The Best Forearm Workouts

When we think of lean arms, we tend to think of sculpted biceps or toned triceps. There's one important part of the arm that is particularly overlooked, though, when performing arm workouts — the forearms. The forearms are the part of your arm connecting your hands to your elbow, per Healthline. Aesthetic reasons aside, working out your forearms is especially crucial for everyday life. You use these muscles for common tasks like carrying groceries upstairs, or opening that stubbornly sealed spaghetti sauce jar in your pantry. By strengthening the forearms, you're also improving your grip strength, which carries its own set of benefits.

If you enjoy playing sports, several options provide you with a natural forearm workout, like tennis, golf, and basketball (per Live Healthy). If you're not the most athletic person, there are several exercises you can do at home to strengthen your forearms. Below, we've outlined some of the best forearm workouts you can immediately incorporate into your routine.

Stretches and squeezes help you warm up your forearms

Before you begin any workout, it's important to do a thorough warm-up first. There are specific stretches you should do before lifting weights, and the same general rules apply to forearm workouts. According to Fitness Goals, there are a few different ways to warm up your forearms, right from the comfort of your own couch. 

Wrist bend stretches help with joint flexibility, and they tone your forearms as well. To do this exercise, stretch one arm out with the palm facing up. Then, take the other hand and push down the fingertips on the opposite hand so your wrist is feeling the stretch, and hold this position for 10 seconds. After completing this motion three to five times, switch arms and repeat.

Tennis ball squeezes are another solid warm-up activity for the forearms since this helps you work on your grip strength. Take a tennis ball and squeeze it as hard as you can in one hand, then switch sides.

Pull-ups are the key to building forearm strength

Pulling motions are best at strengthening your forearms, making pull-ups the ideal exercise, per To complete pull-ups properly, you'll need to follow certain steps.

Start by holding the bar with your palms facing away from you (per Healthline). Before you perform the pull-up, squeeze your shoulder blades together and tighten your core muscles. Pull yourself up so your chin is above the bar, then gently lower yourself back down. If you struggle with the pull-up position, you can use an under-handed grip with your palms facing toward you to make this exercise easier.

Dead hangs on the bar will also work your forearms. All you have to do is to hold on to the bar as long as you can, making sure to squeeze your shoulder blades and tighten your core muscles as you do so. When you feel fatigued, simply let go of the bar and then complete the process again when you're ready.

Certain pushup modifications can target your forearms

While pushups are great at building core and shoulder strength, the pushing motion doesn't really target your forearms (via Pull-ups are the more effective way to work your forearms, but you can modify classic pushups to work your forearms, too. To do so, rest your hands on a Bosu ball while performing pushups to work your forearms. Fingertip pushups achieve the same goal (per Healthline). 

Plyometric pushups that consist of clapping your hands after pushing up are another option beneficial to forearm development. Additionally, you can try knuckle pushups that consist of balling up your hands in a fist before performing pushups with your knuckles on the ground. For any of these exercises, do two or three sets, with eight to 15 repetitions for each set.

Dumbbells are your best bet for strong forearms

Doing dumbbell curls in a hammer position — which involves holding your dumbbells so your palms face each other — will target the forearm muscles (per Start out by holding your dumbbells in a horizontal position, or prop your arms up on a table. Without moving your upper arms, curl the dumbbells up and then lower them down.

Wrist curls are also effective exercises in working out your forearms (per Critical Body). Rest your forearms on a flat surface, holding the dumbbells with the palms facing up and the wrists hanging off the surface. Bend your wrist down and then lift the dumbbell back up. Reverse wrist curls are also recommended to tone the forearms. Similar to the wrist curl, start with your palms facing down holding the dumbbells. Flick your wrist up and then lower your wrists back down.

Healthline also suggests the farmer's walk, which consists of carrying dumbbells and walking 30 to 40 steps forward and backward while keeping a straight back.

Simple forearm exercises you can do at home

Forearm grips are a useful exercise tool to help increase your grip strength, according to Healthline. Holding the grip in one hand, extend your fingers, then compress them so you're squeezing the grip firmly. After holding for three to five seconds, relax your hands. Make sure to do this exercise on both hands and continue switching between hands for 10 to 15 minutes.

Crab-walks in which you take a few steps forward and then backward in a reverse tabletop position can vigorously test your forearms. If you do this, make sure your hands face the direction of your feet, then continue this exercise for one minute. Last but not least is the ever-beneficial plank. Start in a high plank position and alternatively lift one hand to tap your shoulder, switching between both your hands for 30 to 60 seconds. Repeating after a 10-second rest.