Is there a more overlooked and underappreciated part of the body than the forearms? They play a role in almost every lift in the gym, to say nothing of everyday movements such as opening doors, steering, typing, texting, and shaking hands.

In sports—especially anything involving rackets, clubs, paddles, bats, or balls—forearm control is essential, providing both touch and force. LeBron James might have the most impressive biceps and triceps in the NBA, but it’s his forearms that provide the soft touch on his three-point shot and finesse behind his tomahawk dunk. Michael Phelps won 28 Olympic gold medals thanks in part to a freakish 6-foot-7 wingspan that’s three inches longer than his height, but his forearms let him pull through water unlike any other swimmer.

So while you’re probably hitting your forearms in pretty much any gym workout, it’s worth grabbing a pair of dumbbells and dedicating 30 minutes to target these unsung heroes of the upper-body musculature—which, by the way, also look damn good bulging through rolled-up sleeves.

How It Works: The 30-minute Forearms Workout Circuit

Unlike the calves, which many guys have trouble building, the forearms respond quickly to training, providing one of the better returns on investment of gym time. In this 30-minute dumbbell workout to build your forearms, we’ll hammer through four sets of these seven moves in a circuit fashion to produce maximum results. Rest only a minute between rounds of the circuit.

Pete Williams is a NASM-certified personal trainer and the author or co-author of a number of books on performance and training.

Muscular man doing arm exercises with a hammer curl

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