I'm not sure if Popeye did any of the forearm exercises I'm about to describe, but I guarantee it wasn't the spinach that gave him those insane forearms.
As a sailor Popeye may not have done any direct forearm training, but we’ll never know because Popeye wasn’t a real person and we can’t ask him how he trained or recovered beyond eating spinach straight out of a can, but I digress.
What Popeye did teach us is that super skinny women love them and they’re essential for tackling life's physical challenges.
In Popeye's case, strong forearms helped him kick Bluto's ass and win the heart of Olive Oyl. In your case, strong forearms will help improve your performance in sports and with completing physical tasks like using a screw driver and opening jars.
I'm not going to guarantee you the forearm exercises in this post will get you a hot girlfriend like Olive Oyl, but I will guarantee you they'll help spare you the embarrassment of having your boyfriend or girlfriend open a jar of pickles for you.
I've seen that happen and it's not pretty.
Why You Should Do Forearm Exercises
The muscles and tendons in the forearms are essential for bending the wrist and for opening and closing the hand. They are also responsible for keeping the wrist stable when under a heavy load or torque.
Forearm and grip muscles are used everyday, so it is important to do regular forearm exercises that target and train them directly. If your forearms are looking a little flat, make sure to do one or more of these forearm exercises at least once a week.
5 Forearm Exercises for Popeye Sized Arms
Forearm Exercise #1: Wrist Curls
Wrist Curls are a great forearm exercise for building strength and endurance in the forearms. Plus, they're very easy to do and can be modified easily for whatever equipment you have available; that is, barbell, dumbbell, kettlebell, exercise bands, etc.
Unlike many other forearm exercises, Wrist Curls can be loaded directly to build a ton of forearm strength and trigger hypertrophy.
Forearm Exercise #2: Pistol Grip Kettlebell Curls
Pistol Grip Kettlebell Curls are great for working the top part of the forearm and are similar to reverse grip curls (also a great forearm blaster).
They are called pistol grip because you hold the handle of the bell like a pistol and point the bell away from you.
Tip: Our preferred way to perform this exercise is as an isometric exercise, holding the bell with your elbow at 90 degrees. This really challenges the grip and the muscular endurance of your forearm muscles.
Read our article on 3 great kettlebell arm exercises here.
Forearm Exercise #3: Bottoms Up KB Press
The Bottoms Up Press is a great grip and forearm exercise; especially for working the stabilizing muscles. When doing a Bottoms Up Press, the muscles on both sides the forearm must balance each other out in order to keep the kettlebell from falling to either side.
Tip: Because of the extra level of difficulty and risk with this exercise, it is best to use a lower weight to avoid dropping the bell.
Forearm Exercise #4: Plate Pinches
Plate Pinches are a great forearm exercise that emphasizes the muscles of the hands and fingers. To do a plate pinch, simply put to weight plates together facing each other and then pick them up pinching them together with your finger tips.
Plate Pinches are a great exercise to do during your rest periods or in between exercises. Start by pinch two 5 or 10 lb plates together and then progress over time.
Forearm Exercise #5: Dead Hangs
Dead Hangs are probably my favorite forearm exercise of all time. Not only do they work your forearms and hands, they also provide an incredible stretch and traction for the shoulders and lats.
To do a Dead Hang, simply hang from a pull up bar with your palms facing away from your body. Once in this position, simply hang for as long as you can without swinging or swaying.
Conclusion: The grip and forearm muscles are essential for everyday activities and should be trained regularly. Not all of us have the genetics to have Popeye sized forearms, but using the forearm exercises described in this post can help you build strong, functional forearms.
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