Like a lot of other people, I had skinny forearms. After I bulked up by doing upper body exercises, my forearms were still skinny and weak. I exercised hard enough, long enough, and often enough to increase the size of my biceps, triceps, and a bunch of other muscles, but the exercises did not make my forearm muscles significantly bigger or stronger.
The upper body exercises I was doing mainly worked my upper arms. If you want to increase the size of your forearms then you should do exercises that target the muscles in your forearms. Your hand and wrist contains tendons that are attached to muscles below the wrist. Tendons are like strings. You can't make the muscles in your wrist bigger, because there aren't any, but you can increase the size of the muscles between your wrist and your elbow.
Making The Forearms More Muscular
In an attempt to strengthen my forearm muscles and make the muscles bigger I did overhand front dumbbell raises, finger push ups, hand squeezes, palm down wrist curls, palm up wrist curls, overhand dumbbell curls and hammer curls. To do a front raise you raise the dumbbell in front of you while keeping your elbow slightly bent. Overhand means palms face down when your arm is parallel to the ground. A hammer curl is a variation of the dumbbell curl. The dumbbell is at your side with your palms facing in. For the finger push ups I made them easier by doing them at an incline using a set of a set of stairs.
With these exercises I could not lift as much weight as I could doing exercises like bicep curls. When I started I had to use a lighter dumbbell. The objective was to increase my strength enough that I could lift significantly more weight and see how it changed the appearance of my arm. Five days a week I went through my list and did the exercises. The number of repetitions and sets was based on what I could handle on that day. I increased the weight when I could lift more while maintaining good form.
When working out your forearms keep the movement slow and steady.
Pull up, chin ups, wrist rolls and some push up variations are good forearm exercises. Wrist rolls are done by rolling up a rope with a weight attached to it. I tied one end of a rope around a dumbbell bar and the other around a weight. It works well. After rolling up the weight and rolling it back down a few times I could really feel it in my forearms. The bar should be in front of you around shoulder height. Your palms can face up or down. It would be a good idea to do it palms down half of the time. I added wrist rolls to my routine later on because they are a great exercise for your forearms.
For the push ups I recommend decline, knuckle, finger or handstand push ups. Knuckle push will hurt if you don't do them on a soft surface like an exercise mat. You can make finger push ups easier by using your knees or doing them at an incline. I started on a set of stairs and switched to the floor when my fingers where stronger.
My forearms became significantly stronger. I was able to increase the amount of weight I was lifting and the number of reps. When I felt my forearm I could tell it was firmer. When I looked at the forearm I noticed it was bigger in places. It was easy to tell that my forearm was stronger and firmer but the change in appearance was not as noticeable. I continued to work at increasing my forearm strength for a while longer and the change became more noticeable.
The forearm muscles are more like the triceps than the biceps. They don't get a lot bigger when you use them or flex them to show off. You can increase the size of your forearms muscles but you need to increase your strength and endurance a lot for them to get significantly bigger.
You may notice the line on my writs. It is a tendon that is attached to muscle. The exercises did not change the size of my wrist or hands because they have tendons that are attached to muscles between the wrist of elbow.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2013 Michael H
Farmer Palmer on December 01, 2016:
Farmer's walk. Really shocks forearms for rapid gains. Mix it up with long distance low weight and short distance please can I let go.
Michael H (author) from Canada on July 13, 2014:
Exercising your hands less can cause your forearms to become thinner. The arthritis and palm problem prevent you from exercising your hands enough so your forearms are thin. If you can try to exercise your hands more. A lack of exercise causes pain. Exercise can reduce joint pain. Strong muscles protect the joints.
Bob on July 13, 2014:
My forearms have become thinner. I have some arthritis in both hands and also some genetic palm problem. Could this result in my forearms getting thin?
Mahaveer Sanglikar from Pune, India on September 03, 2013:
This is useful for me, I was in search of this information. Thank you for sharing.