In today’s world of synthol and esciline, many bodybuilding fans have sat and had a chuckle at the sight of a professional bodybuilder with ridiculously oversized upper arms, and extremely skinny forearms. It’s a classic and painfully obvious sign that the bodybuilder has used site injections, since it’s virtually impossible to gain size on the biceps without gaining size on the forearms. After all, the forearms grip the weight used in curls and do handle the same weight that the biceps are required to curl. Most professional bodybuilders are blessed with decent forearm development, or it arrived pretty quickly when they trained to achieve pro caliber biceps.
However, in the amateur ranks (where good genetics aren’t a given as they are in the pro ranks) it’s not uncommon to see bodybuilders with sub-par forearm development. Many see forearm development as genetic – you either have it or you don’t. And many trainers avoid all forearm training, as they believe that it detracts from their biceps’ size and appearance.
This isn’t the case. If you have skinny forearms, you might have tried the traditional training exercises; namely, many variations of wrist curls. These are great for building up the “ball” of muscle located at the base of the elbow. However, many bodybuilders often neglect a very popular movement known as reverse barbell curls. These curls are completed much like traditional barbell curls, except the trainer utilized a reverse (overhand) grip on the bar. This exercise trains the forearm extensors, the biceps, and the brachio radialis.
Another reason to train the forearms independently is that the forearms are often the failure point in many exercises such as deadlifts or barbell rowing. Focusing upon wrist and forearm strength can allow you to hold the barbell for just a few additional reps, which can lead to new personal best lifts.
Just as it’s impossible to build up arms to your maximum potential without squatting, it’s impossible to grow decent sized arms and forearms without eating adequate calories to sustain growth. A surplus of calories is required to spurn new growth, even if it does lead to new (and temporary) body fat gains. Very rarely will you see a guy with big arms who is ripped 365 days a year.
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