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So, you’re looking to pack on some muscle mass to your forearm muscles.
Grab some dumbbells and get started with our forearm dumbbell workouts for size and strength gains.
Strength training typically involves targeting certain muscle groups but it’s easy to forget about your forearm muscles.
You use them throughout the day and pretty much during every exercise you do in the gym, so dedicated dumbbell forearm exercises aren’t necessary, right?
By setting aside time to focus on building strong forearms you can make massive improvements to your grip strength.
Recommended Reading – Fix Your 8 Forearm Pain Causes And Symptoms Today
A stronger grip can facilitate higher loads in other exercises like the deadlift and pull up.
Stronger forearms also help to make common daily activities, such as carrying your groceries or gardening, much easier to do.
In this article we’re going to recommend some of the best forearms exercises with dumbbells that you can do to help develop size and strength.
Forearm Dumbbell Workouts For Stronger & Bigger Forearms
The dumbbell exercises recommended below are some of the best ways of strengthening and adding thickness to your forearms.
As with all training, proper form is crucial to recruit the correct muscles and prevent injury.
We recommend starting with lighter weights and increasing the load as your strength and ability improves.
Dumbbell Reverse Curl
The dumbbell reverse curl is a great forearm exercise for building muscle to your lower arms. It’s similar to a standard bicep curl exercise but involves holding the dumbbells with an overhand grip.
This shifts more load on to the brachioradialis muscle. This muscle is located to the top of your forearm and helps with elbow flexion.
A good tip when doing this exercise is to adopt a ‘thumbless grip’. In other words, wrap your thumbs over the top of the dumbbell handles instead of wrapping them underneath.
This will encourage you to grip the dumbbells a little bit harder which will help to increase grip strength.
How To Do A Dumbbell Reverse Curl:
- Take hold of a dumbbell in each hand with an overhand grip. Keep them positioned just in front of you, this is the starting position.
- With your head and chest up and elbows pinned in to your sides, curl the dumbbells up towards your shoulders.
- Squeeze the top before lowering back down to the start.
- Make sure to keep your elbows locked in place as you perform the exercise. This keeps tension on the right muscles.
- Perform around 8 to 12 reps for 3 sets.
Dumbbell Reverse Wrist Curls
This exercise will help to target more of your forearm flexors and pronator teres. These muscle groups comprise of the flexor carpi radialis and flexor carpi ulnaris.
Both these muscles help with wrist flexion and abduction and adduction of your wrists.
When doing this exercise, avoid going too fast as you could put excessive stress on your wrist joints which may result in pain or injury.
How To Do The Dumbbell Reverse Wrist Curl:
- Start by sitting on a bench with a dumbbell in each hand.
- Lean your torso forwards and rest your forearms and elbows on your upper legs.
- Your palms should be facing the ceiling with your hands hanging just over your knees.
- From here curl your wrists upwards going as high as you find comfortable.
- Then use control to lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.
- Complete 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps.
Dumbbell Rear Front Rotations
Rear front wrist rotations are a great way of building muscular forearms but it’s important to move slowly and with control to minimize stress on your wrist joints.
Stick with very light weight dumbbells when starting out.
When performed correctly, this exercise will target your brachioradialis and extensor carpi ulnaris.
How To Do Dumbbell Rear Front Rotations:
- Stand upright holding a dumbbell in each hand.
- Hold the dumbbells down by your sides with a neutral grip with your palms facing inwards as if you’re about to perform a hammer curl.
- Slowly rotate your wrists up so at the top of the movement one end of the dumbbell is facing towards the ceiling.
- Pause briefly then lower them back to the start.
- Do 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps.
Dumbbell Farmer’s Walk
The farmer’s walk, sometimes called the farmer’s carry, is an effective exercise for working many muscles across your entire body.
You’ll want to challenge yourself with heavier dumbbells for this exercise as the aim is to see how long you can carry the dumbbells to really fire up your forearms and boost grip strength.
How To Do The Farmer’s Walk:
- With the dumbbells on the ground start with them positioned either side of you.
- Squat down and deadlift both dumbbells up.
- Keep your arms relaxed, down by your sides with elbows extended.
- Begin to take small steps forward going as far as you can before turning around and returning the other way.
- As you walk, keep your glutes tucked under, chest up and shoulder blades down and back.
Dumbbell Waiter Curls
The waiter curl is a biceps curl variation that works the muscles of upper arms but also engages your forearm muscles, specifically the brachioradialis and forearm flexors.
These muscles are recruited as you stabilize the weight and control the movement. You can learn more about the waiter curl here.
How To Do Dumbbell Waiter Curls:
- Take hold of the end of one dumbbell with both hands.
- Position your hands under the dumbbell head so that your palms are facing the ceiling.
- Keep your elbows bent to a 90-degree position.
- Raise the dumbbell up towards your chest but make sure the head of the dumbbells remains upright throughout.
- Squeeze your biceps at the top and then move back to the start.
- Complete 3 sets of 15 reps.
The Zottman curl is a mix between a regular dumbbell bicep curl and reverse curl.
This means that as your raise the dumbbells with a supinated grip you’ll recruit more of your biceps but as you lower them with a pronated grip, you’ll activate more of your forearm muscles.
How To Do Zottman Curls:
- Start by holding a dumbbell in each hand and down by your sides.
- Brace your core and curl the dumbbells up towards your chest.
- As you raise the dumbbells supinate your forearms so that your palms face the ceiling.
- At the top of the exercise, pronate your wrists by rotating them so your palms now face away from you.
- Lower the dumbbells back to the start and repeat for 8 to 10 reps and 3 sets.
Why It’s Important To Build Strong Forearms
The most significant benefit of having strong forearms is that it directly impacts your grip strength. This carries over to lifting heavy weights and many everyday tasks.
But not only that, improving their strength offers many other benefits too.
Here are some advantages by doing regular forearm training:
- Studies indicate that larger forearms contribute more to hand grip strength.
- Bigger forearms make your lower arms look dramatically better.
- Strong forearms can improve your performance during activities like rock climbing, weightlifting and tennis.
- Your wrist and elbows will be better stabilized which will help prevent injury and the development of conditions like carpal tunnel.
- With stronger forearms you’ll notice better hand dexterity. This can be useful when doing things that require fine motor skills.
How Often Can You Train Forearms
The muscles of your forearms tend to recover quickly, this means you can train them anywhere between 3 and 5 times per week without risking overtraining.
If your forearms have fully recovered from the previous workout, it’s perfectly OK to train them again.
You might be wondering how you can effectively build in a forearms workout and properly train other muscles.
If you’re concerned you may end up over working the forearms and suffer from grip fatigue just by performing your regular back training you can use something like Versa Gripps.
These are specially designed to help eliminate grip strength.
It’s a good idea to incorporate your forearm training with any pull day workouts whether that’s back or shoulders.
In between each of these, add in your leg training and push workouts targeting muscles like your chest as this will give your forearm muscles sufficient recovery time.
In terms of reps and sets, aim for anywhere between 3 and 6 sets per workout with reps of 5 to 10 and work your way up from there.
You want your forearms to get a good pump for muscle hypertrophy.
When doing exercises that have a very small range of motion, such as reverse wrist curls, this reduces the amount of time that the muscle will be contracting so you’ll want to consider adding in additional reps.
Many people don’t realize that the forearms are made up of quite a few individual muscles, all of which work in different ways.
This is why it’s important to incorporate a range of different forearm dumbbell exercises to work each muscle properly.
The main muscle that will contribute most to the size and shape of your forearms are the brachioradialis, this is the largest and most meaty muscle in your forearm.
On the other hand, the forearm extensors will have the least affect on forearm size.
Remember that your hands and wrists are involved in virtually all exercises and many of your daily tasks.
If they’re weak, this is going to have limitations on your performance in all aspects of your life.