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Straight-Up Forearms Workout

Stop neglecting half of your arms. Get thicker forearms and a stronger grip with this brutal routine.

Eric Fleishman

You can see them in gyms, hanging out of sports cars, or perched atop armrests as you walk the aisle of a commercial jetliner. they’re the key to possessing an iron grip and a bone-crushing handshake. their size and density help define the masculinity and blue-collar work ethic of a man, yet the forearms are often not directly targeted in many workout regimens. Well, dust off that can of spinach in the back of your kitchen cabinet, because M&F is about to inject some serious forearm action into your program and bring out your inner Popeye.

The Routine

The forearms serve a number of duties. Not only do they flex and extend the wrists, but perhaps more important, they contract statically (along with the muscles of the hands) to assist in gripping heavy objects. It’s easy to see, then, how a weak pair of forearms could be the limiting factor in possessing elite-level strength. They also round out a top-level physique. If your grip is lacking, so too will be the amount of weight you can use on deadlifts, rows, weighted pullups, and other measures of brute strength. Guess how many successful strongman competitors have a weak grip: zero. Same goes for the top competitors in the IFBB—you got ’em or you can’t win.

The following workout addresses all of the aforementioned duties. Wrist flexion and extension is covered in the first two exercises with curling motions, as is the brachiolradialis muscle, which sits up close to the elbow, via reverse curls. Plate pinch holds are an isometric exercise designed to provide grip strength that will carry over to other gym exercises as well as athletic activities. The finisher is a traditional wrist roller that involves continuous wrist extension with a front deltoid isometric hold.

Exercise Sets Reps
Barbell Wrist Curl 3 12
Barbell Reverse Curl + Reverse Wrist Curl 3 10-15
Plate Pinch Hold 3 20-30 seconds
Wrist Roller 2 Full Length of Chain*

* Up and down

The Basics

➜Insert this forearm routine at the end of any regularly scheduled workout, or do it on its own on an off day.

➜ Keep rest periods brief during the workout—60 seconds max between sets. the routine shouldn’t take more than around 15 minutes to complete.

See how to perform the moves on the next page >>