Forearm Exercises | Exercise Guides with Photos and Instructions

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The muscles of the forearm are located in the upper limbs between the elbow and the wrist. The name for this region is used to differentiate this part of the body from the upper arm which is located between the shoulder and the elbow. The forearm is made up of the ulna and radius bones. Several muscles are attached to these and other articulating bones. The muscles of the forearm are classified into either the anterior or posterior compartment. Your forearms control most of your grip strength and help with basic daily activities like picking up grocery bags to sporting and fitness activities like swinging a golf club or a baseball bat, throwing a ball, climbing and lifting weights. Your forearms also help with fine motor skills such as drawing and playing the piano.

Forearm Exercise Guides – Click Here!

The muscles of the forearms are categorized into either superficial, intermediate and deep muscles. All of these muscles perform different functions that lead to different movements of the forearms.The anterior compartment of the forearm consists of eight muscles. Three muscles are deeply seated, one is intermediate while the rest are superficial. The superficial muscles include the flexor carpi radialis, pronator teres, palmaris longus and the flexor carpi ulnaris. The flexor digitorum superficialis is the intermediate muscle in the anterior compartment. The deep muscles include the flexor digitorum profundus, pronator quadratus, and flexor pollicis longus. The posterior region of the forearm has twelve muscles in total. Six of these muscles are located deep inside the forearms. Three of them are superficial while two muscles are intermediate.

The brachioradialis muscle is unusually grouped in the posterior compartment of the forearm although it is located in the anterior region. The deep posterior muscles of the the forearms include the deep anconeus, deep extensor pollicis brevis, deep extensor indicis, deep supinator, deep extensor pollicis longus and abductor pollicis longus. The superficial muscles include the extensor carpi radialis longus, extensor carpi ulnaris, and the extensor carpi radialis brevis.

The intermediate muscles include the extensor digiti minimi and the extensor digitorum. Functionally, the forearm muscles can be classified into either extrinsic or intrinsic muscles. Intrinsic muscles act on the forearm. They act across the elbow joints and the radioulnar distal and proximal joints. In other words, these muscles enable the pronation and supination movement of the forearm. Pronation is the movement of the hands to turn the palms posteriorly (face-down). Supination is the movement of the hands to turn the palms anteriorly (face-up) like when you’re holding a bowl of soup. So, pronators enable the hand to face down while the supinators allow the hand to face upwards.

The extrinsic muscles act on the wrist and the hand. They enable the movement of the hands across different planes. Generally, the anterior extrinsic muscles are referred to as flexors because they enhance the flexion movement of the hands. The posterior extrinsic muscles of the forearms are also referred to as extensors because they enable the extension movement of the hands. These muscles also allow the flexion of the elbow and the digits (fingers).

The muscles of the forearms are extremely important, especially for fitness enthusiasts, bodybuilders and weight lifters. However, these muscles are often neglected when executing different exercises. Some bodybuilders often realize that different triceps and biceps exercises will usually lead to strengthening the forearm muscles, which is accurate since the forearms are targeted as a secondary muscle group when performing many arm movements. However, it’s important for bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts to make sure and include specific exercises for the forearm muscles. Exercises like reverse barbell curls involves lifting weights with the palms facing toward the body. Other exercises include barbell and dumbbell wrist curls with the palms facing upwards and the reverse barbell and dumbbell wrist curls with the palms facing downwards. The forearms are a key muscle group involved with many activities and it’s important to include a few specific forearm exercises into a well-rounded fitness routine.

Forearm Exercise Guides with Photos

 

Dumbbell Wrist Flippers

Exercise Advice: Hold two dumbbells at waist level with your palms facing down. Slowly flip your wrists and turn your palms up while flexing your forearms throughout the entire range of the movement.

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Palms Down Dumbbell Wrist Curls

Exercise Advice: Straddle a flat bench with a dumbbell in one hand. Lay your forearm flat on the bench with the dumbbell extending over the edge, palm down. Begin the exercise with your wrist hanging down. Using only your hand and wrist, bring the dumbbell up toward the ceiling as high as possible, keeping your forearm flat on the bench. Return to the start position and repeat until failure.

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Palms Up Barbell Wrist Curls

Exercise Advice: Kneel next to a flat bench and lay your forearms across the bench while holding a barbell palms up. Using only your hands and wrists, curl the barbell up toward the ceiling as high as possible, keeping your forearms flat on the bench. When you return to the start position, allow the barbell to roll all the way down into your fingertips and then repeat.

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Palms Up Dumbbell Wrist Curls

Exercise Advice: Straddle a flat bench with a dumbbell in one hand. Lay your forearm flat on the bench with the dumbbell extending over the edge, palm up. Using only your hand and wrist, curl the dumbbell up toward the ceiling as high as possible, keeping your forearm flat on the bench. When you return to the start position, allow the dumbbell to roll all the way down into your fingertips and then repeat.

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Reverse Barbell Curls

Exercise Advice: Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart and grab a barbell with both hands, palms down. Begin with your arms hanging down, fully extended. Similar to a biceps Hammer curl, curl the barbell up to a level that is parallel to the floor. Be sure to keep your elbows locked in place throughout the movement and to focus on having your forearms do the work.

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Reverse Barbell Preacher Curls

Exercise Advice: Using a preacher curl machine, grab an EZ curl bar with both hands, palms down. Using an overhand grip, simply curl the bar up toward your chin. Slowly return to the start position and repeat.

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Reverse Cable Curls

Exercise Advice: This exercise is similar to the reverse barbell curl exercise except that you will be using a short bar attached to a pulley machine. Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart and grab a short bar attached to a pulley machine with both hands, palms down. Begin with your arms hanging down, fully extended. Curl the bar up to a level that is parallel to the floor. Be sure to keep your elbows locked in place throughout the movement and to focus on having your forearms do the work.

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Seated Dumbbell Palms Down Wrist Curls

Exercise Advice: Straddle a flat bench while holding a dumbbell in each hand. Lay your forearms flat on your thighs with each dumbbell extending past your knees, palms down. Using only your hands and wrists, simultaneously bring the dumbbells up toward the ceiling as high as possible, keeping your forearms flat on your thighs. Return to the start position and repeat until failure.

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Seated Dumbbell Palms Up Wrist Curls

Exercise Advice: Straddle a flat bench while holding a dumbbell in each hand. Lay your forearms flat on your thighs with each dumbbell extending past your knees, palms up. Using only your hands and wrists, simultaneously curl the dumbbells up toward the ceiling as high as possible, keeping your forearms flat on your thighs. When returning to the start position, allow the dumbbells to roll into your fingertips and then repeat.

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Single Arm Dumbbell Palms Down Wrist Curls

Exercise Advice: Sit on a bench and hold a dumbbell over your knee with your palm facing down. Stretch your wrist as far down as possible while holding the dumbbell securely. Curl your wrist up as far as possible while flexing your forearm at the top position. Lower the dumbbell slowly to the starting position.

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Single Arm Dumbbell Palms Up Wrist Curls

Exercise Advice: Sit on a bench and hold a dumbbell over your knee with your palm facing up. Stretch your wrist as far down as possible while holding the dumbbell securely. Curl your wrist up as far as possible while flexing your forearm at the top position. Lower the dumbbell slowly to the starting position.

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Seated Palms Up Barbell Wrist Curls

Exercise Advice: Straddle a flat bench while holding a barbell with both hands, palms up. Lay your forearms flat on your thighs with the barbell extending past your knees, palms up. Using only your hands and wrists, curl the barbell up toward the ceiling as high as possible, keeping your forearms flat on your thighs. When returning to the start position, allow the barbell to roll into your fingertips and then repeat.

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Seated Palms Down Barbell Wrist Curls

Exercise Advice: Straddle a flat bench while holding a barbell with both hands, palms down. Lay your forearms flat on your thighs with the barbell extending past your knees, palms down. Using only your hands and wrists, lift the barbell up toward the ceiling as high as possible, keeping your forearms flat on your thighs. Slowly return to the start position and repeat.

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Seated Low Cable Wrist Curls

Exercise Advice: Sit on a flat bench next to a pulley machine. Grab a short bar attached to the low pulley machine with both hands using an underhand grip. Lay your forearms flat on your thighs with the bar extending past your knees, palms up. Using only your hands and wrists, curl the bar up toward the ceiling as high as possible, keeping your forearms flat on your thighs. When returning to the start position, allow the bar to roll into your fingertips and then repeat.

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Standing Dumbbell Reverse Curls

Exercise Advice: Grab a dumbbell in each hand and stand with your feet about shoulder width apart. Let both arms hang down in front of your body, fully extended with your palms facing in toward your body. Next, simultaneously lift the dumbbells upward, similar to a Hammer curl. Slowly return to the start position and repeat. Be sure to keep your elbows locked at your sides throughout the entire movement!

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Standing Fingertip Plate Raises

Exercise Advice: Grab a weight plate in each hand and hold in your fingertips. Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart and with each arm hanging at your sides, fully extended, holding the weight plates with your palms facing in toward your body. Using only your fingertips, simply curl the plates upward toward the inside of your forearms. Return to the start position and repeat until failure.

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Barbell Wrist Curls Behind The Back

Exercise Advice: While standing with your feet about shoulder width apart, grab a barbell with both hands using an overhand grip, but with your hands and the barbell behind your back. Curl the barbell up toward the ceiling using only your wrists and forearms. When returning to the start position, allow the bar to roll into your fingertips and then repeat.

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Two Arm Palms Down Wrist Curls

Exercise Advice: Kneel next to a flat bench and lay your forearms across the bench while holding a two dumbbells palms down. Using only your hands and wrists, lift the dumbbells up toward the ceiling as high as possible, keeping your forearms flat on the bench. When you return to the start position, allow the dumbbells to come down to the starting position and then repeat.

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Two Arm Palms Up Wrist Curls

Exercise Advice: Kneel next to a flat bench and lay your forearms across the bench while holding a two dumbbells palms up. Using only your hands and wrists, curl the dumbbells up toward the ceiling as high as possible, keeping your forearms flat on the bench. When you return to the start position, allow the dumbbells to roll all the way down into your fingertips and then repeat.

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Wrist Rollers

Exercise Advice: Grab a wrist roller tool with both hands while standing with your feet about shoulder width apart. If your gym does not have a wrist roller tool, you can easily put one together. All you need is a 5 or 10 pound weight plate, a strong thin rope about 3 feet long and a 6-8 inch stick or bar. Securely fasten the rope to the middle of the bar/stick and tie the other end of the rope to the weight plate. To begin this exercise, grab the bar/stick with both hands using an overhand grip. Extend both arms straight out in front of you, parallel to the floor. Next, roll the weight up from the floor by rapidly twisting the bar/stick with your hands and wrists. Once the weight reaches the top, slowly lower the plate back to the floor by reversing the motion of your hands and wrists. Repeat (if you can!).

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