It is a fact that most people who exercise for muscle mass concentrate on certain groups of muscles. Almost everyone at the gym pay the greatest amount of importance to developing their chests, shoulders, abs, and the upper part of their arms – biceps and triceps. Most people will also exercise their backs, mainly their upper backs. Most women, and those of the men who are more serious and more dedicated to muscle building workout, will work out their legs and behind as well.
With all this going on, it seems that one of the most important, most visible parts of the human body is often forgotten, neglected, or exercised too little – The forearms.
This is strange, when you think about it. It doesn’t make sense. A strong pair of muscular forearms is one of the most impressive things to see in a well-toned human body. So why is forearm exercising overlooked by so many?
There are two main reasons for that, in my view. One is people’s perception of priority. Chest, shoulders, abs, and biceps are looked at as the most important muscles to develop. The exercises that work on the m are the most popular, well-known to all amateur weight exercisers, and even to most non-exercising people.
The other is that many people who exercise believe their forearms are being exercised anyway, as a by-product of the other weight exercises they do. While this may be true to a certain degree, that’s a wrong way of thinking – it’s no reason to leave exercises intended directly for the forearms out. To clarify this, think about it this way – many of the exercises intended to develop the chest also develop shoulders and triceps as secondary groups of muscles. But you don’t see people leaving their shoulder exercises out of their workout because of that.
So developing forearm muscle is important. How do you do that? Here are a few ideas for forearm exercises at the gym:
- Reverse barbell curl – this is a lot like the regular barbell curl which exercises the biceps, only this time the bar is gripped from above, not from below. That way, the load is less on the biceps and more on the main muscle of the forearm, the brachioradialis. Try not to move your elbows, as they are the axes of the movement for this exercise, and keep your lower back still. This exercise can be done standing, or sitting on a “preacher’s bench”.
- Wrist barbell/dumbbell curl – in this exercise, the only moving parts are your wrists. Your forearms need to be rested, either on your thighs in a sitting position, or on a flat bench that your kneel in front of. Your wrists need to stick out just barely past your knees, or past the other end of the bench. Hold the barbell, or the pair of dumbbells, from below, and curl them up and down using only the wrists. This is a great exercise for a group of muscles responsible for exactly that – flexing your wrists.
- The final idea for now is for two groups of muscles known as pronators and supinators. These are the muscles responsible for rotating your forearms around like a screwdriver. To get the hang of what these muscles do, stand up straight with your elbows against your sides, the forearms in a right angle forward, and the palms of your hands facing each other. Now rotate your forearms so that your palms face down. Your forearms are now pronated. If you rotate your forearms the other way, so that your palms face up, your forearms are supinated. A great exercise for these muscles is lying down on a mat on your side, with the bottom arm (the non-exercising arm) supporting. The other arm should be rested on your hip with the elbow bent at a right angle, so that the forearm points forward. The hand of that arm holds the dumbbell. Now rotate your forearm, so that the dumbbell turns around itself. The end points of the movement should be the thumb pointing up at one end, the pinky pointing up at the other.
Exercising the forearms is something that is often not being paid much attention to, but thorough exercisers who take their workout seriously will never skip.