Let’s face it, most people give about as much thought to their forearm training as Roger Goodell does to public opinion about his job performance or Kim Kardashian does to … well, any-thing other than Kim Kardashian.
But clueless sports commissioners and self-absorbed reality-show divas aside, for fitness buffs, such a careless dismissal of this smaller yet critical bodypart can have a very negative impact on one’s physical development. It’s not just about building complete arms, either: Weak forearms not only directly affect how much you can pull on back day but can also compromise your performance during any lift that requires you to firmly grasp a barbell or dumbbell.
Now, unlike America and its often-scorned pop-culture icons, we’re not here to judge you. If you’ve conven-iently forgotten about your forearms up to this point, we’d instead like to help you rectify the oversight, starting with this once-a-week, four-exercise regimen. It can be tacked onto the end of any workout but pairs especially well with back, shoulders, chest, or triceps and biceps.
Standing Behind-the-Back Wrist Extension
20, 15, 12, 10
Reverse-Grip One-Arm Cable Wrist Extension
10-15 per arm
Plate Pinch Farmer's Walk
1. Standing Behind-the-BackWrist Curl
Set up a barbell on the pins of a power rack at about hip level. Facing away from the bar, back up so that you can grasp it with both hands just outside shoulder width with a palms-facing-back grip. Lift the bar off the pins and take a step for-ward, elbows straight and arms down so the bar rests across your glutes. From here, moving only at your wrist joints, curl the bar as high as you can, then lower it, allowing the bar to roll toward the ends of your fingers before curling it up again. If you reach failure, simply bend your knees to set the bar back down on the pins.
2. Reverse-Grip One-Arm Cable Wrist Extension
Grasp a D-handle attached to the upper pulley with a palms-up grip and bring your arm down to your side, elbow slightly bent so your hand is just in front of your hip. From here, moving only at the wrist joint, pull the handle down as far as you can, then allow it back up under full control. The range of motion is small, but you should feel the action in the muscles running along the top of your forearm. Repeat for reps, then switch sides.
3. Plate Hammer Wrist Curl
Kneel alongside a flat bench and lay your forearms across it, holding a weight plate at the 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock positions, or the 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock positions if you are stronger. Move your wrists up and down to lift and lower the plate. For most people, a good place to start would be 25 pounds.
4. Plate Pinch Farmer’s Walk
Grasp and hold two plates between your fingers and thumb — smooth sides out if it’s the type of plate with one smooth side — one set in each hand. Start walking across the gym, grasping the plates for as long as possible. If the gym is crowded, you can stand still while holding the plates or introduce movement like a squat, which makes it harder to maintain your grip.