If you’ve been around the gym trenches, you have heard the term if you cannot grip it, you can’t rip it, and forearms play a big part in it. Forearm strength and endurance are critical in all grip-intensive exercises like deadlifts, chin-ups, and all row variations. The grip often fails before the intended muscle group trained is fatigued.
Forearm strength must be addressed and is a common weakness for many lifters. Because forearm strength and endurance are involved in many upper and lower body lifts, it pays to show them a little extra attention.
And stronger forearms mean more weight or repetitions on your grip-intensive exercise for more gains. Here we’ll dive into why the forearms are challenging to build, the benefits of training forearms, and four forearm exercises for your forearm flexing pleasure.
Why Are Forearms Hard To Grow?
Many forearm muscles, small and large, have varying fiber types, but most forearm muscles are slow-twitch dominant. Slow twitch dominant muscle groups like the forearms and calves are challenging to grow because they are endurance based because they rely on a steady supply of oxygenated blood to operate.
Another reason is genetics. A longer tendon and shorter muscle belly make the muscle harder to grow, while a shorter tendon and longer muscle belly make it easier. That you can blame or thank your parents for.
Benefits of Forearm Exercises
Let’s look beyond the vanity benefits to cover three vital benefits of strengthening your forearms.
- Living A Quality Life: When you train forearms, you directly train grip strength. Watch out when you don’t train grip strength, mainly when you are older. Because Grip strength is inversely associated with all-cause mortality—every 5-kilogram (11 pounds) decrease in grip strength was associated with a 17 percent risk increase in mortality.
- Improved Fitness In And Out Of The Gym: Muscular forearms are vital for a firm grip not only for grip-intensive exercises like pull-ups and row variations but also for activities of daily living. It would be best if you had your grip strength to open pickle jars and doors, hold the drinks, and carry the groceries in from the car in one trip. Because doesn’t everyone like pickles on their hamburgers?
- Improved Lifting Performance : Grip strength can be a limiting factor with grip-intensive exercises such as rows, carries, chin-ups, and deadlifts. Improving grip strength by strengthening the forearms means doing more reps with the same weight or more weight overall.
Forearm Training Tips
- Due to their slow-twitch dominance, training the forearms two to four times weekly in a higher rep range of 10 to 20 reps for three to four sets is advisable.
- Because many exercises rely on grip strength, using these four forearm exercises at the end of your training is best. You’re not fatiguing your grip and doing fewer reps on your compound exercises.
- It’s okay to train your forearms to failure, but doing so may affect your grip strength and training the next day. Save this in your back pocket when you can get plenty of recovery between sessions.
There are many exercises to strengthen the forearms, but the four below will give you more for your forearm buck. No cans of spinach are required.