Unfortunately, the lower arms are probably the most neglected muscle group for bodybuilders and athletes alike. That’s a shame, because neglecting the lower arms can lead to muscle imbalances which lead to injuries, or hampering your gains. Many mixed martial arts athletes know the importance of good grip strength, whether is to hold on to an opponent’s gi, or put an opponent to sleep with rear naked or anaconda choke. It’s time to bring your arms up to speed.
To maximize size and strength in your forearms, you’ll want to train them heavy at least once a week, and possibly a lighter day for reps a few days later. Here’s a solid workout that works all angles of the forearms:
-Reverse Grip Wrist Curl
For the wrist curl, grab a flat bench and load up a barbell with the appropriate amount of weight. With an underhand grip, grab the barbell so that your pinky fingers are almost touching. Straddle the bench and sit down, and resting your forearms on the bench, between your legs, with your wrists ant the edge and your hands hanging off. Allow the weight to lower until your fingertips are the only means holding the weight, and forcefully contract your lower arms to roll the barbell back up until your palms are facing you. Repeat for reps.
For the hammer curl, grab a pair of dumbbells that will challenge you. Usually, people are stronger in hammer curls than they are with standard curls, so grab the appropriate weight. Think like regular curls here, only your palms will be facing each other instead of in front of you. Keeping your elbows pinned at your sides, raise the dumbbells in an arc-like path and lower to the starting position, with the weights dangling at your sides.
For the wrist curl, you will probably select a lighter weight than you did for the reverse grip wrist curl. Load a barbell up appropriately, and sit on a flat bench, straddling it. Grasp the bar about hip-distance and allow your forearms to rest on your thighs, with your wrists at the end of your knees. With your palms facing down, follow a similar motion like the reverse grip writ curls, only keep a firm grasp on the barbell.
As far as sets and reps go, if you’re looking for strength, shoot for 4-5 sets of 3-6 reps. For size, go for 3-4 sets of 6-10 reps. For a more lean muscle look, and to burn extra calories, aim for 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps. All these schemes are per exercise. It’s important to constantly change your workouts, so once you perform this regimen for a couple of weeks, substitute exercises or change the set/rep scheme.
Always follow these helpful tips. Always perform a full range of motion. Adjust the weight accordingly so that you “fail” on the last rep of your last 2 sets. At the top portion of all your reps, contract or squeeze your chest for a count, before lowering the weight. And always remember to breathe!