WATCH: Forearms First — Building Forearms Like Popeye

TAGS: forearm pump, towel grip pull ups, forearm training session, training forearms, elbow direction with forearm angle, jailhouse strong, wrist roller, fat gripz

COACH

If you want forearms like Popeye, it's going to take more than a few wrist curls to get you there. In this video, Josh Bryant walks through a full forearm training session, gives set and rep protocols, and explains the purpose of each exercise.

Towel-Grip Pull-Ups

This exercise is often used for MMA, jiu-jitsu, and grappling sports for its great effectiveness. To perform, attach a towel to a pull-up bar and grab one end in each hand. Then pull yourself up until your chin is higher than your hands. If you aren't able to do pull-ups with the towel you can instead do lat pulldowns or isometric pull-ups with the towel by holding yourself at the top for 30 seconds. This is a good option if your back strength is a limiting factor instead of your grip strength.

Choose one of the following protocols:

  • Two sets of max reps pull-ups (if you can do more than eight reps, add weight)
  • Two sets of 10 to 12 pulldowns
  • Two sets of 30-second holds

Fat Gripz Hammer Curls with Isometric Contraction

Small variations make a huge difference in this exercise. Attach Fat Gripz to a normal pair of dumbbells or use fat dumbbells and perform a normal hammer curl. Then on the way down, stop 15 degrees shy of full extension and hold that position for three seconds before finishing the rep and alternating with the other arm. This isometric pause creates better brachioradialis activation and is great for building your forearms.

Protocol: Two sets of six reps (each side) with a three-second isometric pause

Wrist Roller Extension and Flexion

You can use a traditional wrist roller, but Josh shows a better way to properly set up this exercise with a barbell and a resistance band. Start in a rack by loading one end of a barbell with a 45-pound plate to act as a counterweight. Then loop a band around the other collar and place a light dumbbell through the bottom of the band. You can then roll the collar of the bar toward you or away from you, raising and lowering the weight to develop your forearms. When you roll toward yourself, like a motorcycle, it works your extensors. Going the opposite direction works your flexors. An added benefits of this setup over a traditional wrist roller is that you don't have to hold the weight, meaning your front delts aren't working against you; everything goes toward your grip.

Protocol: Three sets of four to five reps each direction

By the minute:

  • (0:22) Towel-Grip Pull-Ups
  • (1:33) Fat Gripz Hammer Curls with Isometric Contraction
  • (3:19) Wrist Roller Extension and Flexion

WATCH: Building Armor-Plated Pecs with Josh Bryant and Jonathan Irizarry

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