Way back when I was first bitten by the bodybuilding bug something that always caught my eye was an impressive set of forearms.
Sure, wide delts and huge arms definitely had an impact, but there was something about “meaty” forearms that to me just conveyed power and might.
Starting with the basic exercises as I did such as squats, bench presses and deadlifts early on in my training journey, I saw the value of these basic movements to add functional strength and mass to virtually the entire body.
However, it wasn’t until I added a couple pivotal basic movements that I saw a surge in my own forearm progress.
Three movements in particular seemed to provide the lion-share of development that added slabs of dense muscle and strength to my grip and forearms.—and in actuality I would say one of these movements in particular contributed a huge percentage of gains.
I can’t tell you the exact percentage, but once adding pull-ups and chin-ups to my routines I quickly saw my strength, mass, and grip-power explode upwards.
I also feel that mixing the load of theses exercises, sometimes using just body weight and other times loading up with resistance by attaching weight to my lifting belt, and varying time under tension can also deliver stimuli to the very dense muscle fibers that lie in the forearms.
Dips are an awesome overall upper-body exercise, but I have to say that I think they provide a juxtaposed, almost isometric catalyst to pull-ups and chin-ups.—especially the loaded variety in which you add weight to a lifting belt or hold a dumbbell between your feet.
On the final rep I perform, I often like to hold the top position for a while and slowly descend, kind of a slow negative and this provides a great stimulation to not only all the pushing muscles of the upper body, but also a host of stabilizers including the forearms.
Again, varying the load can do wonders for growth and strength.
There is a “Bronze Medalist” in this triad and next time I’ll discuss this old-school exercise that I have a love/hate relationship with.