Forearm muscle exercises – Top 10 with stretches

Forearms are often an overlooked muscle group; as such, we have put together the Top 10 Forearm muscle exercises below alongside forearm anatomy, stretches and top injuries.

The forearm may be the overlooked brother of the upper arm, yet they are essential for many daily life activities.

Forearm bones

The forearm consists of two bones, The Radius on the thumb side of your forearm and the Ulna on the little finger side of your forearm.

The Radius is connected to the Humerus (upper arm bone) at the elbow.

The Ulna makes up most forearm bones, with its length from below your elbow down to just above where it meets your wrist. It’s shaped a bit like a banana and is curved towards your thumb side.

The ulna bone has two knobby protrusions—the Olecranon process (located at the pointy end of the elbow) and the Coronoid process (bump on the front of the Ulna). The Ulna is connected to both the Humerus and Radius in two different places in your forearm.

Forearm muscles

There are six muscles in the forearm, and they all work together to move your hand, wrist and fingers. They can be split into three main groups.

If you need further information head on over to this informative article

#1 Flexor muscles

these muscles pull your hand and fingers towards your body. The Flexor muscles are located on the front of the forearm. The flexor muscles are :

The Flexor digitorum profundus muscle flexes the fingers at their middle and distal phalanges.

The Flexor carpi ulnaris muscle flexes the wrist, adducting it towards the Ulna. The Palmaris longus-elongate muscle runs from the medial (inner) epicondyle of

#2 Extensor muscles

these muscles pull your hand and fingers away from your body. The Extensor muscles are located on the back of the forearm. These muscles pull your hand and fingers away from your body. The Extensor muscles are :

The Extensor digitorum muscle extends the fingers at their proximal and middle phalanges away from the hand.

The Extensor carpi radialis brevis muscle extends the wrist, abducting it from the Radius.

The Extensor carpi radialis longus & brevis muscles extend the wrist, abducting it from the Radius. The Extensor pollicis longus muscle extends the thumb at its proximal phalanx ( joint just before the thumbnail )

#3 Forearm Rotation muscles

Internal rotators turn your arm so it faces inwards towards your body. External rotator turns Forearms, so arm faces outwards away from the body. Forearm rotation muscles are located on the sides of the Forearms and are:

The Supinator muscle is an internal rotator and abducts the hand (taking it away from the body).

The Pronator teres muscle, which is a pronator (turns the forearm over, so the palm faces down) and flexes the elbow.

Forearm range of motion (ROM)

Your forearm has a good range of motion because it’s not a weight-bearing bone. You can move your forearm in all directions – up, down, forward, backward, and twist it from side to side because it has two joints. The forearm is also able to rotate inwards and outwards. The forearm is linked to the fingers, wrist, and elbow joints.

The elbow range of motion(ROM) can be increased by stretching Forearm muscles. Forearm stretches can be done using a rope or towel, and you can use both arms to increase the stretch.

Forearm stretches help improve Forearms flexibility by improving Forearm range of motion. Forearms stretches are used in the treatment and prevention of forearm injures.

Forearms stretching also helps to improve grip strength because it strengthens Forearm muscles that control finger movement and wrist function.

Forearm range of motion tests, Forearms should be able to move freely and without pain.

The wrist flexor ROM test assesses the ability to flex the forearm and bring your hand closer to your elbow by bending your forearm.

The wrist extensor ROM test assesses the ability to extend or straighten out your forearm and bring your hand backwards by bending your forearm.

The elbow flexor ROM test is used to check how far you can bring your forearm close to your body by bending it from the elbow joint.

Forearm Stretches

#1 – Forearm stretch #

  • Lie on your back with hands facing down and Forearm on the floor
  • Forearms can be stretched by raising hands towards the head while palms rest on the floor.
  • Forearms are held for 20-30 seconds, returning to the starting position.
  • Forearms stretching is done two times a day of three sets each.

#2 – Forearm stretch

  • Forearm stretches when seated, one arm at a time.
  • Place hand and arm on the opposite knee, then lean towards the extended hand.
  • The forearm is held for 20-30 seconds, returning to the starting position.

#3 – Forearm stretch

  • Sit on the floor with legs crossed, holding one wrist with the other hand.
  • Use your body weight to pull your hand closer to you until you feel a stretch in your forearm.
  • Hold this position for 20-30 seconds, then release and switch arms.

Wrist Stretches

Wrist stretches will aid forearm flexibility and its range of motion at this joint.

Therefore we have included three examples of wrist stretches below.

#1 – Wrist stretch

  • Place one hand behind you; fingers pointed down.
  • Use the other hand to gently pull your fingers back until you feel a stretch in your wrist.
  • Hold for 20-30 seconds, then release

#2 – Wrist stretch

  • Place your hand on a table; fingers pointed down.
  • Use the other hand to gently push your fingers up until you feel a stretch in your wrist.
  • Hold for 20-30seconds and release.

#3 – Wrist stretch

Forearm stretches and Wrist stretches can also be done on a wall,

  •  Place your forearm and wrist against the wall,
  • then push it gently but firmly until you feel a stretch.
  • Hold for 20-30 seconds, then release.
  • Repeat three times each day

Injuries to the Forearms

Several injuries can occur to Forearms muscles, tendons or ligaments. These include:

Strains:

A strain is an injury to the muscle. It is caused by overuse or forceful contraction of the Forearm muscles. Symptoms include pain, swelling and bruising.

Tendinitis:

Tendinitis is an injury to the tendon. The tendon becomes inflamed and irritated. It is caused by overuse, incorrect use or misuse of Forearms muscles, or sudden trauma such as a fall.

Bursitis:

Bursitis is an inflammation of the bursa. The bursa is a small, fluid-filled sac that cushions and lubricates the Forearms muscles and tendons as they move over bones.

Ligament sprain:

A ligament sprain is an injury to one or more ligaments in the Forearms. This can be caused by a sudden injury such as falling or overusing Forearm muscles repeatedly in sports.

Forearm fracture:

Forearm fractures are common injuries that often occur when someone falls onto an outstretched hand or forearm. Forearm fractures may also occur after a direct blow to the Forearms, such as playing contact sports.

Forearm Muscle completing the hammer curl

The Top 10 Forearm muscle exercises

These Top 10 forearm exercises are those that can help improve forearm strength, range of motion and flexibility.

#1 – Forearm dumbbell curls

Target muscles: Forearm flexors

How to:

  • Sit with a weight in each hand, palms facing forward.
  • Curl the weights up towards your shoulder, keeping your elbows close to your sides.
  • Pause and then slowly lower them back to the starting position.
  • Repeat 12-15 times for three sets

Tip: Use a lightweight

#2 – Wrist extensions

Target muscles: Forearm extensors

How to:

  • Hold a weight in one hand, palm facing down.
  • Bend your Forearms up so that they’re at right angles to the Forearms.
  • Then extend your forearm out until it’s straight and level with the floor.
  • Pause, then slowly lower them back to the starting position.
  • Repeat 12-15 times for three sets

Tip: Use a lightweight

#3 – Hammer curls

Target muscles: Forearm flexors

How to:

  • Sit with a weight in each hand. Keep your Forearms by your sides.
  • Curl the weights up towards your shoulders, keeping them tucked into your body so that at all times, ensure they remain parallel to one another.
  • Pause and then slowly lower them back to the starting position.
  • Repeat 12

#4 – Reverse wrist curl

Target muscles:: Forearm extensors

How to:

  • Sit with a weight in each hand, palms facing up.
  • Curl the weights up towards your shoulder, keeping your elbows close to your sides.
  • Pause and then slowly lower them back to the starting position.
  • Repeat 12-15 times for three sets

Tip: Use a lightweight

#5 – Plank with forearm extension

Target muscles: Forearm extensors

How to:

  • Start in a plank position with your Forearms on the ground.
  • Your body should be straight from head to heels.
  • Extend one arm before you, then return it to the starting position.
  • Alternate arms.
  • Hold for 30-60 seconds.

Tip: If this is too challenging, lower your Forearms to the floor

#6 – Resistance band exercises (resisted supination, resisted pronation)

Target muscles: Forearm supinator and pronator

How to:

  • Hold an exercise band in both hands, with your arms straight out in front of you.
  • Hold your arms shoulder-width apart with the exercise band taught between them.
  • Rotate one forearm outwards while rotating the other forearm in the opposite direction
  • Repeat 12-15 times for three sets (per forearm).
  • Do this exercise twice a week, then progress by using a stronger resistance band.

Tip: Use a resistance band that’s light enough to allow you to complete three sets of 12-15 repetitions with good form but strong enough, so the Forearm muscles are fatigued by the last few repetitions.

#7 – Seated dumbbell wrist curl

Target muscles: Forearm flexors

How to:

  • Sit with a weight in each hand, palms facing down.
  • Curl the weights up towards your shoulder, keeping your elbows close to your sides.
  • Pause and then slowly lower them back to the starting position.
  • Repeat 12-15 times for three sets

Tip: Use a lightweight

#8 – Forearm pronation with kettlebells

Target muscles: Forearm pronators

How to:

  • Start with a kettlebell in each hand,
  • Forearms are facing up and palms away from you. Keeping your Forearms stationary,
  • Turn your hands so that the Forearms are facing down and your palms are toward you (pronation).
  • Slowly return to the starting position.
  • Repeat 12-15 times

#9 – Forearm supination with kettlebells

Target muscles:: Forearm supinators

How to:

  • Start with a kettlebell in each hand, Forearms facing down and palms towards you.
  • Keeping your Forearms stationary, turn your hands so that the Forearms are facing up and your palms away from you (supination).
  • Slowly return to the starting position.
  • Repeat 12-15 times

#10 – Forearm dumbbell curl with a twist

Target muscles: Forearm flexors and extensors, biceps and triceps (back of Forearms)

How to:

  • Sit with a weight in each hand, palms facing forward.
  • Curl the weights up towards your shoulder, keeping your elbows close to your sides.
  • As you curl the weight up, twist them so that your palm is now facing the ceiling.
  • Pause and then slowly lower them back to the starting position.
  • Repeat 12-15 times

Conclusion

You can find a kettlebell or dumbbell at most gyms and sporting goods stores. Remember to consult with your physician before starting any new exercise routine, especially if you have a chronic condition.

Now that we’ve explored the forearm muscles and joints of the forearm in detail, go ahead and try some forearm muscle exercises out for yourself! We hope this blog post has been enlightening on working your forearms without overdoing it.

For additional resources about working out safely, please visit our beginner area. Thank you so much for reading, and don’t forget to comment below.

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