Equipment

5 Best Forearm Exercises & Workouts With Bands

 Best forearm exercises & workouts with bands

Resistance bands are one of my go-to tools for building forearm strength.  

They are ideal for forearm workouts because lifters can pick from multiple exercises, including wrist curls and extensions, band twists, and hammer curls. Bands can lead to greater muscle activation and are an excellent tool for training at home, at the gym, and while traveling.

That said, you should get familiar with the forearm muscles and pick the correct exercises to get the most out of bands instead of getting frustrated and tossing them aside.

Key Takeaways

  • Performing a wrist curl, wrist extension, and a twisting motion is enough to target all areas of the forearms to spark growth and build grip strength.

  • Resistance bands are a great tool for forearm training because they offer various tension levels and can lead to greater muscle activation, causing a deep and satisfying burn near the end of each set.

  • If you want to use bands for forearm training, you should know what 5 exercises to try and how to organize some of them into an effective workout.

  • Anatomy of the Forearm Muscles

    Forearm Muscles

    The forearms have 20 muscles with unique roles related to grip strength, joint stability, wrist flexion, and extension.

    Developed forearms contribute to upper body aesthetics and provide much-needed support when holding hundreds of pounds in your hands. With that in mind, here is a brief look at groups of forearm muscles and their functions:

     

    • Wrist flexors: These muscles make up the front (or bottom) of the forearms, and their primary functions are to flex the wrists and fingers. Gripping a weight primarily targets the wrist flexors.

    •  Wrist extensors: These are the muscles that make up the forearms' rear (or top). Their primary functions are to extend the wrists and fingers. 

    The brachioradialis is perhaps the most popular wrist extensor (and forearm muscle as a whole). One of its functions is to assist the bicep with elbow flexion (bending the arm, like a bicep curl).

    • Pronator teres: This is a superficial muscle located on the front of the forearm. Its primary functions are to assist with wrist pronation (rotating so your palms are facing down) and wrist flexion.

    Many other smaller muscles in the forearms support the wrists and contribute to hand movements.

    Related Articles: 

      Benefits of Training the Forearms With Bands

      benefits of training the forearms with bands

      Training your forearms with resistance bands offers multiple benefits. Here are the top 5:

      There are multiple resistance levels

      Bands allow you to adjust the resistance to suit your needs and apply the necessary progressive overload (continue to challenge yourself) as your forearms grow and strengthen.

      You can pick from many effective exercises

      Resistance bands allow you to choose from many effective exercises and variations to target all portions of your forearms and build a firm grip.

      Bands are portable and affordable

      You can pick up a decent resistance band set for less than $100 and take them with you if you wish to train outside or while you’re traveling. For example, the Military Resistance Band Set by Gymreapers costs just $75.99.

      You get to enjoy joint-friendly exercise

      Free weights can place some stress on the joints and cause discomfort. In contrast, bands are renowned for their ability to train our muscles and promote stability throughout the entire range of motion without causing as much stress. 

        In the context of forearm training, that could translate to fewer elbow and wrist aches.

        “Resistance bands provide feedback to your joints throughout the full motion of an exercise. This allows for increased stability of the joint through muscular activation and decreases the amount of stress put on the joint surfaces.”
        — ​​Jennifer Heberton PT, DPT, OCS


        Potentially greater muscle activation

        Resistance bands come with linear variable resistance (LVR), which means the tension of the band increases as the band lengthens. 

          The benefit of this is that you must contract your muscles harder throughout the entire range of motion to complete each repetition instead of relying on momentum (swinging your body, using jerking motions, etc.).

          Using resistance bands for your forearm training can be a fun, new, convenient, and effective way to apply the necessary overload, build more muscle, and further develop your grip strength.

          Related Article: 9 Best Resistance Band Bicep Exercises (+ Sample Workout)

           

          5 Best Forearm Exercises With Bands

          1. Standing Band Wrist Curls

          This simple and effective movement emphasizes the wrist flexors and develops the front portion of your forearms.

          How to do Standing Band Wrist Curls

          1. Grab a looped or open-ended band with both hands.
          2. Stand tall and step over the band.
          3. Bring your elbows against your body, straighten your arms, and have your palms facing forward.
          4. Take a breath and curl the band by flexing your wrists in one fluid motion.
          5. Relax your wrists as you exhale.
          6. Repeat.

          Pro tip: If you’re struggling not to bend your elbows, perform this movement seated and have your forearms resting on your thighs with your wrists hanging out over your knees. This allows you to better isolate your wrist.

           

          2. Standing Band Wrist Extensions

          Band wrist extensions are fantastic for developing the wrist extensors and adding mass to the top of your forearms.

          How to do Standing Band Wrist Extensions

          1. Grab a looped or open-ended band with both hands.
          2. Stand tall and step over the band.
          3. Straighten your arms, position your elbows against your body, and make sure your palms face your body.
          4. Take a breath and curl the band by extending your wrists in one fluid motion.
          5. Relax your wrists and exhale.
          6. Repeat.

          Pro tip: Use a light enough band that allows smooth and controlled repetitions. The thicker the band is, the more momentum and jerking motions you must use on each rep, which could take the tension away from your forearms. 

          Additionally, if you’re struggling to keep your elbows straight, perform this movement seated with your elbows supported on your thighs.

           

          3. Banded Reverse-Grip Bicep Curl

          Reverse-grip curls are excellent for simultaneously training the forearms (primarily the wrist extensors) and biceps.

          How to do Banded Reverse-Grip Bicep Curl

          1. Grab a looped or open-ended band with both hands.
          2. Stand tall and step over the band.
          3. Straighten your arms and position them to your sides, with your palms facing back.
          4. Retract your shoulder blades, inhale, and bend your elbows in one fluid motion until your wrists are slightly higher than your elbows.
          5. Pause briefly and slowly extend your arms as you exhale.
          banded reverse-grip bicep curl

          Pro tip: Step over the band with both feet and adjust the resistance with your stance. A wider stance stretches the band more, allowing for more tension. In contrast, a narrower stance means the band doesn’t stretch as much and offers slightly less resistance.

           

          4. Banded Hammer Curl

          The hammer curl is another effective movement that simultaneously targets the biceps and forearms (wrist extensors). Unlike reverse curls, where the emphasis is primarily on the brachioradialis, hammer curls keep more tension on the biceps and activate the forearms to a smaller degree.

          How to do Banded Hammer Curl

          1. Grab a looped or open-ended band with both hands.
          2. Stand tall and step over the band.
          3. Straighten your arms and position them to your sides, with your palms facing each other.
          4. Puff your chest to keep your shoulders back, take a breath, and bend both arms simultaneously in one fluid motion.
          5. Squeeze your biceps and brachioradialis at the top, and slowly extend your arms as you exhale.

            Pro tip: Improve muscle activation by keeping your elbows glued to your sides. Resist the urge to move your elbows forward and back while bending and extending your arms.

             

            5. Resistance Band Twists

            This is a lesser-known exercise that simultaneously trains the wrist flexors and extensors, leading to more balanced forearm development. The movement pattern resembles twisting a piece of cloth to squeeze the water out.

            How to do Resistance Band Twists

            1. Grab a looped resistance band.
            2. Fold the band two to three times until it is 10 to 15” long.
            3. Grab one end of the band with your left hand and squeeze.
            4. Grip the opposite end with your right hand.
            5. Twist the band back and forth with your right hand, flexing and extending your wrist.
            6. Once finished training your right forearm, twist the band back and forth with your left hand for the same number of reps.

            Pro tip: You should use a thicker band to get enough resistance on each rep; a thin band won’t offer much tension to challenge the forearms.

             

            Sample Resistance Band Forearm Workout

            The following is a sample workout for you to start training your forearms with bands:

            Exercise

            Sets

            Reps

            Rest Period

            Banded Reverse-Grip Bicep Curl

            3

            15-20

            60-90 seconds

            Standing Band Wrist Curls

            3

            15-20

            60-90 seconds

            Resistance Band Twists

            2-3

            To failure

            60-90 seconds


            To create your own forearm workout using the exercises discussed above, aim to include:

            • One exercise targeting wrist flexion
            • One exercise targeting wrist extension
            • One exercise targeting forearms rotation (band twists)

            Best Bands For Training Your Forearms

            Military Resistance Band Set by Gymreapers

            SHOP MILITARY RESISTANCE BAND

            We recommend the Military Resistance Band Set by Gymreapers. It comes with five looped and flat resistance bands, each covering a specific tension range:

            • Desert Tan - 20 to 35 lbs (9 to 15.8 kg)
            • OD Green - 30 to 60 lbs (13.6 to 27.2 kg)
            • Dark Earth - 40 to 80 lbs (18.1 to 36.2 kg)
            • Ranger Green - 50 to 120 lbs (22.7 to 54.5 kg)
            • Coyote Brown - 60 to 150 lbs (27.2 to 68.1 kg)

            The advantage of purchasing a band set is that it costs less than getting bands individually as you go along. A set costs more than a single band but covers all your needs for years. 

            Plus, you can experiment in your training to find the perfect band tension on different movements. For instance, you might need the OD Green band for hammer curls, the Ranger Green one for band twists, and the Desert Tan band for wrist curls or extensions.

            Having multiple tension ranges is also ideal for applying the necessary overload as you get stronger. For instance, Desert Tan might be all you need at the start, but you will eventually (and hopefully) grow stronger and need more tension to keep making progress.

            Aside from forearm training, you can use these bands to perform many other effective exercises, such as banded squats, band-assisted pull-ups, bench presses, and more.

            As an added benefit, these bands are made of quality latex that ensures durability. The bands are lightweight and easily foldable. You can store them in the bag that comes with the set and take them with you on the road.

            Reading next

            Banded Overhead Press: Benefits, How-To, Common Mistakes
            Best Adductor Exercises With Bands

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