Archive for the tag - forearms

At Home Exercise for Strong Forearms.

Holy forearms.

Strong forearms aren’t just sexy – they’re functional.

When perform repetitions with barbells or dumbbells, some exercisers may notice that it is their grip strength (rather than the muscle being worked) that fails first. In other words, just holding onto the weights may be the greatest challenge – not the exercise itself.

Whenever I go rock climbing, I’m always impressed with the forearms of frequent climbers. Since grip strength is a necessity in climbing, their forearms are developed and bulging. It’s that sexy construction worker look.

In reading a recent article about climbing, the author recommended a very simple but highly effective exercise to build grip strength and forearm muscles. It only requires a tennis ball. I loved it so much that I wanted to share it with you. You can do it at home – or even at the desk while working.

In one hand, squeeze a tennis ball 20 times. Pause and repeat for two more sets.

Then, squeeze the ball between your thumb and pointer finger 20 times. Do this with each finger individually.

Switch hands, and repeat the whole series.

That’s it. But it’s not as easy as it sounds – and your forearms will be burning. Nonetheless, it’s a very effective way to build the grip strength that’s necessary for effective free weight training.

Rock Climbing: Best Workout Ever?

It's a bird! It's a plane. No, it's Davey Wavey...

You’ve probably heard someone say, “Exercise can be fun!” And you’ve probably had the immediate reaction of rolling your eyes. But not so fast!

Today, I had an opportunity to visit a local rock climbing gym. Surprisingly, they’re becoming increasingly common in old factories or warehouses around the world. For just , I received equipment, training and a day’s worth of access to the gym and rock walls. Monthly and yearly memberships are also available for discounted rates.

Rock climbing is an incredible workout for a number of reasons.

First, it combines strength training and cardiovascular exercise. You’ll be surprised how quickly your heart starts pumping and your pores start sweating. In terms of intensity, rock climbing is the caloric equivalent of about a 7 MPH running pace. For someone my size, it’s about 800 calories and hour.

Second, it hits muscles that are usually pretty difficult to exercise – namely your forearm muscles. The major forearm muscles are brachioradialis, pronator teres, flexor carpi radialis, palmaris longus and flexor carpi ulnaris – and all five get a major workout as grapple across rocks, pull yourself up and grip the holds. You’ll also work your upper arm muscles (biceps, triceps, deltoids), quadriceps and calf muscles.

Third, it’s super fun! Rock climbing something different – and it’s a lot more exciting and interesting than doing forearm exercises with free weights. It breaks your routine and can do a decent job shocking your muscles. It’s also a great idea for a creative date night. Just saying.

If I’ve convinced you to try rock climbing (and I hope I have!) then check out the international rock climbing gym directory to find a gym near you.

The Big Disadvantage of Weight Lifting Gloves.

Weight lifting gloves come with a price!

If you’ve ever been to a gym, you’ve probably seen men and women wearing weight lifting gloves. They are worn for a variety of reasons, but generally because they:

  1. Increase grip strength. Weight gloves make it easier to hold dumbbells and barbells while performing various exercises.
  2. Decrease calluses. Weight gloves prevent hands from becoming callused as a result of dumbbell and barbell exercises. They keep your hands silky smooth.
  3. Additional wrist support. Most weight lifting gloves wrap around the wrist and provide additional support during heavy lifting.

The benefits are admirable. But weight lifting gloves also come with a huge disadvantage: Weight lifting gloves damper real gains in grip strength. When it comes to lifting heavy boxes, changing a tire, hanging off a cliff or any other real life situation, you probably won’t have your gloves. In essence, the gloves provide a false sense of grip strength. Instead of strengthening your grip and forearms, the gloves do the work for you and prevent real gains.

For this reason, I retired my weight lifting gloves years ago. Sure, smooth hands are nice. But when I find myself hanging off the side of a 40-story building, I’ll be glad to have my grip. 🙂

Do you wear weight lifting gloves? Let me know in the comments below.

Crazy New Ab Exercise: Double Plate Press!

Truth be told, the double plate press isn’t just an ab workout. It works your chest, forearms, biceps and shoulders – but I feel most of the burn in my abs.

I freaking love it!

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Locate two identical weight plates. Start small – with 5 lb weight plates. You really don’t need a lot of weight to feel this.
  2. Press the two weights together, holding them close to your chest. The smooth side should be facing outward. This is the starting position.
  3. Extend the plates straight out in front of you, so that your arms are parallel to the floor. You’ll really need to squeeze the plates together to prevent them from slipping! This is the most challenge piece of the exercise.
  4. Pause, and then return to the starting position.
  5. If you can do more than 8 or 10 repetitions, you’ll need heavier weights. Repeat for 1 – 4 sets, depending on your goals and available time.

It’s new, it’s different and it’s a lot of fun.

Give it a try, and let me know what you think. And, if you’re up for it – browse some of my additional ab tips and exercises.

Enjoy!

Get Stronger Forearms with a Homemade Wrist Roller!

If stronger forearms are on your New Year’s resolution list, then you are going to love the wrist roller. Truth be told, I find forearms to be one of the most difficult muscles to exercise. But the wrist roller is one of the simplest and most effective things you can do.

What is it? A wrist roller is basically a piece of wood or pipe with rope hanging from it. The rope is attached to a weight. Simple enough.

How do you use it? Stand erect (yes, erect) with your arms extended straight out in front of you. Hold the wrist roller with an overhand grip. Slowly rotate one wrist a time to spin the role up the rope and lift the weight. Once the weight reaches the roller, reverse the motion until the weight reaches the floor.

It’s easy, but super effective. You can purchase a wrist roller online for $16 – $40, or you can make one at home practically for free. If you have a gym membership and your facility doesn’t have a wrist roller, but in a request for one.

Click below to learn how to make a wrist roller:

6 Exercises: Show Your Arms Some Love!

Arms. They are good for so many wonderful things. Like hugging your boyfriend – or even better, yourself. We use our arms when we reach for things – like the stars or our dreams. And we use them for practical purposes, like swinging them when we walk and carrying things around.

As it turns out, our arms are very important! And so, today, I invite you to strengthen your arms and express your appreciation for all that they do by trying some of these exercises.

They all involve free weights – barbells or dumbbells. So, unless you have weights at home, you’ll probably need to hit the gym to take ’em for a spin.

Bicep barbell curl

Barbell curls (My absolute favorite for biceps):

  1. Select a barbell and load it with the appropriate amount of weight.
  2. Stand tall and grasp the barbell with an underhand grip. The barbell should be resting at about hip-level.
  3. Slowly curl the barbell upward by contracting your biceps.
  4. Pause.
  5. Slowly lower the barbell back down to the starting position.
  6. Repeat.

Dumbell curls

Dumbbell curls (Another great bicep exercise):

  1. Stand in an upright position with your knees slightly bent.
  2. Grasp the dumbbells with an underhand grip, palms facing up. Fully extend your arms, keeping them tight against your sides.
  3. Lift the weights slowly until your hands reach your shoulders. Your arms should be the only muscles working during the exercise. At the top of the motion, contract your bicep muscles.
  4. Lower the dumbbells back to your starting position, arms extended and elbows loose. Repeat the exercise

21s (These are great for definition):

  1. Stand in an upright position with your knees slightly bent.
  2. Grasp the dumbbells with an underhand grip, palms facing up. Fully extend your arms, keeping them tight against your sides.
  3. Lift the weights slowly until your forearms are parallel to the floor—about half of dumbbell curl. Pause. Return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat 7 times.
  5. Then, start with your forearms parallel to the floor. Curl all the way until your hands reach your shoulders. Pause. Lower the dumbbells until your forearms are parallel to the ground.
  6. Repeat 7 times.
  7. Then, perform 7 complete dumbbell curls—starting at your sides and curling all the way to your shoulders.
  8. Repeat 7 times.
  9. Once you have done 21 curls in total (7+7+7), you’ve completed a set of 21s.

Hammer curls (if you get bored with regular curls):

  1. Stand so that your feet are shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees slightly. Keep your back straight and your shoulders relaxed.
  2. Grasp the dumbbells with an underhand grip. Let your arms hang down by your side with your elbows loose, not locked. For hammer curls, turn your palms inward so they face each other.
  3. Lift the dumbbells, slowing until the weights reach your shoulders and keeping your wrists locked in position. Your arms and elbows must stay tight against your sides throughout the exercise.
  4. Lower the dumbbells slowly and fully extend your arms back to the starting position. Maintain a straight back
  5. Repeat.

Barbell triceps extension

Barbell triceps extension (triceps exercise):

  1. Pick up the barbell and lay down comfortably on a bench. Keep your upper and lower legs at a 90-degree angle to each other. Alternatively, you can sit (as pictured).
  2. Point your elbows up, holding the barbell behind you. Your upper and lower arms should line up with one another for proper form.
  3. Lift the barbell slowly, fully extending your arms overhead and keeping your elbows as stationary as possible. The barbell should be help up straight over your eyes.
  4. Lower the barbell slowly to your starting position to complete the barbell triceps extension.
  5. Repeat.

Reverse barbell curls

Reverse barbell curls (love for your forearms):

  1. Place your hands approximately shoulder-width apart on the bar and lift the barbell with an overhand grip. Grip firmly, with your thumbs over the bar.
  2. Stand straight and relax your shoulders. Keep your arms alongside your body, and maintain your elbow and upper arm position.
  3. Curl the barbell up towards your chest in a steady, controlled motion. Make sure your elbows and upper arms don’t move from their original position. Focus on keeping your wrists steady.
  4. Pause, then lower the barbell slowly to its starting position to complete one rep.
  5. Repeat.

Any other favorites? Holler at us in the comments below.