When it comes to getting strong, grip strength is rarely thought about…but it actually plays a large role in your overall progress.
Furthermore, by increasing your grip strength, you can progress faster in your chest workouts and shoulder workouts. The bottom line is the better your grip strength, the better you’ll do in your weightlifting and the better your arms will look. So in this article, I’m going to share with you the best forearm workouts for building Popeye-level grip strength. While your grip strength will naturally improve through a proper weightlifting program, there are quite a few grip exercises that you can do to speed up the process.
Below we’ll look at my favorite types of forearm workouts and how to put them together into an overall forearm training routine.
So start with 2 to 3 forearm workouts per week and, over time, you should be able to work this up to 4 to 5. The end of a back workout or arms workout is a good place to insert 1 to 3 sets of Barbell Holds. Like the Barbell Hold, the Plate Pinch gives a great forearm workout and you don’t need anything special to do it. Like the Barbell Hold, you’re going for about 20 seconds of hold time, and once you hit it, you increase the difficulty by adding another plate to pinch (3 instead of 2, and then 4, after which point I would go back to 2 plates of next higher denomination). And again, like the Barbell Hold, 1 to 3 sets of Plate Pinches after your back or arms workouts is plenty. Oversized grips are thick rubber grips that fit over barbells and dumbbells, and they’re an incredibly cost-effective way to improve your grip strength.


Like Barbell Holds and Plate Pinches, Dumbbell Farmer Walks are great for ending a back or arms workout.
Purists shun straps as blasphemous and while I don’t disagree with that mentality, straps can be useful for improving grip strength if used properly. Last but not least on the list of forearm workouts are the deceptively hard Band Extensions.
This isn’t a grip exercise like the crush and hold exercises given above, but it helps prevent injuries and strengthen your overall grip by training your forearm extensor muscles. If you do this routine, you will rapidly increase your grip strength, and will immediately notice the benefits in your bigger lifts. I'm Mike and I'm the creator of Muscle for Life and Legion Athletics, and I believe that EVERYONE can achieve the body of their dreams. If you like what I have to say, sign up for my free newsletter and every week I'll send you awesome, science-based health and fitness tips, delicious "diet-friendly" recipes, motivational musings, and more.
Popeye forearms are impressive, but they don't necessarily benefit athletes who uses their grip for strength and power.
Overworking the flexor muscles and neglecting the extensor muscles can cause an imbalance, which can set up an athlete for potential elbow and wrist pain. One of the best tools for developing this balance in the forearm muscles is a bucket filled with rice.
The Forearm Roll-Up, using a rope, rod and weighted plate, builds grip strength and endurance on both sides of the forearm. I also like that it allows you to train each finger independently, which comes in handy for strengthening the weaker links like the pinky and ring fingers.


They’ve been on the market for about 15 years now and are quite popular in bodybuilding, powerlifting, and strongman circles.
Most people find they need to start with the Guide or Sport models (60 and 80 lbs of strength required to squeeze, respectively), but if you’re an experienced weightlifter that can deadlift over 300 pounds for reps without straps, you can probably start with the Trainer model (100 lbs) and be fine. This is where you fully squeeze the hand exerciser and hold it closed for 10 to 20 seconds (start with 10 and work up from there).
Once you can hold a given weight for 20 seconds, add 10 pounds to the bar and work with that new weight until you can hold it for 20 seconds, and so forth. Instead, work without straps until your grip is too fatigued to allow for a proper set, and then use straps.
I have a hand exerciser but didn’t know which was the best training frequency for a proper forearm training. As your forearms get stronger you’ll be able to increase workout frequency without it compromising your lifting. Incorporating forearm workouts into a training program will develop grip strength for faster bat speed, a more powerful backhand, faster climbing speeds, heavier Deadlifts and better grappling ability.
Keeping your hands at waist level allows for more weight to be used and develops greater forearm strength.



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