Intensive Forearms Training

I’ve took it from The Weider System of Bodybuilding by the one and only Joe Weider.

Our forearms, just like our calves, are solicitated several times a day. Which make them harder to develop than any other muscles. So the book recommends a daily (or almost daily) training for the forearms with reps between 15 to 20 with heavy weights.

Aside from weight lifting, the Weider System suggests to squeeze a rubber ball or a gripper a couple of minutes each hand 3 to 4 times a day

Other activities are suggested: rope climbing, chin bar hanging, mashing newspaper pages with one hand. Pinch gripping one, two or more plates between the thumb and the index up to 1 minute.

Some genetically gifted individuals like Mike Mentzer can get huge forearms just by holding barbells and dumbells with strength.

However the common man, in addition to his routine of heavy basic exercises, needs to intensely and regularly train his forearms with weight AND doing a supplemental activity almost every day. Then, with dedication, the trainee will eventually gets forearms shaped like bowling pins.

  1. Heavy basic exercises
  2. Direct forearms exercises
  3. Daily supplemental activity (squeezing a ball or an easy gripper)


After 3 to 4 weeks of “normal” forearm training you can submit your forearms to 5 or 6 days of at least 5 times mini-workout a day with an hour or more break between each session, up to 8 to 10 a day.
5 to 10 “mini-workout” a day with at least an hour break between for no more than 5 or 6 consecutive days.

  1. Reverse Curls: 1 X 8-12
  2. Barbell Wrist Curls: 1 X 15-20
  3. Barbell Reverse Wrist Curls: 1 X 15-20
The weight doesn’t matter here. Just concentrate on the PUMP for this “Triple”. Unless you live in the gym like Rich Piana, you will need a dumbbell or barbell set with some weights at home. 

In my case, I use a single adjustable dumbbell with 50 pounds of weight from Wall-Mart and two pairs of Fat Gripz (regular and soda can-thick) at home. 

This ultra-shock abbreviated routine can also work for calves for 5 or 6 consecutive days. Other muscular groups can benefit from these kind of daily routine but only for 2 or 3 days at the time.

‘The Incredible Hulk’ Lou Ferrigno (6’5″, 275-325 lbs, 22 3/4″ arms) had the biggest forearms of his era.
He used to perform seated barbell wrist curls with 225 pounds and had 19 inches forearms (gooseneck)
He had world class grip strength being able to pinch grip 120 lbs (2 x 60 lbs discs)
IFBB Mr. Universe 1973-1974
Competed in the first ever World’s Strongest Man competition in 1977

The 4 Basic Exercises for Forearms (by Joe Weider)
and the sets and reps of 15 old-school IFBB bodybuilding superstars

  • Reverse Curls (barbell)  2-8 X 6-40  – 11 Champions on 15 do it, usually for 5 sets of 10 reps.
  • Zottman Curls  4-5 X 6-10 – Only 3 Champions do them.
  • Wrist Curls (straight & reverse; barbell or dumbbell) 2-8 X 10-20 – 14 do it straight and 10 do it reverse also. 5 sets of 15 reps seem to be the norm. 4 do either version with a dumbbell.
  • Standing Wrist Curls (barbell or dumbbell)  3-8 X 10-15 – Only 3 Champions do it, 2 with a barbell and 1 with dumbbells.
Up to 5 times a week.

Lou Ferrigno forearms training
  • Barbell Wrist Curls   5 X 15-20
  • Reverse Barbell Wrist Curls   5 X 15-20

As you can see, volume seems to be the key to develop fantastic forearms.

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