So what is the secret to programming effective forearm workouts? First you must realize that the forearms and the grip work together, and then plan your training accordingly. It is hard to develop a massive pair of Popeye forearms without having a very strong grip. Or to put it a simpler way, if your grip sucks your forearm development will be limited
The best workouts for forearms will target the muscle bellies of the lower arm while also working grip strength. Addressing a weak grip lays the foundation for adding large amounts of muscle mass to the forearms. Not only that but a weak grip could be holding back the progress of other larger muscles such as lats, traps, and biceps. If your grip gives out before you have sufficiently stimulated the target muscle then your muscle growth (ie. progress) will be restricted.
LOSE THE STRAPS!
How do people keep a weak grip from slowing down their progress on pulling movements? They purchase lifting straps, and artificially increase their grip strength. Considering you are here on this page, you have to be searching for a better way. Think of the amount of forearm muscle that you would build if you fixed your lagging grip, and avoided using straps. This is similar to someone only doing partial bench press reps (you know who you are) because they lack strength off the chest. Imagine how much more muscle fiber they could stimulate if they fixed their weakness.
DON’T LET A WEAK GRIP HOLD YOUR FOREARM WORKOUTS BACK!
So what are some good exercises for building a vice like grip? Some you may have seen before, others you may have never heard of.
- Fat Bar Partial Deadlift.
- Farmer’s Walks
- Sledgehammer Swings
- Hex Dumbbell Holds
Fat Bar Partial Deadlifts: This is a very effective exercise for developing grip strength as well as packing on size to the forearms. If you do not have access to a fat bar, you can use a pair of FAT GRIPZ. Place the bar in a power rack behind you. Take a double overhand grip just outside of your hips. The bar should be positioned so that you only have to move is a few inches to lock it out. The double overhand grip behind you insures that you cannot leverage it against your body like you could if the weight was in front of you. After a few warm up sets, try a significant amount of weight for a predetermined amount of time. Always try to increase weight or time on these.
Farmer’s Walks: Very few commercial gyms have farmer’s walk handles. If you are unfortunate enough to train in a gym like this then you can substitute heavy dumbbells. To make the exercise even more challenging, again FAT GRIPZ can be used to increase the diameter of the handle. Pick and heavy weight, and carry it a predetermined distance. Always try to increase the weight, decrease the time it takes to cover the distance, or increase the distance.
Sledgehammer Swings: First you need a sledgehammer, 8lbs in enough to start, and you need something to strike with it. An old tire is a good option. Overhand strikes are a good place to start, but vary your strikes for complete development. Start with 30 seconds bursts of swings. Always work each side evenly.
Hex Dumbbell Holds: Find a pair of hex dumbbells. 20-30lbs is a good starting weight. Grab them by the end, and hold them for time. 30 seconds to 1 minute is a good place to start. Eventually you will get to a weight you physically cannot pickup because of the hex head size. At this point work to increase your time.
The bottom line is that you cannot develop a massive pair of forearms without first addressing your grip. Once you have increased your grip strength you forearm workouts will be even more productive.