Grip strength and forearm development are not usually a priority for many
bodybuilders these days. However, if all weight trainers understood the
potential strength they could gain and the weight they could add to all
their lifts, they would incorporate a grip/forearm workout in their
current workout split.
Lets imagine a simple yet common scenario in the gym. One example could be
a guy that can deadlift 150kg for 8 reps. The reality is that his grip
fails after 8 reps so he has to stop. Now imagine, if he devoted 4 weeks
to improving his grip strength. Now when performing deadlifts his grip
doesn’t fail early so he can continue and reaches 20 reps. As a result his
lats and his hamstrings get worked for an extra 12 reps and grow as a
Using straps for deadlifts may allow you to give your lats/hamstrings a
better workout but then this just exacerbates the problem and ultimately
results in even weaker grip strength.
Mechanics are living proof that high frequency training can do wonders for
developing forearm hypertrophy and an exceptional level of grip strength.
They pretty much carry heavy objects all day, one example being large
tires. If you were to compare a mechanic’s forearm development to a
bodybuilders, 99% of the time a mechanic will win hands down (despite it
just being a side effect of his job description).
Strategy to improve grip strength/forearm grip
Thicker dumbbell handles
When you make dumbbell handles thicker, it naturally makes it more
difficult to hold and is thus a form of overload for your forearms. This
training method can result in rapid strength increases. At first you will
need to lower the weight, but after a few weeks of training with a fat bar
you will surpass your previous lifts even with the attachments on.
There are several companies that offer these rubber attachments to help
make any barbell or dumbbell handle thicker, including FatGripz™ which can
be bought for approximately $20.
Simply squeezing the two handles together in a “crushing” motion is a
great way to improve your hand/grip strength and add size to your
forearms. The good thing about grippers is that they come in various
different tensions, providing a challenge to a beginner and even a world’s
strongest man. These can be done in the comfort of your own home, making
it possible to almost match the forearm engagement and training frequency
of a mechanic by using this training tool.
Probably the most obvious inclusion is wrist curls. Aim for as little rest
inbetween sets and with at least 6 sets in each forearm session to give
your forearms enough volume and stimulus to grow from this exercise.
Hammer curls, especially with a fat bar, is great for building massive
forearms. This is because it engages your brachioradialis, by far the
beefiest part of your forearm. This stance of having your palms facing
each other during hammer curls can also be equally applied to back work,
incorporating narrow grip pulldowns instead of wide grip lat pulldowns, to
work your brachioradialis muscle more.
Holding on to dumbbells with each hand and simply walking. Dumbbells
should be as heavy as possible when performing farmers walks (aim to walk
20-40 metres – counting as one set).
The Popeye Forearm Workout
. Wrist Curls – 6 sets of 8-10 reps (30 seconds rest)
. Farmers Walks with fat gripz – 6 sets (1 min rest)
. Grippers – 6 sets of 10 reps on each hand at high tension (20 seconds rest)
(Hammer curls and close grip pulldowns should be incorporated on their
respective muscle training days i.e. hammer curls on bicep day and close
grip pulldowns on back day)
Erny is the owner and founder of fitness blog WorldsFittest.net. He shares
innovative tips and tricks on how to shred fat and build muscle. Erny also
reviews several popular bodybuilding supplements. Read his latest review, TestoFuel Testosterone Booster Review