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ISSA, International Sports Sciences Association, Certified Personal Trainer, ISSAonline, Forearm Dumbbell Workouts to Improve Strength

Forearm Dumbbell Workouts to Improve Strength

Reading Time: 3 minutes 20 seconds


DATE: 2022-04-25

Training the forearm muscles provides numerous benefits. You might consider incorporating a forearm workout with the intent to get bigger forearms. Some clients may incorporate forearm training during arm workouts, simply for upper body strength or grip strength. 

Compound exercises like deadlifts, rows, chin-ups, and curls all work the forearms. So why should you dedicate specific workouts to training forearms only? Even though every strength workout includes forearm muscle recruitment, it doesn't mean you are targeting them enough to build strength. 

Let’s look at the importance of forearm training and explore dumbbell workouts for the forearms.

Basic Anatomy of the Forearm

The forearm is made up of two bones: the radius and ulna. The forearm muscle group includes twenty muscles. These muscles are distributed throughout the two parts of the forearm. It is split up into anterior and posterior regions.

The anterior part of the forearm includes popular forearm muscles like the flexor carpi ulnaris, palmaris longus, flexor carpi radialis, and pronator teres. There are more intermediate and deep muscles than just these. The posterior part of the forearm includes extensor muscles. 

One of the most popular posterior forearm muscles is the brachioradialis. It provides an aesthetic look to the forearm and is used in exercises such as a reverse wrist curl

When training the forearms, you must consider both the wrist extensors and wrist flexors. These primary muscle actions stimulate the forearm muscle group. Wrist extension involves bringing the back of your hand towards the top of your forearm. Wrist flexion involves bringing your palm towards your forearm. 

Forearm Dumbbell Workouts

Dedicating a training day to the forearms helps improve quality of life and fitness level. Building forearm strength not only improves grip, but also influences upper body strength and daily human movement. This leads to higher force production during workouts. 

During a forearm dumbbell workout, aim for 3 sets of 8-15 repetitions. Adjust as needed depending on the exercise and fitness level of you client.

Wrist Curl

Grab a set of light dumbbells. In the seated position, rest the posterior portion of your forearm on the top of your leg. Begin curling or flexing your wrists upwards. Do not lift your wrists or forearms off your legs. Lower your hands to the starting position and repeat. 

You can also perform reverse wrist curls. Instead, hold the dumbbells with your palms facing down. Rest the anterior portion of your forearm on the top of your legs. Both of these variations will help target the entire forearm. 

Farmers Walk

Grab a set of heavy dumbbells. Stand up straight, engage your back muscles and pull your shoulders back. Maintain your posture while walking for a set distance. Squeeze the dumbbells and keep a tight grip during the set. Farmers carry target the entire forearm and are effective at improving grip strength. 

Hammer Curl

Start in the standing position with a pair of dumbbells. The dumbbells should sit alongside the body with palms facing you. Begin curling up towards shoulder height without rotating your wrist. Slowly lower the dumbbells back down. Continue to keep your palms facing you. This exercise will target the biceps and if done properly the brachioradialis as well. It is effective for increasing strength and definition in key forearm muscles. 

Reverse Curl

Place one dumbbell in each hand. Keep your hands in front of your legs with your palms facing you. Begin to curl the dumbbell up in front of you while maintaining the same hand position. Keeping your palms facing you allows your forearms to control the exercise instead of the biceps taking over. 

Zottman Curl

The zottman curl is similar to a reverse curl. Hold a pair of dumbbells by your side. Begin curling them up towards your shoulders. Turn your hands so your palms face up as you lift. Pause at the top of the motion. Then slowly rotate your wrist, so your palms face down. Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position. The longer the eccentric contraction, the more forearm activation you achieve. 

Dumbbell Pinch Hold 

Place two dumbbells on the ground. Each dumbbell should stand upright, on one end of the weight. Grab each dumbbell on the end where the weight numbers are, not the handle. Pinch the ends of the weight and hold for time. You can also hold and walk for a set distance. The harder you squeeze with your fingers, the more your wrists and forearms activate.   

There are many forearm dumbbell exercises that are effective to incorporate into a workout. Forearm strength can also be achieved with other equipment and exercises. Check out these forearm exercises to implement more than just dumbbells. 

Learn about strength training, functional movements, building muscle, and so much more by enrolling in ISSA’s Certified Personal Trainer course. ISSA will get you certified in just weeks and set you up for success with our job guarantee!

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