Why is grip and forearm strength important? Does it really need a specific exercise? How do we develop this strength?
Strong forearms are important for several reasons:
- It provides a lot of functional strength in carrying out day-to-day activities – carrying heavy things, home repairs, working with ropes, etc.
- Helps in lifting heavy in the gym. Sometimes the forearm/grip strength becomes a weak link in progressing to heavier weights.
- Our handshake will become more firm and confident
- It helps in many sports – tennis, baseball, cricket, etc. Most of these sports involving throwing and swinging a bat. Strong forearms provide great power in these activities.
- Women love muscular forearms. In fact there is a female reddit group only to share pictures of men’s forearms
Strong forearms are usually a by-product of other mainstream exercises. However, we can exercise them specifically to gain muscular and veiny forearms. I have been using two exercises for this purpose:
- Chin ups – Chin-ups are primarily for developing biceps. However, it can be tweaked to work out the forearms too. I pull my body using my forearms more than the biceps. With some practice, we can make the chin ups exercise the forearms along with the biceps too. If you cannot do a complete chin up, one can just hang from a bar or try to move up partially by applying pressure on the biceps.
- Grip Strengtheners – These work primarily on the grip and on the forearms to some extent. I have been using KOBO Hand Grip with Counter (HG-3). I started with about 100 reps each. Now after a few weeks, I have gradually increased it to 200 reps on each hand. I can feel the soreness around my palm area and in my forearms. My forearms look stronger and with more muscle mass.
Counter helps in keeping count of the reps. I recommend buying a grip strengthener which has different intensity levels such as Kobo HG-2 Hand Grip (Grey). Its resistance settings can be adjusted from 10 kg to 40 kg. This will avoid increasing the number of reps to several hundred as we progress.