How do I Build Forearm Muscle?

Lori Kilchermann

When building muscle in a weight lifting routine, the average lifter does not intentionally build forearm muscle. The forearm is benefited from bicep exercises; there are ways, however, to build forearm muscle for the dedicated lifter. Using free weights and weight machines, performing specific exercises and implementing lifting techniques can build forearm muscle that may make the difference between a so-so body and an award-winning physique. Using reverse curls in a number of ways is a tried-and-true method of building forearm muscle mass and strength as well.

Some people use free weights.
Some people use free weights.

Beginning with a reverse curl, complete three sets of eight to 10 repetitions. Grasp the barbell with the palms facing toward the rear of the body. Slowly raise the weight from a standing position until the hands are in front of the shoulders with palms facing out. Slowly lower the weight until the arms are straight down and in front of the thighs. The best method to build forearm muscle will have the lifter squeezing the forearms as the weight is lowered. The weight should be the heaviest that the lifter can work with while still completing all three sets of repetitions. Make sure to rest for two to three minutes between each set.

Having your forearm in a cast can cause muscles there to weaken.
Having your forearm in a cast can cause muscles there to weaken.

The barbell wrist curl is also an effective exercise that can build forearm muscle. From a seated position, hold the barbell with hands placed approximately a thumb's length apart and allow the weight to roll out onto the fingers; then rotate the hands toward the floor at a 90-degree angle to the forearms with palms facing away from the knees. While squeezing the forearms, roll the hands back up to a 90-degree angle in the other direction until the palms are facing the lifter's chest. The barbell will naturally roll into the palms of the hands on the upward lift.

Another exercise to build forearm muscle is the reverse barbell wrist curl. This exercise is exactly the same as the barbell wrist curl, except the palms are facing down in the starting position and facing away from the lifter's chest at the finish. Again, the best way to build forearm muscle is to squeeze the forearm muscles as the weight is lowered. This exercise can also be completed using dumbbells. Many lifters feel as though more muscle can be developed and defined using the dumbbells instead of the barbells. As in all exercises, never attempt to lift more weight than can be comfortably lifted while completing the exercise.

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