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19 inch forearms: Are they actually possible for natural lifters?

They certainly were for this gentle forearm giant.
Written By  James Jackson
Last Updated on 5th March 2021
Bodybuilder flexing his arm

When the allure of the beach muscles wears off, many men start to pursue a larger forearm measurement in an effort to make their physique pop.

And who can blame them?

Enormous forearms command attention.

And, in addition to the neck, they’re one of the most masculine body parts because, years ago, before bodybuilding was a thing, you had to do real manual work if you wanted huge forearms. So in that sense, they were—and still are—a symbol of strength and work ethic.

See how your size stacks up:

Can you even get 19 inch forearms naturally?

Unless you have extremely thick forearm bones, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever have 19 inch forearms without a) becoming obese and b) without chemical assistance (if you know what I mean).

However, it’s not impossible.

Jeff Dabe, a professional arm wrestler from Minnesota, has legitimate 19 inch forearms. [1] And it’s not until you see his forearms next to those of someone else that you realize just how impressive that feat is.

Now, Mr. Dabe is obviously an exception. But, if you have a big enough bone structure, maintain a higher body fat percentage, and take up arm wrestling, then you too might be able to get 19 inch forearms without venturing over to the dark side.

How about while on gear?

Muscular man pointing a syringe at his arm

While many pro bodybuilders have 19+ inch upper arms, few have forearms of the same size. [2] Heck, I hardly know any pro bodybuilders that have even 17 or 18 inch forearms. But that’s not to say that they couldn’t get there.

After all, what body fat percentage is the average Mr. Olympia competitor? 4 or 5%, maybe?

And some of those guys have 22 inch upper arms. Now imagine if they bulked to 20-25% body fat (think Lee Priest style). How big would their arms be then? I’d say around 25 inches.

So yeah, if someone has 25 inch arms, then having accompanying 19 inch forearms definitely isn’t out of the question. In fact, you could say that’s actually quite a complimentary forearm size (and it would certainly capture the bodybuilding judges’ attention).

People who have genuine 19 inch forearms

Besides Jeff Dabe, there are few inhabitants of the earth that possess forearms anywhere near the 19 inch mark. The key word here is few, meaning that there are, in fact, people walking around with forearms bigger than some people’s thighs.

First off, obese people. Of course, members of the overweight population don't have ripped, vascular forearms for the most part, but this is mainly for example's sake. I’m not saying to sacrifice your health by becoming obese, but I am suggesting that you maintain a higher body fat (aka being shredded sucks) in order to increase the circumference of various body parts.

Like the calves, the forearms are one of the final body parts to deteriorate due to excess fatty tissue. So ride that dreamer bulk and enjoy those 19 inch forearms—genetics permitting.

People always have more impressive body stats online. So take these so-called "standards" with a pinch of salt.

One other type of person who has (at least) 19 inch forearms is the humble internet forum user.

These fellas, who are rich in rep points, and who stand at a minimum height of 6’ 3”, are known to have incredibly impressive e-stats. So much so, in fact, that their massive online physiques cause other lifters to feel self-conscious and wonder why their genetics are so bad that they too can’t enjoy life with gigantic 19” forearms.

I haven’t met any of these internet forum users in real life (does real life even exist, bro?), but I would never doubt their authenticity. After all, someone who spends 4 hours a day on muscle forums must be spending at least 8 hours a day in the gym. Boy, if I keep up my 6 hour forearm workouts, my 12 inch whippersnappers will soon ballon another 7 inches! I’ll keep you posted lads.

What kind of training is best for getting 19 inch forearms?

Two arm wrestlers in comeptition

Presuming that you have the genetic gifts necessary (i.e., a huge frame) to get your forearms over the 19 inch mark, there’s a very specific kind of training that you need to do.

Arm wrestling training.

The bodybuilders may know a lot about chest training, but their knowledge of the forearms just isn't of the same caliber. Ask any meathead how to get 19 inch forearms, and they’ll invariably answer “wrist curls,” as if we hadn't thought of that already.

Arm wrestlers have huge lower arms. And they sure do a lot more than conventional wrist curls.

Now, wrist curls are an integral part of any forearm building routine. However, you need to do them with thick bars to engage all the muscles of the forearm. But since specialty bars are a rarity in Globo gyms, you can mimic this training by doing wrist curls with the end of an Olympic barbell while it's slotted into the t-bar row holder.

And yes, I got that tip from arm wrestler. Those blokes know their stuff. So if you’re ever in doubt, listen to them.

The verdict: Have realistic expectations

Although building real, natural 19 inch forearms is virtually impossible for most of us, that doesn’t mean that you can’t try. After all, if you give it 100% and fail, then perhaps you’ll end up with 17” forearms. Not too shabby, right?

At that size, you’ll have bigger forearms than most people’s upper arms, and your physique will naturally command attention and respect. Just make sure to nail the basics—diet, sleep, protein, calories—and you’ll soon come close to maxing out your forearm genetic potential, which might be more impressive than you had originally thought.

Thanks for reading. And remember, forearms are the new abs! (or at least they should be).

References

  1. I y-arm what I y-arm...arm wrestler with giant forearms bears striking resemblance to popeye. (2015, August 7). Caters News Agency. https://www.catersnews.com/stories/quirky/i-y-arm-what-i-y-arm-arm-wrestler-with-giant-forearms-bears-striking-resemblance-to-popeye/
  2. Shaw, S. (2018, July 19). Determining Natural Bodybuilding and Arm Size Potential. Tiger Fitness. https://www.tigerfitness.com/blogs/workouts/natural-bodybuilding-potential-arm-size

James Jackson
James Jackson is a personal trainer who uses his expertise in strength and conditioning to create helpful workout tutorials that show fitness enthusiasts how to build muscle while staying safe in the gym. He draws on the latest sports science data as well as tried and tested training techniques to get the best results for his clients without them having to live in the gym.
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