanced lifters will derive increased forearm mass merely from gripping a heavily loaded bar. Dorian Yates is on record as stating that his awesome forearm development was attained primarily from his gripping of the barbell during heavy back training. Natural trainees are not this lucky.
If trainees remain drug free attaining the additional mass they require on their forearms may remain difficult and illusive but certainly not impossible.
Beginners building their muscular foundation should initially focus on large compound movements anyway. They have no real business specialising on individual muscles at this stage. Later in their development trainees can include some direct forearm work if necessary. Keep in mind also that the forearms receive a significant amount of stimulation during curling movements for the biceps, as well as during pulling movements for the back.
Dependent on training goals direct training is not therefore a requirement for everyone.
The forearm contains a number of small as well as long muscles, These include flexors, extensors, pronators and supinators. Each of these muscles is responsible for the movement of the hand and wrist.
With regard to forearm growth potential the extensors on the outside of the forearm have more limited growth potential than the forearm flexors. The brachioradialis however is the largest muscle In the forearm and responds well to intense training. Bill Kazmaer’s development in this regard for example was incredible he sported a brachioradialis the size of a babies head.
In order to stimulate the brachioradialis muscle as effectively as possible and build bigger forearms, you need to concentrate on two main exercises: hammer curls and reverse curls.
The forearm wrist flexors situated on the inside of the forearm have good growth potential if they are trained in the correct manner. A well developed forearm when “goosenecked” effectively reveals the extent of their development.
The late Casey Viator, golden age bodybuilder sported some of the best forearm development I have ever seen, as did Gunnar Rosbo
As previously stated alongside the calves all these muscles are extremely resistant to change and in order to build massive forearms must be worked intensely to facilitate hypertrophy.
Use thick bars to build massive forearms
Conventional barbells and dumbbells have one-inch handles, but you can use thicker bars and axles to make the forearms work harder. Thicker bars provide a greater stimulus for your forearms to grow bigger and stronger.
Exercises To Build Massive Forearms
The following 6 exercises will optimise forearm development for even the most stubborn gainer:
Dumbbell Wrist Curl
This movement develops and increases the strength of the forearm flexors. In order to execute this movement grasp a dumbell and hang your wrist over the end of a bench. Using an underhand grip let the weight fall to the end of your fingers then bring it back to the starting position by flexing the wrist.
This is one of the best movements to build massive forearms that is great for the development of the forearm flexors. This motion allows you to work each forearm individually. This exercise can also be performed with a barbell using both hands over the end of a bench.
Standing Wrist Curl Behind Back
For the forearm flexors I like to do this with a thick bar or an axle but a standard barbell will suffice. Load a barbell with a weight that will enable around a dozen reps. Stand in front of the bar reach down and grasp it with palms facing down ie pronated. Stand erect. Commence the move by curling your wrists as high as you can, then let the bar roll to the end of the fingers and curl the wrist up again. Aim for at least 12 repetitions.
Reverse Barbell Curl
Just like the biceps and the brachialis, the primary function of the brachioradialis is to flex the elbow. However, the brachioradialis only becomes a primary elbow flexor when curling with your hands in a neutral position (midway between supinated and pronated) or facing down (pronated).
I prefer to choose a weight which allows me to get around 10-12 reps. Grab the barbell with your palms facing down Keeping your upper arms against your sides, simply perform a reverse curl (same motion as a regular barbell curl, Keeping your upper arms against your sides, your palms are facing away from you (pronated).
Do 3 sets with no more than 45 – 60 seconds of rest between each set.
This exercise primarily develops the brachialis and the brachioradialis. These are best performed using dumbells and are executed in the same manner as a standing dumbell bicep curl but the hand is in a neutral rather than supinated position.
Hang a towel over a pullup bar and grasp an end in each hand. Hang from the towel and then pull yourself up until your chin is above your hands. If that’s too difficult, simply hang from the towel for as long as you can
If you have access to strongman training equipment all well and good otherwise pick up the heaviest dumbbells you can handle and walk with arms at your sides. Go 40–50 yards in any direction to complete the distance. At the end of the distance, stop and continue to hold the weights for as long as your can.
If you wish to build massive forearms give these movements a try,