10 Best Forearm Exercises & Workouts For Men

Best Forearm Exercises

Every man who exercises – and even men who don’t – know a little something about the big muscle groups. With exercises like bench press, deadlifts and squats, you’re probably thinking about the likes of your biceps, quads, glutes, pecs and abs. However, to ensure you’re developing your strength and fitness in a well-rounded and holistic way, the best forearm exercises will form a key part of your overall strength.

Most men only focus on those large muscle groups, with training that often entails cutting fat and building these bigger muscles to achieve a sculpted, chiselled look. But to truly get a full-body transformation, you also have to hone in on those smaller muscle groups, including those in your forearms.

To get the best results, you need to know what the best forearm exercises are, so we pulled together ten of our favourites for your next visit to the gym.



Best Forearm Exercises Overview

  1. What Are The Different Forearm Muscles?
  2. Why Are Forearm Exercises & Workouts Important?
  3. Palms-Up Wrist Curls
  4. Palms-Down Wrist Curls
  5. Farmer’s Carry
  6. Trap Bar Carry
  7. Plate Pinches
  8. Backwards Cable Curl
  9. Bottoms Up Clean to Rotation
  10. Pull Up Bar Hang
  11. Hammer Curl
  12. Towel Pull-Up

Best Forearm Exercises

RELATED: 10 Best Shoulder Workouts & Exercises For Men

What Are The Different Forearm Muscles?

Whenever you’re training any muscle group, it’s always a good idea to get at least a basic grasp of its anatomy. The more you know, the smarter you can train. So, before we dive into the best forearm muscle exercises, let’s look at the forearm as a muscle group.

The forearm has more individual muscles than any other large muscle group, which all have complicated latin names like the extensor carpi radialis longus, flexor carpi radialis, extensor carpi radialis brevis, flexor digitorum superficialis, flexor carpi ulnaris and extensor carpi ulnaris. To put it a little more simply, there are a total of 20 muscles, which are categorized into three different layers:

  • Superficial
  • Intermediate
  • Deep

Some experts will also divide the forearm into the anterior compartment and posterior compartment, or in other words, the inner arm and outer arm. In simplest terms, the anterior (the inner arm) muscles are the wrist and finger flexors, which allow you to bend your fingers. This portion of flexor muscles also contains the well-known carpal tunnel.

The posterior (the outer arm) muscles include the wrist extensor muscles, which are responsible for extending the fingers and the wrist. Both the anterior and posterior portions of the forearm contain superficial, intermediate, and deep muscles.

Best Forearm Exercises

Why Are Forearm Exercises & Workouts Important?

When you understand how the forearm muscles operate and what they do, you quickly realise that they are vital in training the upper body and, in some cases, the low body. Basically, the stronger your forearms are, the better your grip strength will be.

Just think about how critical your grip strength is to your overall training. If you want to curl heavy dumbbells, you need strong forearms. You need excellent grip strength if you’re going to max your deadlift personal record.



You may build your back and shoulder blades enough to handle 100 pullups, but you’ll never hang on long enough to get there if you have poor grip strength. In short, forearm strength is one of the many crucial building blocks to a strong, well-rounded physique.

Top 10 Best Forearm Exercises For Strength And Stamina

Now that we’ve gotten through the technical details, we can get to the good stuff: the best forearm exercises. That’s why you’re here, after all.

Below we have ten different forearm workouts that will help you train and strengthen your forearms. Not only can these forearm exercises help you improve grip strength, but they can also give you a more toned and muscular appearance with time and consistency. Let’s get into it.

1. Palms-Up Wrist Curls

A palm-up wrist curl is one of the simpler forearm workouts that require minimal equipment and no complicated movements. All you need for these dedicated forearm exercises is a set of dumbbells and either a chair or a bench.

How to Do It:

  1. Sit on the bench or chair with both feet planted flat on the ground, forming a 90-degree angle at the knee.
  2. With a dumbbell in each hand, rest your wrists on your knees and your outer forearm on your thighs, palms facing up.
  3. Slowly raise both hands towards your inner forearm without lifting your wrist from your knees. Flex them as far as possible, pause briefly, and then slowly release them back down. That’s one rep.

Workout:

You can perform this type of dumbbell wrist extension exercise two to three times per week. Start with three sets of ten repetitions at a weight that challenges you but allows you to maintain proper form.


2. Palms-Down Wrist Curls

Best Forearm Exercises

A palm-down wrist curl is similar to a palms-up wrist curl, except you turn your wrists so that your palms are now facing down. This forearm exercise works the outer muscles of your forearm, while the palms-up variation focuses on the inner muscles.



You will need two dumbbells and a chair or a bench for this exercise.

How to Do It:

  1. Sit on the bench or chair with both feet planted flat on the ground, forming a 90-degree angle at the knee. 
  2. Take a dumbbell in each hand and place the inner part of your arms on your thighs with your wrists on your knees. 
  3. Slowly raise your hands as high as you can, flexing at the wrist without lifting your arms from your legs. Pause briefly before slowly releasing back down. That’s one rep. 

Workout:

You can perform palms-up wrist curls two or three times weekly. Start with three sets of ten repetitions, using a weight that challenges you while letting you maintain proper form.


3. Farmer’s Carry

10 Best Forearm Exercises & Workouts For Men

The farmer’s carry is a very common workout often geared towards overall body stability, as it helps you develop a stronger core – among other things.

But this workout also lets you work on your forearm strength by challenging your grip. It’s easy to perform and requires a set of heavy dumbbells or kettlebells.

How to Do It:

  1. Grip a heavy dumbbell or kettlebell in each hand with your arms straight and stand up straight as your starting position. 
  2. Brace your core, chest, and shoulders and begin walking towards your desired endpoint, maintaining good posture and gripping the weights tightly. 

Workout:



There are a couple of different ways to approach these forearm workouts. First, add it to the end of any workout as a finisher, walking on a track or up and down a hallway for ten minutes.

Alternatively, you can perform this workout in sets. Perform three sets of 20 yards each, resting as needed in between.

Use weights that challenge you but allow you to hold on for an entire set while maintaining good posture and core stability.


4. Trap Bar Carry

The trap bar carry is a variation of the farmer’s carry, which is incredible for forearm strength training, but dumbbells and kettlebells often have very limited weight ranges. If you have access to a trap bar, you can increase your weight exponentially to push your limits.

How to Do It:

  1. Load your trap bar with your desired weight.
  2. Stand inside the bar and grip the handles, standing straight up into the starting position.
  3. Bracing your core, chest, and shoulders, begin walking according to your workout structure. Maintain a good grip and tall posture as you walk.

Workout:

You can perform a trap bar carry workout just like a farmer’s carry workout. However, a heavier weight may make it more challenging to finish off with a ten-minute burner. Therefore, we recommend splitting this exercise into three sets of 20 yards before returning to the starting position.


5. Plate Pinches

10 Best Forearm Exercises & Workouts For Men

Plate pinches are not only excellent for training your forearms, but they also help build strength in smaller muscles like your fingers and thumbs. All you need is a weight plate to improve your pinch grip.



How to Do It:

  1. Choose a weight plate ranging from 10 to 15kgs.
  2. Stand upright and hold the plate at your side, elbows tucked and slightly bent, using just your fingers.

Workout:

Add this easy forearm workout to any arm or upper body workout, as it works a treat without requiring any wrist flexion. Perform three sets for 25 seconds each for each arm. If at any point you can hold the weight for longer than 30 seconds, choose a heavier plate.


6. Backwards Cable Curl

10 Best Forearm Exercises & Workouts For Men
A backward cable curl is demonstrated using a barbell.

The backward cable curl or reverse curl is the perfect workout to add to your bicep or pull day if you have access to a cable machine. Not only does this exercise work the bicep, but it also thoroughly engages the forearm to tone and strengthen both at once.

How to Do It:

  1. Using a single handle attachment on a low cable pulley, grab hold with your back to the machine and take a few steps forward.
  2. Position one foot directly underneath you and the other foot back slightly until you are in a stable and comfortable starting position.
  3. Start with your arm angled slightly behind you and slowly curl your arm, bringing your hand to your shoulder.
  4. Pause at the top before slowly releasing down again. This is one rep. 

Workout:

Add this reverse curl forearm exercise to your upper body, pull, or arm workout. Perform three sets of ten reps per arm. Use a weight that challenges you but allows you to maintain proper form. 


7. Bottoms Up Clean to Rotation

Building strong forearms is not a particularly exciting activity. You may even find many of these workouts pretty dull. If that sounds like you, then the bottoms up clean to rotation is one of the best forearm exercises to spice things up a little bit. What you’ll need is a set of small kettlebells or dumbbells. 



How to Do It:

  1. Place both knees on the ground, positioning your spine straight and your core tight. 
  2. Grip one kettlebell or dumbbell in each hand and let them hang at your sides.
  3. Swing the weights slightly backward, bending slightly at the hips, and then use your arms and momentum to bring the weights forward and upward, bending at the elbow.
  4. Keep your wrists straight and lift until your elbows reach the 90-degree point and the kettlebell upside down with palms facing forward. Your triceps should be parallel to the ground and weights balanced at the top near your face.
  5. Pause at the top of each clean, rotate your wrist in and out, and then let your arms drop into the next clean rep.

Workout:

Perform this exercise across three sets with ten repetitions per set. Use a weight that challenges you but does not impede form or cause discomfort, especially in the lower back. 


8. Pull Up Bar Hang

A pull up bar hang is another one of the best forearm workouts because it’s straightforward and builds strength, and muscular forearms, as well as focuses on increasing the stamina of the muscle group. They also benefit your lat muscles, so you can tack them onto any arm or back workout.

How to Do It:

  1. With your arms and hands shoulder-width grip apart, grab hold of a pull-up bar using an overhand grip. A shoulder-width grip is essential to getting the most out of the exercise.
  2. Hang on the bar without wrist flexion, arms fully extended and feet off the ground, for as long as you can. 

Workout:

Though this workout seems easy, most men will be surprised at how quickly their grip gives out under their full body weight, especially at a shoulder-width grip. Perform three sets, each time holding onto the bar for as long as you can.

Try timing your sets the first time you try this exercise to set your minimum goal and focus on beating that time during each future set.


9. Hammer Curl

The hammer curl is simple to perform because of its innate similarity to standard bicep curls for the upper arms. However, this exercise is ideal for adding to any bicep or upper body workout, as it works both the upper arms and the forearms.

How to Do It:

  1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, and turn your wrist inward to face each other. 
  2. Stand with your legs hip-width apart and arms close to your sides. Your elbows should be under your ribs.
  3. Perform alternating curls in this position, bringing the dumbbell up to your shoulders by bending at the elbow and flexing the bicep.
  4. Pause briefly at the top of the rep and slowly return the dumbbell to your side. This is one rep.

Workout:

Hammer curls are generally easy to perform thanks to the elbow flexion they demand, making it a great forearm exercise. Aim to do three sets of 20 total or ten reps per arm in an alternating method.


10. Towel Pull-Up

Pull-ups themselves test and train your grip strength and forearm strength, but adding a towel increases the difficulty and challenges your forearm muscles further.

How to Do It:

  1. Wrap a long bath or beach towel and loop it over a pull-up bar.
  2. Grip the towel with both hands around the middle.
  3. Perform a pull-up while gripping the towel, focusing on slow movements and maintaining a solid grip.

Workout:

This forearm workout is most effective when you work to failure. Perform three sets of pull-ups, continuing each set until your grip strength gives out.

You can also perform this exercise using two towels – one per hand. This option allows you to adjust the width of your arms and target different areas of the back while also working on your grip.

Best Forearm Exercises Final Thoughts

Although forearm strength is essential to most of the workouts we perform regularly, it often gets forgotten. Your forearms will naturally receive a workout anytime you engage them, but targeted training can help you improve grip strength and the appearance of your upper arm too. Incorporate a few of these best forearm exercises into your routine to reach your fitness goals.


Best Forearm Exercises – Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best forearm exercises for men?

The best forearm exercises to help build strength are palms-up wrist curls, palms-down wrist curls, farmer’s carry, trap bar carry, plate pinches, backwards cable curl, bottoms up clean to rotation, pull up bar hang, hammer curl and towel pull-up.

How do I make my forearms bigger?

Like any muscle group, it really helps if you understand the specific anatomy of the forearm muscles. Once you do, work consistently and train smart while maintaining a balanced diet with plenty of protein.

Should I train my forearm muscles?

Yes. Training your forearm muscles will help with various activities and vastly improve your grip strength, which will, in turn, help you with many day-to-day activities as well as lead to better health in general.