Increase Your Grip Strength With These 6 Forearm Workouts

You might focus the bulk of “arm day” on your triceps, biceps, and shoulders, but that really only encompasses about half of your actual arm. What about your forearms, hands and wrists — don’t you want those to ripple with lean muscle tissue as well? Working on your grip strength is going to help you substantially, especially if you want to make sure you’re not missing any muscle groups.

If you’ve thus far overlooked your hand, wrist, and forearm strength, it’s easy to work some simple lifts and exercises into your routine. A lot of the following exercises are a bit unorthodox, but if you get a few reps in, you’ll definitely feel your muscles at work. It can be hard to gauge your muscle strength in your hands and forearms, but if you want to have a Superman-esque crushing handshake, this is the place to start.

Here are six exercises and lifts that will help improve your grip and forearm strength.

1. Pinch plate holds/dumbbell holds

This is as simple of an exercise as you can find, and as you do it, you’ll easily see how it’s building your grip strength. As you’ll see in the short video tutorial above, you’ll be taking two plates and pinching them together. Let gravity do the work, and do your best to keep the pinch together. You can also do it with a hexagonal dumbbell by using your fingers and thumb to hold the dumbbell out in front of you. The goal is the same: Don’t drop it.

2. Finger curl

One of the most popular and easiest lifts — which should be a staple of your forearm workouts — is the finger curl. Again, you’ll see how to do it in the above video tutorial from Buff Dudes. Do the exercise in the seated position, with a barbell or two dumbbells. It’s similar to a curl in a way, except that you’re letting your fingers do the work. You’ll feel it after only a couple reps.

3. Rice bucket squeeze

A man dumps rice into a bucket

Rice can be used for a wide range of things. | Bay Ismoyo/AFP/Getty Images

Strangely enough, a bucket of rice is a fantastic way to improve your grip strength and give your forearms a workout. All you need is a bucket of rice. Dig your hand into the rice, and squeeze. Imagine you’re crushing the rice grains in your fist. There are a few other ways you can work out your hand in the rice, so try it out and see what it does for your forearms and grip.

4. Seated dumbbell wrist curl/reverse

If you’ve tried out the finger curl, this is a step up from that. Again, check out the video tutorial from Livestrong to get the gist of it. You’ll start by holding dumbbells in each hand, with your arm resting on your leg. From there, just lift the weight using your wrist, utilizing your forearm muscles. Then, you can flip your grip and do them in reverse to get a full arm workout.

5. Towel pull-ups

Really want to put your grip strength to the test? Try doing some towel pull-ups. It’s like a regular pull-up, only you’re adding some towels into the mix. Throw a couple of towels (not your wife’s nice towels, you cro-mag) over a bar, and hold onto them to hoist yourself up. See how many you can do before losing your grip.

6. Climbing

A climber prepares to have his grip strength tested

Climbing a mountain will definitely test your grip strength. | iStock.com

The ultimate test of forearm and grip strength is climbing. If you’ve never tried it, expect your arms to be absolutely shot by the time you finish. Climbing puts your entire body to the test, but in particular, forces you to use your grip and arms to find holds and hoist yourself up. Check out a local climbing gym, or try some easy hikes in the area to get started.

Follow Sam on Twitter @Sliceofginger