Building bigger and stronger forearms should be a major part of any athlete’s or fitness fanatic’s routine.
Big, strong forearms not only look impressive but can play a key role in a wide range of different tasks.
Whether it is in your sport or just your day to day life, being able to grip objects harder and for longer really doesn’t have any downsides. Carrying, holding and lifting all become a whole lot easier when you have a firmer grip.
Inside of the gym, it is quite simple to build up your forearms. As long as you are doing relatively heavy exercises such as deadlifts and rows, your forearms will be getting worked very heavily during most workouts.
Building strong forearms without weights, however, takes a bit more creativity and specialized training.
Just because it takes a little extra effort, it doesn’t mean that forearm training without weights is any less effective.
You can still build some super strong and powerful looking forearms without barbells or dumbbells. This article will list some of the best weight-free forearm builders for you to try.
Best Forearm Exercises Without Weights
This list includes some of the most effective ways to work your forearms without using traditional gym weights. Some of the exercises may require some kind of equipment or external resistance but there is no need for anything special and you should be able to find everything you need around the house.
Pull-Ups And Hangs
Pull-ups are not only an awesome forearm builder; they are simply one of the most awesome exercises, period. All you need to something to hang from and pull yourself up with. Luckily, even the best pull-up bars are inexpensive and they can be mounted on doors, on walls, in door frames or on the ceiling.
Gripping the bar as you pull yourself up really hammers your forearms. For better forearm recruitment, using a pronated (palms facing away from you) grip is superior to a supinated, or underhand, grip.
If pull-ups are difficult or you just want to focus on grip strength exclusively, you can use dead hangs. A dead hang is very simple; grip the bar at around shoulder width and simply hang there for as long as possible.
The harder you grip the bar, the more your forearms will be activated. You can even make your forearms work harder by using a thicker bar or making your current bar thicker by wrapping a towel around it.
Another variation is to loop a towel over the bar and grip either end of the towel itself instead of the bar. This is extremely difficult and requires a lot of grip strength.
Weighted Carries And Holds
Another very straight-forward way of working your grip is to carry or hold heavy objects. Obviously, this one requires some extra equipment but it doesn’t need to be anything fancy.
All you need to do is grab something relatively heavy that you can grip in your hand and carry it for a certain distance or hold is in your hand for as long as possible. Grocery bags or large water containers are an excellent and very accessible option for most people. You can even use the towel method explained earlier to make the handles thicker and harder to hold on to.
So far, we have focused on static-hold type movements but it is also important to work your forearms through some dynamic exercises as well. Squeezes involve extending and then flexing your fingers against resistance to work your forearm muscles.
You have probably seen the hand-grippers that are available for this exact exercise. The grippers are excellent for building your forearms but you can also use a tennis ball to achieve similar results.
Take a tennis ball in one hand and squeeze it as hard as you can for 3 to 5 seconds before releasing your grip. Repeat this squeezing exercise until your grip begins to fatigue and then switch hands.
The bucket method is a common forearm, grip and finger strength exercise used by baseball coaches. You will need a large bucket filled with either dry rice or sand but the rice works better.
There are a few different techniques you can use but the simplest way to work your forearms and hands is to dig your way down by rapidly grabbing handfuls of rice or sand and work your way to the bottom of the bucket. You can do 3 to 5 reps on one hand before switching hands and repeat as many times on each hand as you feel necessary.
Weight-Free Forearm Workouts: Final Thoughts
As you can see from this article, there are plenty of effective ways to build bigger and stronger forearms without going to the gym or using weights. All it takes is a bit of creativity and consistency.
Just like any other muscle, you must stay consistent with your forearms training and aim to constantly improve over time. However, you must also allow enough recovery time for your muscles to repair and grow.
Overuse injuries and inflammation can happen as a result of over-working your forearms. If you begin to develop any nagging elbow or wrist pain, it may be an indication that you are doing too much.
Start slowly and perform 1 or 2 of the exercises above for 1 to 2 sessions each week and then build from there as you become accustomed to the training.