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March 12, 2022 8 min read

The arms have become a metric by which a man’s fitness and strength are measured. The bigger your arms and forearms, the more formidable and intimidating you look.

While the biceps continue to get a tremendous amount of attention, the forearms are equally doted upon and ogled at the gym. You might have massive upper arms, but without similarly big forearms, your arms might look weak and undertrained.

To remedy this, you need to grow your forearms along with your biceps. Below, we have outlined the best ways to grow your forearms more symmetry.

Why Are Your Forearms Skinny?

Skinny forearms are a pretty common problem among many people who are aiming and failing to get their dream jacked look. This is mainly due to many external, physical, and genetic issues that cause your forearm to be smaller and undertrained.

Common factors contributing to skinny forearms vary from age to weight, genetics, and even lack of proper resistance training.

Many teenagers might find themselves battling the skinny forearm syndrome. This is a relatively common physique problem that every lanky teenager would face. The average 15-year old boy weighs between 116-124 pounds. When considering the size, this would no doubt be on the gangly side, not enough to grow big forearms.

While this is nowhere near scrawny, teenage boys and young adult men on the lean side still thirst after bigger forearms. This might lead them on a journey to gain weight, hoping that it would at least result in an evident increase in forearm size. In fact, a study shows a significant portion of the adolescent boy population attempts to gain weight.

Unfortunately, forearm size is not as easy as eating more to gain weight.

As a teenager, your skinny forearms would begin to fill in and even out as you grow older and add muscle mass. This is not an independent factor as your forearm size also depends on your body and lifestyle. 

Your forearm size depends on your gene pool.

Like many of your other features like hair and eye color, skinny forearms can be due to your genetic makeup. If you inherit the tall gene, you are most likely to have less muscle and body mass distribution to larger surface areas such as your chest and upper arms.

This can result in your forearms looking skinny. Most importantly, your exercises, or lack of, contribute to the size of your forearm. Your forearm, like any other part of your body, is made up of muscles that require adequate muscle resistance exercises to stimulate growth.

A lack of sufficient and proper resistance exercises designed to target your lower arms and a lack of adequate nutrition to hasten this process is a recipe that results in skinny forearms.

The forearm is a relatively stubborn muscle that demands sufficient effort and consistency to respond. Growing your forearms requires adequate knowledge and the consistent application of the knowledge gained. 

forearm muscle anatomy chart

Muscles of The Forearms

Before you can figure out what makes your forearm tick, you need to know how it works. 

The forearm is the lower half of the arm that extends from the elbow joint to the wrist.

It is made up of two bones called the ulna and radius. While these are important, they are not as important as the muscles that make up the forearm.

The forearm comprises three major muscle groups, namely the Brachioradialis, flexors, and extensors.

The brachioradialis

The brachioradialis is the outermost forearm muscle located on the side of the forearm. It is the primary flexor of the elbow when your hand is in a neutral, supinated, or pronated grip, depending on the rotation of your arm. The brachioradialis acts as a supinator when your hand is pronated and a pronator when your hand is supinated.

The brachioradialis is an integral part of arm movements during functional and sports activities such as rowing. This muscle also helps to stabilize your elbow during flexion. 

Flexor 

The flexor or superficial anterior forearm muscle comprises five muscles named the pronator teres, the flexor carpi radialis longus, the palmaris longus, the flexor carpi ulnaris, and the flexor digitorum superficially.

All these muscles might have various independent functions, but they work together to execute movements of the arms and fingers.

Primarily, the flexors help with the flexion, adduction, and abduction of the hand at the wrist joint through pronation and supination. 

Extensors

Finally, there are the extensors of the forearm that help with the flexion and pronation of the hand. All these muscles are primarily functional, but they can also be targeted for growth and an evident increase in the size of your forearm. This introduces a new problem: the difficulty of building these muscles.

So why exactly is the forearm a challenging muscle group to build?

Why Is The Forearm Difficult To Build?

The forearm is a resilient muscle due to the muscle fiber type and insertion origin of the muscle in your skeletomuscular frame. The forearm is typically challenging to build because it is predominantly made of slow-twitch muscle fibers. 

The forearm is made of different muscle fibers, but it is primarily slow-twitch fibers dominant.

Slow-twitch fibers, also known as red fibers, are resistant to fatigue and more actively sustain postural needs and small movements.

These muscle fibers make energy use slowly and longer, making it more challenging to work them out to max fatigue. Slow-twitch muscles require a blood supply rich in oxygen for cell respiration and energy. They create less energy than fast-twitch muscle fibers and endure physical activities for longer.

This means that it would take more time, energy, and a different type of exercise from other muscle groups to work these muscles past their breaking point. 

Muscle and tendon arrangement can affect motor performance.

This is precisely why the origin and insertion of the forearm muscle affect your ability to grow your forearms. This factor, however, is primarily dependent on your genes and, unfortunately, cannot be changed. To make the most out of your aim for bigger forearms, you need to work around this problem.

The origin of the muscle is where the muscle attaches to a bone that does not move during contraction.

The insertion site, however, connects to a bone that moves. A longer insertion and shorter belly, which is the main part of the muscle, make it challenging to build the forearms.

With due process, you might begin to see results but at a slower rate than a short insertion point with a long belly. Essentially, there are a lot of factors that limit your ability to go from skinny forearms to massive ones. To develop your forearms, you need to devote time and energy to the cause.

strong muscular man showing off strong forearms

How To Build Your Forearms

There is no easy way to get massive forearms. Seeing that few exercises focus on targeting the forearms, it makes sense that no gym enthusiast goes to the gym with the sole purpose of a ‘forearm day’ to focus on the forearms. Introspectively, the only people who might stand to gain regular forearm exercises are rock climbers. 

The grip force of professional climbers is typically stronger than non-professional climbers.

Since grip strength is a factor of forearm size and strength, it is a no-brainer that a great way to grow your forearm is to go rock climbing.

So what happens if you have no interest in scaling rocks? The best way to increase your skinny forearm fast is to combine the right exercises with good food and adequate rest. 

1. Exercises

Many gym-goers make the mistake of focusing on building just the muscles of their upper arm, such as the biceps. They overtrain these muscles without giving much throughout to their lower arms. This leads to muscle imbalance with bulging biceps in contrast to skinny forearms.

If you are on this ship- or haven't started training your arms at all-, you would be better off switching the game and focusing on your forearms instead. 

The trick is to focus on direct training of your forearms with exercises specifically designed to activate your forearms.

Since arm exercises often include the upper arm, direct training helps your forearms achieve fatigue first, optimizing the contractions in favor of the more stubborn forearm muscles.It is crucial to train all parts of your forearms. This adds definition and depth to your arms, improving your aesthetics and physique.

Apart from general forearm exercises, choose exercises that train the brachioradialis, flexors, and extensors separately.

This can help you engage your forearms from different angles and hasten the presence of evidence increasing forearm size.

Some exercises you should check out include:

  • Barbell wrist curls 
  • Cable wrist curls
  • Plate pinch
  • Hammer curls
  • Reverse curls
  • Wrist rolls
  • Pushup and its variations
  • Farmer’s carry

Wrist curls are suitable for wrist flexors, reverse curls are splendid for wrist extensions, and hammer curls work the brachioradialis. Implement fat grips to add a bit of grip strength into the mix. Remember to perform high reps than you normally would per set. Endeavor to fit in 15-20 reps per set before rest. Train frequently for the best results.

To maximize your training output, incorporate the MASS STACK for extra muscle fullness, increased muscle pump, better muscle tolerance, and more muscle mass.

2. Nutrients

Food is the fuel that will help you get the job done. Like any other muscle group, your forearms require essential nutrients and calories to grow. Your body synthesizes proteins and other essential nutrients for energy and muscle growth.

Eating extra will ensure that your body has more than enough energy for fuel and the synthesis of new tissue

Aim to eat properly as often as you can.Spread your means 3-4 hours apart without missing a meal.

Eat about two hours before you hit the gym and once again as soon as you finish your routine.

Increase your portions and ensure your meals are rich in protein. Protein is necessary for the synthesis of new muscle growth. Your meals should contain chicken, tofu, eggs, quinoa, beans, or soy variants.

If you need to get in extra protein fast, try our delicious and healthy plant-based VEG-PRO  formula packed full with fast-absorbing protein and essential nutrients for muscle growth and repair.

3. Adequate Recovery

Your body requires rest to replenish lost energy and repair torn-down muscle fibers. Adequate rest hastens muscle repair and quickens muscle gain. Although it might not look like it, your forearm muscle requires rest like any other major muscle group. 

It is important not to overwork yourself. While education is an admirable trait, your muscles need adequate rest, if not, all your work to build shredded forearms might be. Don't get impatient. Maintain an average training volume. Rest in-between sets if necessary, and most significantly, get adequate sleep after your session. 

Switch Your Skinny Forearms For Bigger Ones

The ability to grow your forearms is not a one-size-fits-all approach. No formula promises massive forearms in no time. The time taken to achieve your forearm goal varies and depends on various uncontrollable factors like your age, weight, genetic makeup, and current fitness level.

Even with a consistent regimen of exercises, food, and sleep, it might take weeks or months before you see results. 

You can work around these factors and gain muscle naturally. With consistent effort and dedication, you will go from skinny forearms to Popeye in no time. To help you on this journey, check out the best forearm exercises for size and strength.