Our forearms are commonly overlooked when training in the gym or performing strength exercises at home. But did you know that this part of your arm is used in virtually every common, daily task? 

We use our forearms for driving, doing laundry, cooking, and more. Without our forearms, these movements would not happen with the fluidity that they do.

Forearm 101

The human forearm is made up of several small muscles. All of them work together in unison to allow you to flex, extend, and rotate your wrist.

Expert Tip for Forearm Exercises
It’s important not to overwork your forearms. Try to do these exercises four to six times a week, but give yourself at least one day of rest. Your muscles need this time to recover, replenish, and grow.

From a young age, you use these muscles unknowingly, by picking up objects and doing simple arm movements. That means your forearms develop natural strength and capability early on in life.

But training your forearms becomes more important as you get older. That’s because you are lifting more, doing more, and requiring more of your body.

Do I Need to Exercise My Forearms?

Setting some time aside to perform these exercises will allow you to prevent injury, lift more weight, and do more without exhausting your forearms.

For these reasons, it makes sense to work out the forearms several times a week in order to keep them substantial and strong.

Remember, our forearms help with many daily tasks and can rotate in a 360-degree motion. It’s important to perform several different motions with a dumbbell or weight to ensure that you’re engaging all of your forearm muscles.

What Equipment Will I Need?

No fancy gym equipment is required to reap the benefits of these exercises. You can use a filled water bottle, can of food, or other object that can be held in one hand. A 3- to 5-pound weight is recommended, but all of these moves can also be done without a dumbbell.

Here’s what you will need:

  1. Desired weight of choice (dumbbell, water bottle, etc.)
  2. A flat, stable surface with an edge (such as the edge of a table, edge of a bench, or edge of a counter)

Warmup

An extended warmup for your forearms is not necessary. But you should definitely rotate each wrist a few times in each direction. Rotate them up, down, and all around in order to get those muscles, tendons, and ligaments mobile and ready to work.

1. Palm Up Dumbbell Curl

Should I Use the Same Weight for Both Arms?
You might find that one of your forearms is stronger than the other. Be mindful of that, but try to exercise with the same amount of weight for each arm to balance out your forearm strength.

This move targets the anterior portion of your forearm ­— the interior veiny side.

  1. Start by resting your forearm on a flat, stable surface. Place the weight in your hand and keep your palm facing up.

  2. Extend your wrist toward the ground.

  3. In a slow and controlled motion, flex your wrist, bringing the weight toward the ceiling.

  4. Try to start with 15 reps, or repeat until your forearm feels fatigued and you struggle to do another repetition.

  5. Perform three sets on each arm.

2. Palm Down Dumbbell Curl

This move targets the posterior portion of your forearm.

  1. Start by resting your forearm on a flat, stable surface. Place the weight in your hand and your palm facing downward.

  2. Extend your wrist toward the ground.

  3. In a slow and controlled motion, flex your wrist, bringing the weight towards the ceiling. Try to achieve the greatest range of motion possible.

  4. Try to start with 15 reps, or repeat until your forearm feels fatigued and you struggle to do another repetition.

  5. Perform three sets on each arm.

3. Around the Clock Rotation

  1. Start by resting your forearm on a flat, stable surface. Keep the weight in hand and your palm facing upward.

  2. In a slow and controlled motion, rotate your wrist clockwise, and then back (counterclockwise) to the position you started in. All the way around and back counts as one repetition. Try to achieve the greatest range of motion possible.

  3. Try to start with 15 reps, or repeat until your forearm feels fatigued and you struggle to do another repetition.

  4. Perform three sets on each arm.

4. Hammer Motion Curl

  1. Start by resting your forearm on a flat, stable surface. Keep the weight in hand like you’re holding a hammer.

  2. Extend your wrist toward the ground.

  3. In a slow and controlled motion, flex your wrist, bringing the weight towards the ceiling. Try to achieve the greatest range of motion possible.

  4. Try to start with 15 reps, or repeat until your forearm feels fatigued and you struggle to do another repetition.

  5. Perform three sets on each arm.

5. Finger Dumbbell Curl

  1. Start by resting your forearm on a flat, stable surface. Keep the weight in hand with your palm facing upward.

  2. Extend your wrist toward the ground, letting the dumbbell roll all the way to the ends of your fingertips.

  3. In a slow and controlled motion, flex your fingers, then wrist, bringing the weight towards the ceiling. Try to achieve the greatest range of motion possible.

  4. Try to start with 15 reps, or repeat until your forearm feels fatigued and you struggle to do another repetition.

  5. Perform three sets on each arm.
Jessica Salyer