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You do train your forearms to some extent when lifting. There are however also fitness equipment tools to do powerful forearm-only exercises.
The way you build muscle in places like your forearms is by straining and damaging your muscles. This may seem counterintuitive but this makes it so your body starts processes to repair them and build a little extra to be better prepared for similar efforts in the future.
Generally the more resistance you have to move, the easier it becomes to strain your muscles enough for muscle growth in a short amount of time.
These pieces of forearm exercise equipment work the same way. They make movements so challenging for your forearm muscles that they get strained enough and come back stronger if you give them enough nutrients, sleep, and rest.
It is true that you train your forearms with heavy lifts like deadlifts and bent-over rows. Even so, for certain types of athletes and training goals, it can make sense to add additional forearm training on top of that. Luckily there are also equipment tools that allow you to train forearms specifically.
The main movements your forearms are involved in are closing your hands (so moving your fingers), opening your hands, moving your hands, and moving your forearm closer to your upper arm (together with your biceps). These pieces of equipment help you make these movements more challenging.
1. Hand grip strengthener
You can describe hand grip trainers more or less as pliers that are hard to close. These devices may not look that impressive but they can definitely be a great piece of equipment to train your forearms and more specifically the part that helps you close your fingers.
Some models come with changeable resistance, others require you to buy different ones if you want to progress your grip training. Some people also prefer the ones with a soft handgrip, others don’t mind a simple steel grip.
Some benefits of these types of forearm equipment tools is that they usually last a long time, you can also find them at a relatively inexpensive price, and they are portable.
2. One-handed free weights
One-handed free weights are basically the free weights category excluding the barbell, medicine ball, and EZ curl bar. Not everyone realizes this but you can use free weights in plenty of exercises that strengthen your forearms.
Making the distinction with two-handed free weights is important. One-handed free weights allow you to train wrist adduction and abduction. Two-handed free weights generally lack in training that function of the forearm.
Some examples of one-handed free weights are dumbbells, kettlebells, the right types of weight plates, certain workout sandbags, wrist weights, etc.
One of the benefits of this type of equipment compared to the other options on this list is that you can actually use them in exercises for other body parts as well.
Another benefit of free weights is that they generally last an extremely long time. One dumbbell can potentially improve your workouts for many years and potentially even decades. On top of that, many free weights do not really lose their value.
A disadvantage is that free weights require a slightly bigger investment compared to the other forearm exercise equipment on this list.
3. Wrist roller
Wrist rollers are a piece of equipment that allows you to hang a weight from a rope attached to a special grip. This tool is made to then roll up the rope around the handle by twisting the bar with your hands.
This movement requires you to use different functions of the forearm against extra resistance. You have hold the bar tightly and move your hands alternately.
An advantage of this type of forearm exercise equipment is that it is relatively easy to progress with how much weight you use. This is extremely helpful in any resistance training routine, including when talking about forearm muscles.
One downside is that you do need some type of extra weights. If you do not yet have extra weights this requires an extra investment.
4. Finger extension trainer
You can describe finger extension trainers as an elastic bend that makes it harder to stretch your fingers. In turn this can lead to the strengthening of forearm muscles that make this movement possible.
One of the main benefits of this forearm exercise tool is that there are simply not that many equipment options for training the finger extension movement against resistance. If you want to train this part of your body the finger extension trainer is one of the few options.
The downside of this equipment is that it is not made of the most sturdy material. You may need to replace the last set with new ones from time to time. Luckily finger extension trainers are generally inexpensive.
5. Wrist flexion and extension trainer
This next forearm exercise equipment option is an elongated object with soft pads for your forearms and wrists. The tool allows you to do wrist flexion and extension (moving your hand up and down) against a mild resistance. In theory you could also use it to do wrist abduction and adduction.
You can also easily train the muscles for wrist flexion and extension with a free weight like a dumbbell in your hands. Even so this trainer can be an option if you are looking for something more inexpensive.
One downside is that you can use this piece of equipment only for these types of wrist movement. People more experienced with strength training may find the resistance options rather lacking.
6. Pull-up bar
A piece of equipment many people forget when talking about forearm training is the pull-up bar. Most of the popular pull-up bar exercises train your forearms to some extent. But for these muscles to fatigue first, you may have to stick to a simple pull-up bar hang.
Even if you currently don’t have a pull-up bar or gym subscription, doorway pull-up bars are relatively inexpensive. On top of that, they can be used in other exercises for other body parts.
One downside is that a pull-up bar hang is a type of isometric exercise. In simpler words, this means that you engage your muscles in a more static way, without moving a lot. On the other hand, you have isotonic exercises where you engage your muscles in a dynamic way, by moving.
Isotonic exercises are generally more useful for building muscle. That means that the other tools that engage your forearm muscles in an isotonic way are likely better pieces of equipment for improving your forearm strength a lot.
7. Finger strengthener
The previous pieces of forearm equipment were focused on your overall hand grip or hand movement strength, this next option is more focused on training individual fingers.
If your goal with improving forearm strength is lifting heavier barbells, growing your forearm muscles, or hanging from pull-up bars for longer this may not be the choice for you. On the flip side, if you do something like rock climbing the strength of each individual finger may matter more.
8. Grip strength ring
The previous options don’t involve your thumbs a lot, grip strength rings allow you to train these to some extent anyway. One downside of this type of equipment is that it may last less long than the steel options.
9. Stress ball
There are also types of stress balls with resistance levels made for improving grip strength and thus forearm muscles. These tend to be slightly more portable than the previous options but in the end personal preference plays a big role in what type of forearm exercise equipment is the best for you.
One downside of these stress balls is that they generally have lower upper resistance limits compared to the other options. This means that if you are more experience with forearm strength training this tool may not be enough to give you a real challenge.
10. Two-handed free weights
Two-handed free weights that can be used for grip strength are basically the barbell and EZ curl bar. If needed you can load the bars with extra weight plates. You can use these to train most of your forearm functions although wrist abduction and adductions may be slightly harder.
An advantage of these two-handed free weights is that you can use them in a wide variety of exercises for a wide variety of other body parts. Another thing is that similar to one-handed free weights, two-handed free weights generally last a very long time without much reduction in value.
A downside is that the barbell, EZ curl bar, and weight plates often require a slightly bigger investment compared to the other options on this list.
How do I make my forearms bigger?
The way to make your forearms bigger is similar to other body parts. Challenge the muscles enough with some form of resistance training. The forearm exercise equipment tools in this article are especially helpful for this. After that, give your muscles enough nutrients, rest, and sleep to repair and grow.
How do I work out my forearms?
To work out your forearms you want to do movements that your forearms are responsible for, preferably against resistance. Lifting a heavy barbell like in the deadlift exercise can be an option. If you want to work out your forearms separately the tools on this list are generally more helpful.
Do hand grippers build forearms?
Hand grippers are no guarantee for building forearms but they are one of the best pieces of equipment to do so. Other factors like your nutrition, rest, and sleep also influence if and how much forearm muscle you build.
What are the forearm strengtheners called?
The names for forearm strengtheners are less standardized compared to for example a “barbell”. Some examples what forearm strengtheners are called include hand grip strengthener, wrist strengthener, wrist rollers, finger extension trainers, etc.