One part of the body that many people forget about when working out is the forearm. Usually, most effective workouts manage to reach your forearm, which means that many people and trainers tend to end up overlooking dedicated forearm training.
However, this shouldn’t necessarily be the case. Focusing on the forearms can have numerous advantages. This includes bigger muscles and better muscle definition, which is essential for people trying to look their best and those involved in hypertrophy training. Other benefits include better grip strength, greater functional strength and movement, and more.
If you’re looking for help to get bigger and stronger forearms, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some tips to keep in mind when working on your lower arms.
Work on Your Grip Strength
Grip strength and forearms are directly proportional – stronger forearms mean better grip strength, but the inverse is also true. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science notes that better handgrip strength has a strong correlation to bigger forearms. It’s easy to understand why – when you’re working out your grip strength, you’re likely also working out your forearms.
Some ways to increase your grip strength include incorporating exercises that build up your grip, like farmer’s carries or farmer’s walks into your workout, using grip builders, and lifting heavy. Additionally, make sure to train your grip frequently, not just once in a while.
Get Enough Sleep
You’re probably wondering what sleep has to do with forearm size and strength. Well, that’s simple. Contrary to popular belief, muscles do not actually grow during workouts. As this article from Critical Body notes, they actually grow during recovery. Recovery has several components.
They include ensuring you’re consuming enough calories and proteins, making sure you’re not overtraining and getting rest days in your schedule, and are drinking enough water. Most importantly, it also means ensuring you’re getting enough sleep – at least 7-9 hours per night.
It’s not just your muscle growth that’s impacted by proper sleep. You also allow the rest of your body to recover, including your central nervous system (CNS). The CNS controls your reaction time and triggers muscle contractions, and a healthy CNS is a vital part of exercising properly.
Additionally, sleep helps with the release of numerous hormones, including cortisol and testosterone. These hormones produce protein synthesis, which is a crucial part of making certain muscles grow properly. In order to get good quality sleep, you should follow a routine and avoid screen time for at least an hour before you go to bed. If necessary, consider investing in sleep aids, such as blackout curtains, an air conditioner to help with room temperature, and a better quality mattress.
Stick to a Routine
While changing workout routines can help improve muscle strength, you shouldn’t do it every week. After all, if you change up your routine too often, your body doesn’t have the opportunity to get the most out of each exercise.
How often you’ll change your routine will depend on your fitness level, how close you are to meet your goal, and so on. However, in general, it is recommended that you stick to a routine for at least 6-8 weeks before changing things up. That said, if you find you’re still benefitting from a particular exercise or routine, it’s perfectly fine to keep going until you stop seeing gains.
Keep in mind that routine changes don’t need to be drastic. They can be as minor as changing your grip style or as significant as a complete overhaul of your schedule. The goal of varying your exercises is to prevent your body from plateauing and forcing it to adapt to changes, so if you feel like you’re hitting a wall with how much you can get out of a particular exercise, it’s time to change things up.
Exercises You Can Try
While each person’s routine will be different, depending on their needs and level of conditioning, here are some exercises you can try to build up your forearm strength and size. If you are training under a professional trainer, make sure to check with them before incorporating these suggestions into your routine.
Weight Carries: Carrying heavy objects can help you develop both your forearm strength and your grip at the same time. Some weight carrying exercises you can try include –
Farmer’s Carries: Hold a heavy-weighted object like a dumbbell, sandbag, or cinder block in each hand. Let your arms rest at your side, making sure your palms are facing in. simply start walking back and forth in a straight line until you get tired, at which point, stop, put the object down, rest for a few seconds, and resume.
Pinch Carries: Grab a couple of weight plates and pinch your fingers together through the holes in each plate. Using two plates challenges your muscles and allows you to focus on your finger and grip strength.
Bodyweight Exercises: A great option if you’re working out at home, without access to much equipment.
Fingertip Push-Ups: These are regular push-ups, only you’ll be balancing yourself on your fingertips and not your palms. They help work both your wrists and your forearms.
Crabwalk: Keep your hands under your shoulders, and ensure your fingers are pointing towards your feet. Balance yourself in a reverse position, and start walking back and forth.
Work With Your Hands: Don’t have enough time to dedicate to working out and nothing else? Don’t worry. Labor-intensive activities like gardening can help you strengthen both your arms and hands. Other options you can try include woodworking, chopping wood, and so on.
Rock Climbing: If you’re looking for a fun alternative to traditional gyms, this is the option for you. Rock climbing can help you build your upper body strength, including your forearm and grip strength. Additionally, it’s great fun, and you’ll likely find yourself picking up a new hobby after a couple of classes – what’s not to love?
Building forearm strength and size isn’t necessarily a complicated process. However, like all workout-related goals, it requires dedication and hard work from your side. If you’re looking to get bulging forearms and a strong grip, follow the advice we’ve laid out, and we’re sure you’ll start seeing a difference soon!