Building Strength in Hands, Wrist and Forearms

Building Strength in Hands

It is very important that you don’t leave out your forearms when pumping iron at the gym.

So often the major muscle groups within the upper extremities e.g. biceps, triceps, are the focal point for development and in comparison the hands, wrist and forearms are often neglected.

However these minor muscle groups do allow us to perform compound and isolated exercises; which develop the major muscle group such as the arms, chest, shoulders and back. Bearing this concept in mind it is essential that we devote adequate time and energy to develop strength in our hands, wrist and forearms.

If you don’t develop your forearms and wrists they can be out of proportion or even be twig like when all of your attention is on your guns and triceps. It is a double-edged sword because with stronger hands, wrists and forearms you could perform heavy lifts or curls and this strategy ensures bigger muscle gains and stronger arms.

Believe it or not all of three minor muscle groups can develop with the right exercises and with a certain amount of patience.

So let’s say goodbye to your twiggy lower arms and hello to well balanced, muscular arm that are in proportion with your upper arms!

5 Essential Exercises

Here are 5 exercises that are recommended for you to build strength and symmetry into your hands.

Try to perform these exercises at least 3 times per week and they are an excellent add on to your warm up routine and/or into your main session after you have performed some main lifts. Here goes…..

Exercises 1 – Fingers

Hold a clenched fist tightly for 30 seconds, your palms should be facing downwards, with your thumb resting on top of your index finger.

Keep your forearms parallel with one another and elbow should at 90 degrees. Then fully extend and flex your fingers for 30 seconds.

Perform 3 sets x 1 minute in total and have no rest intervals in between sets.

Exercise 2 – Wrists

Extend your wrists with straight arms out in front of you for 30 seconds and then repeat the process with flexed wrists for 30 seconds.

Concentrate on keeping your arms parallel with one another whilst holding the stretch and your palms should be facing upwards for the extension and downwards for the flexion of the wrists.

Perform 3 sets x 1 minute in total and have no rest intervals in between sets.

These stretches will prepare you for the more intense resistance load of your training session and will have some impact of the strength development of the forearm.

Exercise 3 – Wrists/Forearms

This is essentially a seated wrist hammer curl.

Whilst in a seated position, engage your core and keep your back straight, rest your forearms on your thighs with your thumbs facing upwards. About half of your forearm should be in front of you knee, then use a comfortable weighted dumbbell and hold it in a hammer curl position.

Next step is to manoeuvre the dumbbell in a controlled manner backwards and forwards.

This exercise will help to develop the strength of your brachioradialis muscle which is the major muscle in the forearm. Perform 3 sets of 20 repetitions and as you get used to performing the exercise increase the weight being used.

Exercise 4 – Wrists/Forearms

This is essentially a seated wrist curl and it an excellent exercise for developing your flexor muscles in the forearms.

Whilst in a seated position, engage your core and keep your back straight, rest your forearms on your thighs with your palms facing upwards. Your forearm should be rested on your thighs, as this allows a greater stability and it also isolates the muscles of the wrist and forearms.

Your wrist should be just in front of your knees with enough space to enable to perform the wrist curl without making contact with anything.

Next step is to use a comfortable weighted dumbbell and hold it in a normal curl position (palms facing upwards) and then manoeuvre the dumbbell in a controlled manner upwards and downwards.

Perform 3 sets of 20 repetitions and as you get used to performing the exercise increase the weight being used.

Exercise 5 – Forearms

This exercise is a seated reverse wrist curl and is an excellent exercise for developing your flexor muscles in your forearms.

Begin in the seated position, engage your core and straighten your back. Place your forearms on your thighs with the palms of your hands facing downwards.

Use a comfortable weight and when performing the 3 sets of 20 repetitions keep the wrist 3-4 inches away from the knees so that you can execute a full range of motion. Never raise your elbows off your knees when extending your wrists and keep the palms of your hands down at all times.

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