Ah…forearms, have you trained them this week? I bet you haven’t, how about this month? No? How about this year then? Doubtful!
The forearm may be the most neglected body part we have alongside the neck. I can hear the objections to my observation already;
“I don’t need huge forearms I’m not bodybuilding”
“The forearms get worked when you do your pulling exercises”
“Neck? Who the hell trains neck?”
Okay, the third one is for another time perhaps but the first two objections hold some worth. No, huge forearms may not be a goal for someone who is not a mass packer (it’s a real term!) And yes, you will work your forearms when you do your pulling exercises but let me put another question to you.
How often during a dead lift have you used wrist straps? Pull Ups? For that matter, how often do you use straps for any pulling exercise?
Okay, how many times have you not been able to complete a rep because your grip has given out on you? Plenty I bet, if not, train heavier!
The forearms are responsible for ensuring you have a vice like grip on your weight and a infallible hold on the pull up bar. The largest muscle in the forearm is the brachioradiallis; if you put your arm out straight out in front of you and clench a fist as hard as you can you will see the brachioradiallis tense up. This is the muscle you wish to build. Massive forearms may not be the goal but you should want to have a complete strong and healthy body. If you need straps to complete reps or dead lift a bigger weight then you know that your weak point is your gripping strength and you should be looking to remedy that situation!
A strong grip is essential in a huge array of sports and will do wonders for your regular training as well. So I’ll follow this up with a few training ideas that will help you on your way to a stronger, weak link.
A simple exercise to do and can be slapped onto the end of any day of training. All you do is wrap your hands around a pull up bar, lift your feet off the ground and hold on tight! Complete this exercise for 3 sets of time (3 sets of 30secs for example)
Once this becomes too easy for you, you can add a rolling grip to increase the challenge. Open up your hands while hanging from the bar so that you are hanging by your fingertips, then close your hands back into a fist.
This is done with a barbell. The standing variation is to stand with a barbell in your hands with your palms facing away from you, arms hanging down in front of you. Open your hands and let the barbell slip down your hands into your curled fingers. From here, close your hands back into fists then move your hands so that your palms are now facing up towards the ceiling. Your elbows should not bend during the exercise.
The seated version is identical, the only difference being that you are sat with your elbows resting on your knees. So your forearms will have a 45 degree angle to the floor.
Finally, if you have some spare cash knocking around. Get yourself a set of “hand-grippers”. Do some research on them and I promise you’ll be amazed!
So there you have it. A quick and easy guide to developing what I would bet money on, is the most undeveloped part of your physique!
Strength & Conditioning – Aaron Moody