Build a Balanced Physique
By Tom Bonanti
Most guys donít give forearms much thought. No doubt, pecs, back, triceps, biceps, and lower body take up most of your time in the gym when you want to see results. If you want a physique that is balanced and symmetrical as well as muscular and powerful, you need to devote some time to working and assessing every muscle group on your frame.
The forearms are very important, not just to the look of your physique, but also for many daily activities like pushing and gripping, etc. True, most upper body weight training exercises hit your forearms to some degree (biceps curls, triceps extensions, etc.), but like every other muscle group you have to make a concerted effort to shape forearms and make them grow.
Besides playing a major role in your ability to close your fist into a tight grip, these muscles also control the motion of the wrist. The primary gripping muscles are the forearm flexors, which also initiate flexion of the wrist. Flexion is when you draw your hand and knuckles down and back toward your elbow. On the opposite side of the forearms are the extensors, which pull the hand and knuckles up and back toward the elbow.
Here are some forearm exercises that include basic flexion, extension, and gripping movements to bolster those forearms. Do three to four sets of 10-15 reps of each exercise preferably on a day you work triís or biís:
Forearm Flexors / Wrist Curls
Sit straddling a flat bench with the backs of your forearms placed on your legs so that your hands hang over the edge. Holding a barbell or dumbbell in each hand, in a palms- up or supine grip, lower your knuckles back toward the floor. Curl your hands up as high as possible and then return to the lowered position, repeat.
Forearm Extensors / Reverse Wrist Curls
Sit straddling a flat bench with your thighs together and the fronts of your forearms placed on your legs. Begin with your hands hanging off your knees, holding a barbell in a palms- down or prone grip with the knuckles directed downwards toward the floor. Without lifting your forearms off your thighs, curl your hands up and back as high as possible. Pause briefly and then return to the lowered position, repeat.
Hammer Curls for a Stronger Grip
Stand upright, holding a five or 10 pound weight plate in your right hand, using your fingers and thumb to grasp it by the top edge. Beginning with your arm at your side, perform a curl. When lowering the weight, adduct (move toward the body) the wrist to maximize the range of motion. Your forearms should burn like crazy.
Forearm Flexors / Newspaper Crumple
Stand with one arm extended forward so that it is parallel to the ground. Hold a newspaper page by the corner in your lifted hand, letting the paper hang downward. Keeping your arms motionless, use hand and forearm muscles to crumple the paper up into your hand finishing when it is balled up completely. Switch hands and repeat.
TOM BONANTI IS A CERTIFIED PERSONAL TRAINER AND
OWNER OF PUMPíN INC GYM AT 1271 NE 9TH AVENUE
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL 33304, www.pumpnincgym.com.