Written by Andy Chasse’ in Exercise
Viewed by 107 readers since 06-15-2009
The proper methods of forearm training are still a mystery to most gym enthusiasts out there, even to the guys and gals that have been training since they were in middle school. It’s one thing to pack quality size onto the biceps, or triceps, or chest…but another task entirely trying to add even a quarter of an inch onto the forearms. Here’s the kicker though – the forearm complex comprises such a tiny area. Why, then, is it so difficult to induce growth of any kind?
Honestly, the forearm muscle group is very complex. It actually includes one larger muscle and a series of much smaller and seemingly insignificant muscles. However, these little muscles are far from useless. The large muscle referred to is the brachioradialis. It is found just below the biceps and primarily functions to flex the elbow. The brachioradialis is the major muscle of the forearm. Among the smaller muscles included in this group are the wrist flexors, wrist extensors, supinators, and pronators. As the names imply, the wrist flexors are responsible for wrist flexion and the wrist extensors control wrist extension. Pretty simple, right? It would seem so, until the amount of heads of each of these muscles is revealed.
The wrist flexors consist of six seperate heads, while the wrist extensors consist of eight. This is a very high number compared to that of the biceps muscle group, which consists of only a short head and a long head. Without getting too specific, the supinators and pronators allow the forearm to internally and externally rotate.
Quite a bit of information for a muscle group that composes such a large area, huh? This is exactly why forearm training is still such a mystery to the majority of weightlifters. While the true key to bigger forearms is still relatively unknown, enough information has been gathered to build up a sizable knowledge base of the complex. Although the brachioradialis is the major muscle in the forearm and should be allowed a fairly high load of stress, it is important to also include a variety of exercises for the wrist flexors and extensors. Remember that a muscle group is only as strong as its weakest link. It is necessary to eliminate the weak link in order to build quality mass or strength in any muscle group.
With all of the science out of the way, let’s take a look at a few exercises that are important to the overall growth and development of the forearms.
1) Dumbbell Hammer Curl. This particular type of curl involves a slight variation from the typical dumbbell curl that is very commonly performed by anyone and everyone. Begin standing with a dumbbell in each hand. Your arms should be extended and at your side. The variation here will be in the direction your palms are facing. In the typical dumbbell curl, the palms will be facing forward. For this exercise, you will turn your palms inward until they are facing each other. Perform the exercise exactly as you would a dumbbell curl, but keep your palms facing inward throughout the movement.
2) Barbell Wrist Curl. The Wrist curl is a well-known exercise used to target the wrist flexors. Begin sitting on a bench with both forearms resting on your knees. Your palms will be facing toward the ceiling. Grip a barbell in your hands and raise it both up and then back down using wrist movement only.
3) Barbell Reverse Wrist Curl. Opposite of the wrist curl, the reverse wrist curl stresses the wrist extensors. Rather than beginning the movement with palms facing toward the ceiling, start with palms aimed at the floor. The rest of the movement exactly mimics the standard wrist curl.
These three exercises are just the tip of the iceberg, but they will provide you with a starting point of balance and symmetry in the forearm region.