Dumbbell Forearm Exercises

Most gym enthusiasts tend to put more emphasis on building their chest, pumping their upper arms, and abs. But did you know that forearms should also be given equal importance as much as they are?

Forearms are considered to be the primary doorway to strength. This only means that if you have a weak forearm strength, your ability to develop other muscle groups especially the upper body can be greatly affected.

This is because forearm muscles are where the strength and power needed to lift various objects are concentrated. Moreover, strengthening your forearms is also associated with improving your grip strength

If you have a stronger grip and power, this will allow you to execute various activities that involve carrying, holding, or lifting heavy objects with so much ease and will allow you to develop other body parts more efficiently. 

Whether from day-to-day tasks such as carrying groceries, moving objects from one place to another, or from athletic workouts like lifting weights, bench presses, bicep curls, pull-ups, and many more. 

So if you are convinced and would like to strengthen your forearms and gain the mass you wanted, here is the list of the best forearm workouts with dumbbells to add to your next workout session! 

Keep reading to know more. 

Best Dumbbell Forearm Exercises

1. Standing Dumbbell Reverse Curl

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The first forearm dumbbell exercises that target your forearm muscle as well as the bicep muscle, is the reverse curl. This workout is a variation of biceps curl with a slight difference in the way you grasp the weight.

When performing a reverse curl, your palms should be facing downwards instead of up. However, unlike the standard bicep curl, it is recommended not to use heavyweights on this exercise especially for beginners to prevent wrist injury. 

Incorporating this exercise into your workout can help tone your arms and improve your ability to lift heavy objects better.

How to do it

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a dumbbell on each hand with an overhand grip (palms facing towards the floor) 
  • Squeeze your biceps, bend your elbows then lift the dumbbells toward your shoulder blades, then slowly back down. 

2. Dumbbell Wrist Curls / Palms up Wrist Curl

How to Do a Wrist Curl: Techniques, Benefits, Variations

Dumbbell wrist curl is one of the most recommended forearm dumbbell workouts that work to strengthen the grip and promote stronger wrist flexors. In this exercise, only the wrist is moving while your forearm is fixed resting on the bench or your thigh.

Like the first one, best to start with a lighter weight to prevent injury or muscle strain. 

Apart from wrist curl, you can also try its counterpart – the reverse wrist curls that target wrist extensor muscles. To do this, your palm should be facing downward, towards the floor and do the same movement. 

How to do it

  • Hold a lightweight dumbbell on each hand in a palm-up position, place your forearm on a bench while kneeling on the floor. Aside from the bench, you can also rest your forearms on your thigh or any flat surface.
  • Keep your hands on the edge hanging off the surface in a neutral position.
  • Curl your wrist downward as far as you can.
  • Without raising your forearms, slowly curl your wrist back up by flexing your forearms
  • Return the wrists to a neutral position
  • Repeat the process

3. Farmer’s Carry

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Also known as farmer’s walk, it is one of the best forearm exercises for the reason that it can be very useful to execute your daily task efficiently. This strength training exercise can be very helpful when carrying groceries. 

It targets your wrist and finger flexors as well as some major muscle groups including glutes, quads, abdominals, biceps, etc. 

Another great thing about this exercise is farmer’s walks are relatively easy to perform. You just need to walk around while carrying a heavy load of weights that you can handle in each hand.  

How to do it

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Hold one dumbbell in each hand while allowing your arms to relax down on each side of your body, palms facing inward. 
  • Keep your core tight, spine straight, walk in a straight line with your shoulders engaged.
  • Repeat the process.

4. Zottman Curl

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Zottman curl is one of the best forearm dumbbell exercises you can do as it is considered to be a compound movement exercise, this means it targets multiple muscle groups that can help improve not just your forearm but overall strength. 

How to do it

  • Stand tall while holding one dumbbell on each hand along the sides of your torso, palm facing forward (Underhand grip)
  • Without moving your upper arms, bend your elbow and curl the dumbbells towards your shoulder. 
  • Take a pause, then rotate the dumbbells 180 degrees (to overhand)
  • In that position, gradually lower the weights down.
  • Then rotate the dumbbells back to the starting position (underhand) and repeat. 

5. Dumbbell Forearm Rotation

The Dumbbell forearm rotation is designed to strengthen your wrist and fingers. This exercise is done by rotating your palm facing up to your palm facing down just by moving the wrists. 

How to do it

  • Hold a dumbbell on each hand in a palm-up position, place your forearm on the padding of the bench while kneeling on the floor.  
  • Keep your hands on the edge hanging off the surface.
  • Without lifting your forearm, rotate your wrist from palm up position to palm down then back to up then down.

6. Hammer Cheat Curl

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The hammer curl is not only a great forearm exercise but also pumps your biceps as well, this is why it’s a great workout to add to your next arm routine. This exercise requires you to focus on contraction and momentum to push the weight up, helping you achieve the strength and mass you aim for. 

How to do it

  • In a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart, hold a dumbbell on each hand. Keep your palm facing inwards.
  • While keeping your elbows close to your body and spine straight, your upper arms locked in place. Bend your elbow to curl the weight as close to your shoulder without swinging the dumbbells.
  • Pause, then slowly lower the weights back to their starting position

Wrapping Up

Including these forearms exercises in your workout routine are essential to help improve your grip strength and muscle mass, this will allow you to perform your regular task easily and effortlessly while also increasing your aesthetic appeal!

If you like this article, make sure to check out our other articles at ExpertFitness.org. 

Nathan Lloyd, MSc

I’m a personal trainer, based in Boulder, Colorado.
I service clients physically in the Boulder area, mainly in the ONE Boulder Fitness Gym, but am also available for online consulting and coaching.

If you’re interested in my personal coaching programs, please contact me via the contact page.