My husband and I have both been lifting dumbbells in an attempt to build some muscle. We feel like we're hitting our upper arms pretty well, but not the lower arms. What are some good exercises to work the forearms?

4 Answers 4


Lifts in no particular order:

  • Wrist Curls
  • Reverse Wrist Curls
  • Farmer's Walk
  • Wrist Roller
  • Reverse Curls (these interject the outside of the forearm almost as much as the bicep)

Other things that help:

  • When running, do so with tennis balls in your hand so you force yourself to grip the entire time. The gain is nominal, but it is another chance to work your forearms while exercising
  • When at work, periodically squeeze on a stress or tennis ball when not typing/writing, or otherwise using your hands.
  • When lifting, make sure to squeeze the bar/weight as much as possible, no matter what lift you are doing. If it's a machine, grip the handle as hard as possible. This forces you to tighten not only your hands/formarms to work them, but also makes you tighten the rest of your body. There's really no such thing as a lift that only works parts of your body - if you are doing them correctly.

Wrist curls do wonders. One exercise is like a preacher curl, but instead of moving your entire forearm, just move your hands at the wrist. Another is just the opposite, with your palms facing down and hand bending up.

In reality, though, the forearms are hit by most exercises that hit the biceps and triceps. Even if you don't think you're working them, you are in reality.


A lot of development will come from just working with progressively bigger weights, but if you really want something specific, check this list out.


I personally would not recommend wrist curls, which work lower arms, but I know that chin ups, pull ups, bicep curls, and even simply grasping dumbbells will build forearm muscles.

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