Fat Grip for Fat Arms
The elusive addition to arm size and strength. The coveted secret grail to filling out those sleeves and adding girth to the thickness of the bicep. Bigger bicep gains can all lie within the realm of more reps to smash forearm work. How much does forearm and grip work add to size? Does it really improve performance of the upper body and lead to impressive strength of the arm flexors? FInd out today!
Forearms are what separate the men from the boys, they are a sign of hard ass work. Growing up, I would marvel at my Dad’s massive forearms. There were two things he had (has) that set him apart, physically from other men. Massive forearms and massive traps.
He was a washed up Division 1 wrestler, both muscular groups were likely an overlay from his training as a wrestler AND from growing up on a farm. Carrying bags of feed, water pails, catching animals for moving and butchering, all of these tasks develop that “farm strength” and it can be seen in the forearm. This carryover seemed to be genetic.
As I went through high school, my grip was always significantly stronger than most, and my forearm size was always impressive, relative to other athletes my age. I attributed a lot of my grip strength and size to labor growing up. Moving metal posts and signs daily for my Dad’s business, I learned what applied grip strength meant at a young age and this contributed to big, fat forearms. This led to an odd football story.
Playing football was a mental and physical release. It was a time to lose my steam, talk shit and release rage. One game, I was running my mouth and on a total tear. Sacks, tackles for loss, it was going down. After the game, I tried to befriend the opponents I was running my mouth to previously. One of my opponents came up and said, “we knew you were going to hit hard when we saw the size of your forearms!”
This continued to fuel my drive to smash my forearms to generate bigger arms!
Understanding Biomechanics: Brachioradialis and Flexor Carpi Radialis
When training forearms and biceps together, there needs to be a firm understanding behind the tie-in of forearm targeting with flexion. This is where the brachioradialis comes into play.
The brachioradialis is responsible for elbow flexion AND supination and pronation of the forearm. When this is understood, it can be recognized that any flexion and then pronation/supination of the forearm will lead to targeted growth of the forearm and upper arm. A classic movement that we use for this in Bize and Trize 1 and 2 is the Zottman curl.
The flexor carpi radialis also ties into the bicep at the elbow. By training wrist flexion, the athlete is able to target the flexor carpi radialis while ALSO improving recruitment of the entire bicep head. One of the best tools to use for enhancing forearm size and strength is with a FAT wrist roller AFTER hitting some bicep curls. This triggers massive growth in both the forearm and bicep.
Physiology: The Flexor Tie-In
Because of the connection between the forearms and the biceps, there can be a massive focus on forearm size while diminishing actual workload of the biceps. If the forearms are lagging in size and strength, they can handle quite a bit of volume because of their fiber type make up. This volume and stimulation will still enhance the biceps and brachialis. This flexor tie-in from the brachioradialis and flexor carpi radialis will continue bicep growth without even a ton of direct bicep work!
Back Work: Bigger Forearms and Back Work
One of the biggest paybacks that fat forearms provides is related to back work. When the forearms are stronger, there is less reason to use sissy straps to hold weights when doing back exercises such as one arm rows. If the straps are on for one arm rows, bent over rows and chest supported rows, we can hammer our lats but we lose the stimulation and growth that will happen in the biceps and forearms.
What’s this mean? An increase in forearm strength will enable you to use heavier weights for rows and ultimately lead to thicker biceps because of it! This also enhances intermuscular coordination between the forearms, biceps and lats. This improvement in coordination of a compound movement will develop a greater hormonal release, thus greater muscle protein synthesis! Forearm strength = stronger biceps = stronger lats = SWOLE.
Program for Big Forearms
1A) Fat Bar Preacher Curl 4 x 17
1B) Forearm Roller 4 x 4
1C) Zottman Curls 4 x 12-15
2A) Reverse Fat Bar Curl 4 x 12
2B) Plate Flips 4 x 6/6
2C) Standing Reverse Barbell Curl 4 x 20 (lighter for pump)
These are some of the simple routines we have used to develop massive arms for various athletes and fitness competitors. They are available inside Bize and Trize 1 and 2!
The big gains behind forearm work come from the growth between the forearm and the bicep connection. Because the forearm strength will carry over to greater stimulation for the bicep and then develop more fast twitch fibers which will increase strength and metabolic stress capacity. Forearm work will lead to bicep strength and greater back development as well. When compound movements are executed with improved intermuscular coordination, greater hormone release happens as does an improvement in muscle protein synthesis.
Dane Miller is the owner and founder of Garage Strength Sports Performance. He works with a select handful of clients on building comprehensive programs for fitness and nutrition. Several times a year he leads a workshop for coaches, trainers, and fitness enthusiasts.