Forearms are one of the most difficult muscles to grow, but having strong forearms are a must for strength training. These often neglected muscles are crucial in developing a strong upper body. The extent in which you can grow your forearm muscles depends highly on your genes. Those with long forearms have a much greater chance of growing those massive forearms more than those with short forearm muscles.
The most important thing to remember about the forearms are that require a lot of work to grow. As with calves, you need to work with a high number of reps and heavy weights, you need to have great form and you need to train to failure (seriously to failure).
Heavy Weights and High Reps Are Needed to Get Massive Forearms
Go as heavy as possible with the weights while retaining perfect form. Remember that form is the key, so go as heavy as good form will allow. If you are looking for a specific forearm workout, check out our massive forearm workout.
Train Your Forearms to Failure
This is a big problem with some weight trainers. They do not like going to failure. If you fall into this lot, you will have a very difficult time growing massive forearms. While you can get away with this on some body parts (although I suggest that you always train to failure), the forearms need this extra work to grow these stubborn muscles.
Use Good Form
Form is the key on most body parts and the forearms are no different. Cheating on forearm training takes the focus off of these muscles, which is the opposite of what you are looking for. Good form ensures that the muscle stress is being targeted to the proper muscles.
Barbell Wrist Curl
I like doing barbell wrist curls with my knees on the ground and my forearms over the bench, but another method is to simply sit on the bench. Regardless of what feels more comfortable to you, you want to be in a seated position with your palms facing upward. Your hands should be (at the most) a half inch apart. Your elbows should be locked inside of your knees if you are sitting on the bench. Roll your hands upward and let the bar gradually roll into your palms. Slowly bring the weight back to your hands and return to the starting position. Squeeze your forearms throughout the entire range of motion.
Reverse Barbell Wrist Curl
Very similar to barbell wrist curls, the reverse barbell wrist curl takes the same starting position except your palms will face downward. Slowly roll the weight into your palms lifting the weight upward. Return to the starting position.
Reverse Cable Wrist Curl
An alternate type of reverse curl is to use a cable with a straight bar or ez-curl bar attachment. Using the low pulley, hold the bar with an overhand grip. Perform this curl as you would a reverse curl. Flex hard at the top, then lower the weight slowly.
Use a reverse grip (palms facing you) on the bar. Lock your elbows to your sides and slowly lift the bar toward your torso. You should stop when your forearms are completely contracted. Slowly let the weight bring your arms back to the starting position (down to your legs) while you squeeze your forearm muscles during the negative motion.
Reverse Preacher Curl
Place your arms over a preacher bench. Take a barbell and hold it with a reverse grip placing your hands shoulder width apart. Allow the bar to hang so that your arms are fully extended. Curl the barbell upward, then bringing the barbell up as far as possible toward your chin. Your position on the bench should be such that, at the top of the movement, your forearms have not come up completely to a perpendicular angle. Lower the weight slowly back down to the beginning of the movement.
As with the reverse curl and reverse preacher curl, this is another compound movement. Using dumbbells, and your palms facing inward, curl the weight while maintaining this position. Keep your elbows still and behind the body as you curl all the way to the top. Slowly lower the weight back to its starting position. Check out how I prefer to do hammer curls for the best response.
Any of the exercises above can be done with dumbbells or at an incline.