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I’ve written about how to get bigger forearms before but let’s dive deeper into the training. As I stated, you need to smash forearms with lots and lots of volume. Also, they should typically be done after your arm work, because training your biceps and triceps first, will act to pre-exhaust to your forearms. And, you don’t want to have trouble holding onto the weights, which will happen if you hit forearms first in the workout.
Some of my favorite forearms exercises are barbell wrist curls with the bar on the edge of the bench and seated wrist curls with the bar under your legs as you sit off the edge of the bench. Two other favorites are EZ curl bar reverse curls and reverse wrist curls. These four simple exercises will add mass on your forearms like no others.
Strengthening the forearms in another matter. Having a strong grip is the definition of being a man and affects everything we do in the gym. If we can grip the weights tighter, we will be stronger and more stabile for whatever exercise we do. While there are a ton of grip strengthening exercises to choose from, I’ve found the more dynamic the movement, the greater carry over to your absolute grip strength. Exercises like high-rep Kettlebell swings, heavy side rows without straps, heavy barbell shrugs, rack holds (where you hit a rack pull off the cage and hold the weight as long as you can), and farmer’s walk variations; will turn your grip into a vise.
Recent research (Henschke, 2011) has shown that stretching, in fact, doesn’t really help with delayed onset of muscle soreness or DOMS; as much as we had previously thought. It still will crush you the next day and then hit the peak soreness around two days after that heavy workout – no matter how much you stretch afterwards.
With that being said, stretching as part of your comprehensive fitness program is really important to help you overcome another negative effect of training; restricted movement. As you recover and your muscles repair themselves, they shorten. Your movement becomes limited. Keeping your movement, especially as you get older, will make the difference between leading a fit life, or walking around with a cane.
Light activity, stretching, and mobility after a heavy session will keep your mobile, agile and hostile. These activities can be done in between your normal workouts in an extra 15-20 minute session. These “extra sessions” should include foam rolling, shoulder recovery work with a band, stretching, dynamic mobility, and breathing drills. You will recover fast and feel great. Being better recovered will also allow you to train harder when your next workout rolls around.
Below are two great routines; one to target the upper back and shoulders and one to open up the hips:
Awesome 3-Minute Shoulder Warm-up with a Band
Two Great Hip Mobility Drills
Henschke N and Lin CC. Stretching before or after exercise does not reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness. 2011. Br J Sports Med. 45: 1249-50.
Courtesy of Bret Contreras – http://www.bretcontreras.com
Meet the Lift Doctor
Jim Smith is a highly respected, world-renowned strength and conditioning coach. A member of the LIVESTRONG.com Fitness Advisory Board, Jim has been called one of the most “innovative strength coaches” in the fitness industry. Training athletes, fitness enthusiasts and weekend warriors, Jim has dedicated himself to helping them reach “beyond their potential.” He is also the owner of Diesel Strength & Conditioning in Elmira, NY.