The muscles of our forearms play an important part when it comes to training. They’re enabling us to have a stronger grip while lifting any amount of weights. Regardless of whether we’re talking about push or pull exercises, the key to executing an exercise is in grip strength.
In most cases, grip strength is the weakest point while weight training and that’s why the tendon and forearm muscle injuries occur so often. Forearm muscle strength and grip strength become most important when we do our workout with heavy weights. Also, strong forearms are essential for best performance in sports such as rowing, free climbing, martial arts, throwing sports, tennis, hockey etc.
Forearm Muscle Anatomy
Almost 1/3 of your arms is taken up by forearm muscles. With that in mind, if trained properly, they can increase the overall strength of your arms. Forearm is the part of your arm between wrist and your elbow. Forearms have three muscle groups:
Branchioradialis and Extensors make the front (outer) part of forearms and help with extending the outer wrist part towards the forearm; they help with extending our fingers.
Flexors make the back (inner) part of forearms. They move the wrist towards the inner forearm part and also help with finger extending.
Forearms & Strength Training
All the strength training exercises, no matter what muscle groups are done can be split into two exercise groups:
- Exercises by pull type
- Exercises by push type
By Pulling – An athlete is making an effort to pull the weight towards himself (rowing, pull-ups…)
By Pushing – An athlete is making an effort to push the weight away from himself (bench press, triceps extensions, flyes…)
When performing an exercise from first or the second group, strong grip is important. The bigger the weight you’re working with the stronger grip strength is required. Grip strength depends on forearm muscle strength.
While doing a strength training, in most cases you’re squeezing your hands during an exercise. When the hand is squeezed, the forearm muscles are contracted. In this state, every hand movement stretches out those contracted muscles. Strong forearm muscles are good with handling the weight. On the other hand, weaker forearm muscles not so much, and that’s when the injury occurs. The most common injuries in this case are the ones in the upper (elbow) part:
- Tennis elbow
- Golfer’s elbow
Exercises for Strengthening the Forearms
- Dumbbell wrist curls (palms-up)
- Dumbbell wrist curls (palms-down)
- Dumbbell wrist rotations
- Lateral wrist extension
- Pull-up bar hang
Forearm exercises can also be done with a barbell. There are also special machines for training your forearms.
The important thing to get from all this is not to ignore the forearm muscle strength, because the key to performing an exercise is in the grip strength. Also don’t forget to stretch your forearms (flexors & extensors) after a workout!
Btw, here’s a fun fact that i think you might like – Did you know that your forearms are the same length as your feet? Measure it out and see if for yourself!