Remember Popeye? That cartoon guy who ate spinach and had massive arms becoming really strong. His huge forearms becoming the envy of any man who watched that show. Who doesn’t want Popeye arms?
Today we will show you a set of forearms workouts that you can do without having to use weights or machines, simple and effective things that you can do at home, or even on the go, so you can always be working on yourself.
Many people will focus on those admirable big biceps, but if you are going to do that, why not work on your forearms too? Get the whole set!
There are also loads of bicep workouts that people know of, but forearm workouts are not as well heard of. We have videos to help you work out, as well as information and instructions on how to get those perfect Popeye forearms.
If you want to train and build your body into an image of strength then you cannot neglect your forearms, shaking hands before an interview and signing your name will have people looking at your forearms, make sure they’re something to show off.
The Blacksmith Effect
Throughout history men have always judged one another on the strength and toughness of their hands and arms. Forearm size and strength has, for a very long time, been considered an impressive trait that portrays physical power.
A blacksmith with thickly veined and muscled forearms, with powerful hands were always the envy of the local men. Admired as a sign of masculinity and competence. In contrast, was the painters arms or the chefs arms, which were not as muscled and were often viewed with the opposite amount of adoration.
Grip strength is a vital factor in many daily activities, everywhere from carrying around luggage, to lifting a heavy bag, to changing a tire, or even just carrying boxes as you help your friend move house. Powerful arms make a job easier done.
If you want to build up on your physical strength that you need to get that powerful blacksmith grip before you will be able to perform even the most simplistic and basic exercises to get you going.
Understanding the Forearm Muscles
There are three sections of muscles you will find in the forearms. Let’s look at each of these. Knowing the muscles helps you to work them, because then you know what muscle you are working and where in your arm it is.
- The Brachioradialis- This is a relatively huge muscle is found above and below the elbow on the outer side of your arm, on the side of your thumb. This muscle is used to move the lower arm when the palm is facing downwards. This is the main solid muscle in your lower arm.
- The Wrist Flexors- On the inside of your arm, connecting to the inner side of your wrist is where you will find these, they are a collective of muscles that give the underside of your wrist strength.
- The Wrist Extensors- On the other side of your lower arm, closest to the top of your hand is the location of the wrist extensors. These are n the outside of your lower arm, and they help you to extend your wrist.
The best way to think of this is to think of the wrist flexors as the lower arm version of your biceps, and the wrist extensors as the triceps of your lower arm. They essentially do the same job as the biceps and triceps, just in a different place.
Aesthetically Pleasing Arms
Having forearms that are bulging with thick cords of muscle that are coated in branches of veins just yell from the rooftops that you have power and strength, even when you are not flexing, or are doing nothing.
Even with large biceps, they can be hidden under hidden beneath your clothing and this won’t add to that awe-inspiring impression that you seek as compensation for busting your balls at the gym and putting in all the effort that you do.
Powerful forearms on the other hand are near impossible to hide away, even if you try to. They are more easily noticed when you are shaking hands with someone, or if you are holding a drink. They will get noticed.
We all know that there are plenty of recipes for looking powerful and strong, but one of the most prominent has to be Arms + Chest = Dominance.
Bigger guns will almost always look more impressive and proportional when you have a big and muscular chest to match. You do not even need huge pecs, just slightly protruding pecs will make a big difference.
Of course, you can make the excuse that you can’t because you do not have a bench press or any equipment for training your chest. However, there are plenty of chest exercises that you can do without equipment, so excuses are not an option anymore, sorry.
Home Vs Gym
Not everyone likes a trip to the gym, and some would rather avoid it if they can. The good news is you can. You can easily train any part of your body from the comfort of your own home without investing hundreds of bucks in an expensive home gym.
You can save plenty of money that you would otherwise spend on your gym membership by just working out at home instead. Likewise, you can even work out your forearm muscles in your workplace if you want to. Furthermore, you do not even need to have weights. You can do most forearms exercises using just the household items that you probably have lying around somewhere in your home.
You can add more resistance in order to make your exercises more intense, you can create your own homemade weights for just a few pennies, or you can get a set of cheap adjustable dumbbells. The advantage of the adjustable dumbbells is that you can change weights between exercises and sets really easily without having to take up a load of space in your home with a multi-optional weight rack. It is ideal for a home based workout.
So, lets dive on into it, take a look at the most effective exercises for powerful forearms that you can do absolutely anywhere with little to no equipment at all.
Plenty of athletes have often used odd shaped weights or unusual techniques as they try to develop their practical strength. So, with plenty of imagination and oodles of creativity you can really convert any common household object into an aid for your strength training.
Get a lowly chair, odd shaped, with hand holds, it is findable everywhere, an object that sits in nearly every home, something you can find in any location. You can use this to fantastically train your wrist extensor muscles and develop some thicker wrist muscles with striated muscles that sit across the tops of your forearms.
Do this by placing the chair before you in an area clear of any other furniture so that you have a vast area in which you can use for this activity.
Lay on your stomach facing the front of the chair, then with your arms stretch outward, grasp each front leg with your hands, keeping your thumbs up. Now you want to try to lift the chair’s rear legs off of the ground by moving your wrists, and only your wrists upward.
Once you progress and this exercise becomes too easy, you can increase the level of resistance by using a heavier chair.
Thinking about Reps
Forearms are much like calves, both are muscle groups that are designed for near constant use, so they benefit from high repetition workouts. So the recommended goal for working out either of these muscle groups should be five to six sets of fifteen to twenty repetitions.
However, don’t shy away from variety. It can be totally healthy to change things up from time to time. You can always decide on a few months periods where you use more resistance and fewer repetitions, or lighter resistance and more repetitions. Get creative it with it.
Do phone books still exist?
Having an old phone book and seeking those fantastic Popeye forearms are some things that go nicely hand in hand.
You have probably seen the old part of strong men exhibitions in which they tear a phone book in half, a practice that has been done since phone books came into existence. It is considered to be a trick stunt, and there are methods that must be used in order to accomplish this. However, it is not easy and just giving it a go can help you build your muscles up.
To do this you need to grip a phone book opposite the spine, keeping both your hands facing downwards. Then squeeze the pages in the middle and form a ‘V’ shape with the book. Gradually tear at a few pages at a time using your raw strength.
Though this is considered to be a trick it is far from easy, and you can certainly expect your forearms to be sore the next day.
This is an exercise that will help to develop vascularity as well as raw strength due to the near constantly tension and movement that is needed to do this.
Finger Tip Talents
Are you feeling ambitious? Why not try some fingertip push-ups? This as a great way to develop the muscles in your wrists and your hands. It will give the look of muscular vascularity from the backs of your hands all the way to your elbows.
This is an isometric exercise that helps you to develop strength through constant tension, similar to ripping the phone book, except it can be done without a prop.
To do this exercise you need to start off by getting into the push-up position, with your chest on the floor. Place your hands shoulder width apart with your fingers supporting your palms off the floor. Now push yourself up as you would with a normal push-up.
Depending on your level of current fitness you may find it difficult to do more than a few reps, so trust your body and just listen to what it is telling you. Once you have done as many reps as you can drop to your knees and continue the exercise.
While it is not a household item, a hand gripper is very inexpensive and easy to acquire. It is also very portable, so you can take it on vacations with you, or business trips. By far, the best hand gripper is the Captains of Crush – you can read my hands-on review (haha) via this link.
Grippers have been around in one way or another for quite some time, and they have always been useful in developing muscular and powerful arms.
You use them by either squeeze the gripper for some time, squeezing it for as long as you can without letting go. Or you can do conventional repetitions. Either way works, just find out what you find to be best for you. You can use this while on a long coach trip, or while sitting on a plane, while sitting in a waiting room or even while you are in the bathroom. It is up to you, it is versatile in its uses and can be very effective.
Get one of these and keep it in your pocket or bag for use whenever you need it. Your forearm muscles are toughies, they recover quickly from workouts and can be trained much more frequently for more speedy results, at least in comparison to some other muscles.
If you want another piece of equipment that is portable and packs the punch you need for successful strength training then grab yourself a wrist roller. It is simply a reasonably thick wooden stick, often about a foot long with a hole drilled through the middle. This hole allows a length of rope to be secured to it.
The exercise is simple, but can be brutal and sometimes painful, but it is incredibly efficient for what you want. To do this, attach any weight to the free end of the rope and raise it by rolling the stick either away or toward you. You can use whatever you want for this, a weight plate, a heavy bag, or anything else you can think of.
It is a very simple exercise. Try to increase the number of time you can raise and lower the weight each time, then see how heavy you can go. Remember to practice rolling both ways to train all of your forearm muscles. It will train all the muscles in your forearms if you do it right.
There is an added benefit to this exercise, which is an increase in grip endurance which will pay off in training other muscles such as back exercises. When you are doing pull-ups or chin-ups and your body starts to give in, most of the time it is not your back muscles that are calling it a day, but your forearms and so developing these muscles with wrist rolling will help you gain more endurance to properly work out your back too.
Towels: for the shower, the sink and exercise
Towels are fantastic, they can dry you off after a shower, dry your hands, you can lay on them at the beach, they have many uses, and you can even use them to train too!
Just find yourself a regular bath towel, although any large cloth or rope would really do, towels are the best open because they are easier to grip and hold for longer.
To use your towel in your workout first of all find an elevated flat surface, a chair seat is useful, you can also use a low table. Then, lay down your arm flat with your palm facing upwards and your wrist and hand just over the edge of the surface.
Then grip the towel around the middle with the hand that is on the table or chair, and grip the hanging ends of the towel with your free hand. Then pull steadily downward with your free hand as you try to flex your table hand and wrist upwards.
Much like some of these other exercises this is very simple to do, but also brutal. Using the strength of one limb against the other. Alternate your hands and the direction in which your palm is facing for an even more intense workout. This way you will get all the benefits of a weighted wrist curl without even needing weights.
Still got that towel out? Great! You can use it again for another exercise! Towel hangs!
Towel hangs are fantastically simplistic, however, they are also very painful but effective. This is an exercise that helps to develop muscularity, mental strength and arm strength. It is extra beneficial as it also helps your shoulders and back as a workout too!
To do this, throw your towel over any reasonably high surface, the edge of a door works well, as does any pipe, beam, or a pull-up bar if you have one. You want the ends to be hanging down evenly. Then, once you have the towel in place, grip the ends of the towel, with one in each hang and hang there holding onto it. And… that’s it.
Once you have the hang of it, try doing it with just one hang, it will hurt like all holy hell, but it will be excellent for your muscle training, and you can show off then too!
When doing a workout at home you can use pretty much anything that you get your hands on, this includes rubber bands. The muscles on the top of the hand and wrist, and in that annoying space between the thumb and forefinger are really hard to develop. This is where the rubber band comes in. It is like a small exercise band, you can also buy these.
Simply get any two inch rubber band and place your thumb in it, twisting it to create a ring, now move the other size to your forefinger and create another ring around that finger. Repeat until you have looped every finger together.
Now open and close your fingers as wide as you can then close, then repeat until you simply cannot do it anymore.
This is not unlike the hand gripper, you can do this anywhere, and it is a very portable piece of equipment you can use anywhere, if you don’t have an elastic band, some hair ties can work just as well. Once it gets too easy, just add more bands.
Speaking of rubber bands, lets have a think about resistance bands. They are affordable, portable and effective for training any part of the body including the forearms.
To use them, grasp a handle in each hand step on the middle part of the band to create a stable base with extra resistance. Then start to curl up both arms with your palms facing down. This is what is known as a reverse curl, and it helps to work the brachioradialis muscles and wrist extensors. It produces an impressive outward bulge on the forearms as your arms are resting by your side.
Using your legs.
You can use your own body as a weight believe it or not.
Sit down, lay your right hand under your right leg with your wrist and hand hanging. Pick up your left leg and place your ankle in your hand, proceed to curl your wrist upward using the weight of your leg as resistance, do as many reps as feels right for you. Remember to switch hands for even muscle building.
Making some rice.
You can use sand for this, but rice is just easier to clean. Get a deep bucket and plenty of uncooked rice filled half way, or just over.
Sit behind the bucket on a low chair, place your hands in the rice with your fingers spread, open and shut your fingers forcefully. You can do this as many times as feels necessary. It may seem like nothing, but it does work.
Everyone has a door, but door pull-ups are a more advanced exercise.
Find yourself a sturdy door and open it wide, with a doorstep to keep it in place. Hang yourself from the top of the door and bend your knees to keep the floor clear. Pull-up to your chin as many times as you can.
This type of pull up will force your forearm muscles to play a big role in getting your body mass up and down the scale of the door. It can also be fantastic for your back and shoulders too!
Wrist push-ups are quite an astounding thing to do or see. In this your weight is resting on the back of your palms rather than your palms. From this position you must straighten your wrists so that you are resting your weight on your knuckles.
To perform this you should work gradually, start off by performing the exercise on your knees or against a wall to gradually introduce your weight before you do a full push up.
By doing this exercise you will be rewarded with powerful wrist stability that will help prevent injuries, it is also fantastic for forearm extensor strength too, as you can imagine.
Knuckle push-ups are an old standard practice for forearm and wrist strength, it is easy to learn even though it is initially hard to perform.
To do this place your fists shoulder width apart like you would for a normal push up, balance your weight on the first two knuckles of your hands and assume the push-up position. Do as many reps as you can without rolling back to the final two knuckles. And that is it.
This is yet another exercise that develops both stability and endurance while working on your forearm muscles.
Stay devoted to you!
It really is that simple, that is all there is to it. You do not need to be hitting the gym three times a week, just make use of the things in your house. You do not need fancy facilities or expensive equipment. Furthermore, you can get a productive forearm workout that will give you impressive muscular development from home with ease.
You do also not need to perform all these exercises to see results either, just try them out, pick your favorites and focus on those. All you need is commitment, consistency and a can-do attitude. Do not forget to eat nutritiously for this too. Soon you will have those Popeye forearms you dreamt of in no time at all.