Best Grip and Forearm Exercises


Your grip strength is a marker of your overall physical health, indicating not only the strength of your hands and forearms but also your full-body strength, neuromuscular coordination, and overall functionality. However, it’s a common misconception that grip strength can be significantly improved solely through isolated movements like wrist curls. To truly maximise your grip potential and pack on muscle in your forearms, you need a comprehensive approach that combines heavy, compound exercises with targeted grip and forearm exercises that pump the muscle. This balanced regimen is crucial for achieving the robust grip and formidable forearms you desire.

That’s where these five exercises come in. Carefully chosen to address various aspects of grip strength and forearm development, they serve as the cornerstone of your journey towards cultivating an iron grip and powerful looking forearms. So, let’s dive into the best grip and forearm exercises that aid in building grip strength and forearm size you’ve always dreamed of.

  1. Hybrid Hammer Reverse Curl:

    • Anatomy Focus: The hybrid hammer reverse curl targets the brachioradialis, a powerful forearm muscle responsible for elbow flexion, along with the biceps brachii.
    • Execution: Grasp a pair of dumbbells with a neutral grip, allowing the palms to face each other. Slightly pronate the wrists as you lift the weights, engaging both the brachioradialis and biceps.
    • Key Tips: Focus on a controlled eccentric phase, resisting the weight as you lower it. Emphasize a full contraction at the top of the movement, squeezing the forearms to maximise muscle activation.
    • Programming: Incorporate higher rep ranges (10-15 reps) with moderate weight to induce metabolic stress and promote hypertrophy in the forearm muscles.
  2. Reverse Grip Pushdown:

    • Anatomy Focus: The reverse grip pushdown primarily targets the forearm flexors, including the brachioradialis and flexor carpi ulnaris, while also engaging the triceps.
    • Execution: Attach a straight or angled bar to a cable machine and grasp it with a supinated (underhand) grip. Keep the elbows close to the body as you extend the arms, focusing on the contraction in the forearms.
    • Key Tips: Maintain a slow and controlled tempo throughout the movement, ensuring maximal time under tension in the forearm muscles. Avoid excessive swinging or momentum by stabilizing the torso.
    • Programming: Include reverse grip pushdowns as a finishing exercise in your arm workout, aiming for moderate to high reps (12-20 reps) to pump blood into the forearms and promote muscle growth. Keep the weight load manageable, avoid putting the wrist joint under excessive stress.
  3. Trap Bar Farmers Carry:

    • Anatomy Focus: The trap bar farmers carry is a functional exercise that targets the muscles of the grip, forearms, shoulders, and core.
    • Execution: Load a trap bar with challenging weight and lift it off the ground, maintaining an upright posture with engaged core muscles. Walk with purposeful strides, focusing on grip strength and stability.
    • Key Tips: Keep the shoulders down and back to prevent excessive shrugging, allowing the forearms to bear the brunt of the load. Maintain a neutral spine and avoid excessive swaying or leaning.
    • Programming: Incorporate trap bar farmers carries as a standalone exercise or as part of a loaded carry circuit. Aim for multiple sets of 20-40 meters, gradually increasing the weight and distance over time.
  4. Pull-Ups and Loaded Hangs:

    • Anatomy Focus: Pull-ups and loaded hangs target the muscles of the upper back, shoulders, and forearms, including the brachioradialis and forearm flexors.
    • Execution: Perform pull-ups using various grip widths (wide, narrow, neutral) to target different muscle groups within the forearms. After completing a set of pull-ups, transition into a loaded hang, maintaining tension in the grip.
    • Key Tips: Focus on controlling the descent during pull-ups, engaging the forearms to resist gravity. During the loaded hang, actively squeeze the bar or implement to maximise grip activation.
    • Programming: Incorporate pull-ups and loaded hangs into your back or arm workout routine. Aim for multiple sets of 6-12 reps for pull-ups and holds of 20-60 seconds for loaded hangs.
  5. Deadlift with Shrugs:

    • Anatomy Focus: Deadlifts with shrugs target the muscles of the grip, forearms, upper back, and traps, providing a comprehensive strength-building stimulus.
    • Execution: Perform deadlifts using a barbell or trap bar, maintaining a strong grip throughout the lift. At the top of each deadlift, perform a controlled shrug, accentuating the contraction in the upper traps and forearms.
    • Key Tips: Focus on driving through the heels and maintaining a neutral spine during the deadlift. Avoid excessive rounding or hyperextension of the lower back. Embrace the challenge of controlling the weight during the descent phase.
    • Programming: Include deadlifts with shrugs as a primary compound movement in your lower body workout routine. Aim for multiple sets of 4-8 reps, progressively increasing the weight over time.

With a deeper understanding of the anatomy and biomechanics behind each exercise, you’re equipped to improve your strength and overall forearm development. By mastering these six powerhouse movements and integrating them into your grip and forearm training regimen, you’ll unleash the full potential of your grip strength and forearm size. So, embrace these best grip & forearm exercises and push your limits.