A Complete Guide to How to Grow Bigger Forearms

Posted by Dayne Hudson in Muscle Building

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

How to grow your forearms | Bulk Nutrients Blog

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How to grow forearms doesn’t seem to be every lifter's first priority. But it should be: forearms not only look great, but they also help us with all other lifts!

So we’ll outline how to get bigger forearms, and provide you with a forearm muscles workout, so we can build a mean set of them as fast as possible!

We’ll look at the farmer's walk, plate pinchers, hand grip exercises, and barbell holds. Let’s go!

Exercises to grow bigger forearms

The first one is a simple barbell hold.

As you can see below, hold the bar for up to 20 seconds (or longer if you can!) with a challenging weight.

Rest for up to 2 minutes before starting another set. You'll find your strength may increase from month to month quite quickly, so don't be shy to load up the bar more, and practice the aforementioned progressive overload!

Exercises for forearms growth - Lindsay Perry barbell hold

The other great exercise is the dumbbell farmer's walks, as seen below.

Exercises for forearms growth - Jackson Peos gym farmers walk

Be sure to choose a very challenging weight and walk for around 10-15 metres (one set). You can lift much more weight than you think here.

After walking, you'll find your forearms will get very tired. Increase the weight more and more as time goes on to ensure growth.

The other strategy that works your forearms is training your hand grip.

And we can do that by using a hand exerciser, as seen below:

Hand grips are great for training your forearms

You can be watching TV and performing reps with this exercise!

You simply squeeze the tool for five or six sets for around 10-12 reps. Rest for the usual 1:30-2 minutes between sets afterwards.

Lastly, plate pinchers are another great way:

Plate pinchers are great for training your forearms

Once you can comfortably hold the plates for twenty seconds, grab another plate the same size and keep pinching!

Three sets are a good start here. Check out the Sample workout routine for building forearm muscles and how to get stronger forearms below:

Proper form and technique

Take a look at the below forearm muscles workout, and learn how to make forearms bigger:

1. Plate Pinchers: 3 sets of 12-15 reps

  • Start by grabbing two weight plates by the edges with your fingers
  • Squeeze the plate as hard as you can while keeping your wrist straight
  • Repeat for the specified number of reps, then switch hands and repeat

2. Farmer's Walks: 3 sets of 30-60 seconds

  • Grab two heavy dumbbells or kettlebells and hold them at your sides
  • Walk forward for the specified amount of time, focusing on keeping a strong grip on the weights
  • Repeat for the specified number of sets

3. Barbell Holds: 3 sets of 15-30 seconds

  • Start with a barbell loaded with weights on the ground
  • Grip the bar as tightly as possible and pick it up, keeping your arms straight
  • Hold the bar for the specified amount of time, focusing on maintaining a strong grip
  • Repeat for the specified number of sets

4. Hand grip Squeezes: 3 sets of 12-15 reps

  • Start by gripping the hand exerciser with your fingers
  • Squeeze the exerciser as hard as you can for the specified number of reps
  • Repeat for the specified number of sets, then switch hands and repeat

How to make forearms bigger with progressive overload

So with a solid workout that answers our question of how to get bigger forearms, let’s look at the importance of the principle of progressive overload, which directly drives muscle growth. It is simply increasing the workload for your muscles beyond what they're currently used to.

For example, bench pressing 100 kilograms last week and 105 this week is progressive overload in action.

Research shows we can practice progressive overload in the following four ways:

  1. Increasing the amount of weight we lift
  2. Increasing the training volume by increasing the number of reps, sets, or exercises performed.
  3. Altering rest periods.
  4. Increasing rep speed during lighter loads.

Additional research reveals number one is the most popular progressive overload method.

Andrew Lutomski using band resistance which is great way to increase your forearms

Recovery and nutrition for building forearm muscles

You’ve heard it 100 times, and it’s true – there’s no point training without proper nutrition and recovery.

How to build forearm muscles comes down to the above exercises, with adequate sleep and nutrition.

So to get this right, to ensure you’re successful in building forearm muscles, here are seven tips:

  1. Adequate sleep: Get at least 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night to support muscle growth and repair.
  2. Active recovery: Engage in low-impact activities like yoga, stretching, or foam rolling to help improve circulation and reduce muscle soreness.
  3. Hydration: Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day to support muscle function and reduce inflammation.
  4. Protein intake: Consume enough protein, such as chicken, fish, dairy, eggs, and beans, to support muscle repair and growth. Shoot for ~1.5-2 grams per kilogram of bodyweight per day.
  5. Carbohydrates: Incorporate carbohydrates in your diet to provide energy for workouts
  6. Fats: Consume fats, such as avocados, nuts, and olive oil, to support hormone production
  7. Supplements: Consider taking supplements like creatine, beta-alanine, and protein powder if you’re not getting enough from your diet, to support muscle growth and recovery.

Now, all of this won’t only show you how to make forearms bigger, but your increased strength will also give you many other benefits! Im talking about:

  1. Improved grip strength: Strong forearms allow you to grip the barbell or weights more effectively, allowing you to lift heavier weights and perform more reps. This can translate to improved strength in exercises such as deadlifts, rows, and pull-ups.
  2. Increased stability: Strong forearms help stabilize the wrist joint during exercises like bench presses, overhead presses, and push-ups. This increased stability can reduce the risk of wrist injuries and improve the overall quality of your lifts.
  3. Improved wrist flexibility: Strong forearms can also improve wrist flexibility, which is important for movements like Olympic weightlifting, where proper wrist positioning is crucial for success.
  4. Better control: Improved forearm strength can lead to better control of the weights during exercises like curls, which can help increase muscle activation and lead to better results

The anatomy of the forearms

Let's begin by discussing forearm anatomy.

The main two categories we need to divide our forearm muscles into are the flexors and extensors.

Muscles in your Forearm - Extensors and Flexors

As you can see, your forearm is a complex area that contains several muscles, tendons, and bones that work together to allow for movement and stability in the wrist and hand.

And as mentioned, the muscles in your human forearm can be grouped into two categories: the flexors and the extensors. The flexors are located on the anterior (palm side) of the forearm and are responsible for wrist and finger flexion. The main flexor muscles include:

  • Biceps brachii
  • Brachialis
  • Pronator teres
  • Flexor carpi radialis
  • Flexor carpi ulnaris
  • Palmaris longus

The extensors are located on the posterior (back of the hand side) of the forearm and are responsible for wrist and finger extension. The main extensor muscles include:

  • Triceps brachii
  • Anconeus
  • Supinator
  • Extensor carpi radialis longus
  • Extensor carpi radialis brevis
  • Extensor carpi ulnaris

These muscles work together to produce complex movements such as gripping, holding, and manipulating objects. And understanding them is to learn how to grow forearms!

Our flexors are used for flexing our fingers and wrist (bending) whilst the extensors are obviously for extending. And when we perform something like tricep pushdowns with our palms facing down, in what's called a pronated grip; our flexors are responsible for that getting our hands into that position.

And our extensors are responsible for our palms facing up in a supinated grip when we do something like barbell curls.

And how much forearm training we need really depends on a few things, notably genetics.

If we're naturally born with large, strong forearms, training them doesn't seem to make much sense, as they get worked when we train our back, shoulders, arms, and chest heavily. But for the rest of us, we need to perform an effective forearm muscles workout.

Wrapping up

In conclusion, barbell holds, farmer’s walks, plate pinchers and hand grips will help you with building forearm muscles.

Developing strong forearms is an important aspect of your lifting program, as they increase stability, enhance wrist flexibility, and provide better control during other lifts. By following the tips outlined above, such as proper form, progressive overload, and adequate recovery, you can master how to grow forearms, and how to get stronger forearms.

Improving your forearm strength can also have a positive impact on your performance in other lifts, making it an essential component of an overall successful gym routine.

All the best with your forearm growth! 💪

Bulk Nutrients Expert Dayne Hudson

Dayne Hudson

Like many, Dayne was once desperate to lose weight and get into shape. But everyone he asked, everything he read, lead to the same place... nowhere.

His journey started there - researching science journals and completing a Sports Nutrition Specialist qualification so he could make weight loss easier.

More about Dayne Hudson


  1. Goldberg AL, Etlinger JD, Goldspink DF, Jablecki C. Mechanism of work-induced hypertrophy of skeletal muscle. Med Sci Sports. 1975 Fall;7(3):185-98. PMID: 128681. 
  2. Lorenz DS, Reiman MP, Walker JC. Periodization: current review and suggested implementation for athletic rehabilitation. Sports Health. 2010;2(6):509-518. doi:10.1177/1941738110375910

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