Builds arm pressure muscles

Effective forearm training for massive and strong forearms

Anyone who has ever lost their strength in their forearms in everyday life or during sports knows how important strong forearm muscles are for performance. In many sports, but especially in weight training, grip strength or strength in the forearms plays an important role. If there are deficits in this area, the athletic performance suffers enormously. The wrong way is to ignore this problem and come to terms with a workaround. This fatal mistake can often be observed in many fitness studios. Often attempts are made to cover up weak forearms with various aids. Pulling aids are a classic example in this context. Although pulling aids per se are by no means to be condemned, excessive use of this training equipment goes hand in hand with the risk of gradually worsening the problem of weak forearms. The consequences can be devastating. It is not uncommon for such behavior to be punished with massive performance losses and an increased susceptibility to injury.

But it doesn't have to come to that, because it makes more sense to specifically train weak forearms. With strong forearms, the times are a thing of the past when the fear dominates during training sets that the barbell will slip out of your hands. This guide therefore provides you with practical information on all aspects of forearm training. In this article you will not only find out why you should only use pulling aids very specifically, but also receive important tips and tricks to effectively strengthen the forearms. This also includes the idea of ​​exercises that enable effective forearm training at home.

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How are the forearm muscles built?

If you look at the anatomical structure of the forearm, you will be confronted with a multitude of muscles, nerves and vessels. This is hardly surprising, because after all, the forearm plays a key role in the extremely complex mobility of the hands. But the forearm not only plays an important role in controlling the hand and fingers, but also in the movement functionality of the upper arm.

When talking about the muscles of the forearms, a distinction is made between extensor muscles (dorsally located extensors), flexors (ventral flexors) and the radial forearm muscles. Furthermore, with regard to the extensor and flexor muscles, a distinction is made between a superficial and deeper muscle layer. The following forearm muscles are assigned to the groups mentioned:

Representatives of the radial forearm muscles:

  • Upper arm radial muscle (Brachioradialis muscle)
  • short radial hand extensor (Extensor carpi radialis brevis muscle)
  • long radial hand extensor (Extensor carpi radialis longus muscle)

Superficial layer of the extensor muscles:

  • ulnar hand extensor (Extensor carpi ulnaris muscle)
  • Finger extensor (Extensor digitorum muscle)
  • Little finger extensor (Extensor digiti minimi muscle)

Deeper layer of the extensor muscles:

  • long thumb spreader (Abductor pollicis longus muscle)
  • short thumb extensor (Extensor pollicis brevis muscle)
  • long thumb extensor (Extensor pollicis longus muscle)
  • Index finger extensor (Extensor indicis muscle)
  • Away from home (Supinator muscle)

Superficial layer of the flexor muscles:

  • round inward turner (Pronator teres muscle)
  • superficial flexor of the fingers (Flexor digitorum superficialis muscle)
  • long palm muscle (Musculus palmaris longus)
  • radial hand flexor (Flexor carpi radialis muscle)
  • Elbow-sided hand flexor (Flexor carpi ulnaris muscle)

Deep layer of flexor muscles:

  • square inward turner (Pronator quadratus muscle)
  • long thumb flexor (Flexor pollicis longus muscle)
  • deep finger flexor (Flexor digitorum profundus muscle)


While most of the muscles mentioned are probably unknown, the radial muscle group is one of the few known forearm muscles. This is the upper arm spoke muscle (Brachioradialis muscle), which is primarily known to many strength athletes. This easily visible muscle is located on the upper or outer side of the forearm in the immediate vicinity of the elbow. Bodybuilders in particular attach great importance to the visual development of this muscle, which can be achieved, for example, by hammer curls.

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What are forearm muscles important for?

In many sports it is important to be able to grip firmly and safely. For this, the grip strength or the strength from the forearms play a decisive role. A classic example is climbing, where strong forearms are essential. Gymnasts also rely on strong forearms in order to be able to perform at their best on horizontal bars, rings, parallel bars and the like.

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But strong hands and forearms also play an important role in weight training. After all, dumbbells and barbells must be firmly and securely gripped and held in order to perform strength exercises. Grip and forearm strength is particularly important for heavy basic exercises such as the deadlift or barbell row. Strong forearms are also required for many bodyweight exercises, as exercises using your own body weight are called. In practice, it is not uncommon to observe with the exercises mentioned that training sets have to be terminated prematurely due to weak hands or forearms. A problem arises that can not only significantly impair performance in competition (e.g. in powerlifting), but also ensures that training progress is limited (e.g. goal setting muscle building). After all, with a loosening grip during pull-ups, for example, it is not possible to tire the target muscles sufficiently or to confront them with muscle-building training stimuli. In addition, the training focus and concentration are enormously impaired if you always have to worry about the safe hold of the training weight during the training set. These are very important aspects that must be guaranteed for an optimal training effect. Targeted forearm training does not only make sense in terms of performance, because muscular forearms are also important for harmonious muscle development. This is particularly relevant for bodybuilders whose muscular development is judged on the competition stage by judges. But also non-competitive athletes who want to call their own muscular arms for aesthetic reasons have to force the development of the forearms.

Even if a strong and secure grip is not only influenced by strong forearms, this factor still plays an important - and above all influenceable - role. Genetic factors that are relevant in this context (e.g. the size of the hands), on the other hand, must be taken for granted. However, through effective forearm training, it is possible to strengthen the forearms and thus also the grip strength.

How should an effective forearm workout be designed?

It is well known that there are many roads leading to Rome and so there are various ways to train the forearms. On the one hand, there is the option of specifically working on the forearms with isolation exercises. In weight training, isolation exercises are exercises that essentially only work on one muscle. In the case of the forearms, the following isolation exercises are suitable:

  • Forearm curl with overhand grip (primary strain on the extensor muscles)
  • Forearm curl with underhand grip (primary strain on the flexor muscles)
  • Forearm curl with hammer grip

All of the above exercises are usually performed with dumbbells. Alternatively, there is also the option of performing the forearm curl with an upper or lower grip with a barbell or kettlebell.

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The exercises mentioned are also ideal for forearm training at home, which can be expanded with additional exercises. For a particularly varied forearm workout, the functional wrist roller has proven its worth. A weight attached to a rope is alternately wound and unwound, which results in an intensive load on the forearms. Training with dumbbells is an optimal addition, with which not only the muscles in the forearm, but also the grip and finger strength can be effectively trained.

In addition to the isolation exercises mentioned, numerous other exercises can also be considered. The Farmers Walk, for example, is an excellent exercise with which the forearms can be optimally trained. The Farmers Walk, which should be known from Strong Men Training, is, to put it simply, a walk with heavy weights. The exercise is comparable to carrying shopping bags, which is why the Farmers Walk also promises benefits in terms of functional fitness.

But that's not enough, because, as has already become clear in the course of this article, many classic basic exercises (e.g. deadlifts, pull-ups and barbell rows) also place great demands on the forearms. It therefore makes perfect sense to force the forearms to adapt by performing these exercises. Initially, the strength in the forearms is the limiting factor, which admittedly can be very unsatisfactory. Nevertheless, it is important to persevere at this point in order to achieve increased performance in the area of ​​forearm strength. After just a few weeks, there should be a significant improvement, which should raise the entire strength training to a new level of intensity. Of course, exercises for the upper arms also stimulate the muscles in the forearms. With the biceps exercise hammer curls, for example, there is the possibility to use the upper arm spoke muscle (Brachioradialis muscle) to address more.

In order to develop strong and massive forearms, you should always train with a high training intensity. Only if the forearm training is sweat-inducing and strenuous will it be possible to build up strength and muscle mass. A clue for a sufficiently high training intensity can, for example, be the achievement of muscle failure.

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What role do pulling aids play in developing forearm strength?

For an optimal development of the grip and forearm strength, pulling aids should be avoided if possible. Pulling aids are indeed very useful training equipment, but they are not suitable for inflationary use in training. Especially not when there are performance deficits in the area of ​​the forearms. Training with lifting straps, as pulling aids are also called, relieves the hands and forearms significantly and enables the use of higher training weights that could not be moved under normal circumstances. This allows a more intensive load on the target muscles, but at the same time promotes the weakness of the forearm muscles. For this reason, pulling aids should only be used in a targeted manner (e.g. during the last training set when the forearms strike or occasionally during particularly difficult training sets).



Why are strong forearms important?

Strong forearms are important because the force in the forearms has a significant impact on grip strength. A secure and firm grip plays a very important role both in everyday life (keyword functional fitness) and in many sports (e.g. climbing, gymnastics, weight training). Especially in weight training, weak forearms can significantly limit performance in many exercises.

Which exercises are suitable for forearm training?

The forearms can be trained with a variety of exercises. These include isolation exercises (e.g. forearm curls in the upper or lower grip) and multi-joint exercises (e.g. pull-ups, deadlifts). Forearm training with the wrist roller is particularly effective and varied.

How intense does the forearm training have to be?

Adaptations (adjustment processes) in the form of muscle building and performance enhancement can only take place if a supra-threshold stress stimulus was triggered during training. In order to achieve this, a sufficiently high training intensity is necessary. The training up to muscle failure is, for example, a relevant marker of the training intensity.

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