The Critical Body logo

Is it humanly possible to get 20 inch forearms?

Probably not—unless you're this man...
Written By  James Jackson
Last Updated on 1st March 2021
Bodybuilder flexing his forearm

Today we have a fun topic on our hands: how to increase forearm size to 20 inches.

No, I’m not kidding.

There are people out there who actually have 20 inch forearms—naturally, without taking gear.

And I’m going to show you how you can increase your own forearm measurement without living in the gym or relying on chemical assistance.

How do your forearms stack up?

Does anyone actually have 20 inch forearms?

When they’re well-developed, the forearm flexors are truly a sight to behold. They have so much meat on them that, in many cases, they wouldn’t look out of place hung up in a butcher's shop.

But, does anyone actually have 20 inch forearms?

Yes, they do. For starters, obese people can have in excess of 20 inch forearms if they have a particularly high BMI.

I know, I know, you’re talking about lean measurements. Well, in that case, the closest person to the 20 inch club is probably Jeff Dabe, who packs a solid 19 inches. [1]

Now, Jeff is an arm wrestler and not a bodybuilder, so just imagine if he went on a traditional bulking diet. How big would his forearms be then? 21 inches? 22 inches? It’s anyone’s guess. But one thing’s for sure, if you have the right genetics and an incredible work ethic, then you can get genuine 20 inch forearms.

How would you even get 20 inch forearms?

Man pointing a syringe to his forearm

Chemical assistance (if you know what I mean) is the obvious answer. After all, most bodybuilders have pretty huge forearms despite using poor form and performing half reps for the majority of their training.

But, I think I’ve developed a method that could secure some of the larger-framed pro bodybuilders a pair of 20 inch forearms: rather than hanging around at 4% body fat, they’d bulk up to 20%. Not only would this extra cushion allow them to train harder and recover quicker, but it’d also increase all of their girth measurements, including that of their forearms.

Building size is easier with a larger frame because you literally have more space to 'hang' the extra muscle.

The reason I specify larger-framed bodybuilders is because some lifters simply aren’t cut out to have crazy levels of muscle mass. Don’t get me wrong, you can still use muscular illusions to look jacked, but building rock-solid 20 inch forearms—gear or no gear—requires some seriously splendid genetics courtesy of a hench father.

As a rule of thumb, if you have abnormally large hands and/or wrist joints, then you probably have what it takes to build award-winning forearms. But what are the consequences of trying to attain this loft goal?

The harsh truth about having 20 inch forearms

Besides the 0.00001% of the population, nobody is building 20 inch forearms without some “special supplement” to give them a helping hand. Obviously, these chemical compounds have some pretty nasty side-effects that I won’t get into in case you’re eating or sipping on a protein shake.

Plus, do you really want to live for the gym?

Don’t get me wrong, I love tossing around heavy iron. But if my life revolved around the pursuit of getting huge, then, well...I’d have no life.

There's good news, though. There are much more fruitful ways to spend your time while still reaping the rewards of having well-developed forearms.

The alternative to chasing 20 inch forearms (and other unrealistic arm goals)

Man doing farmer's walks

While building real 20 inch forearms is probably a step too far for most of us, that doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy the perks of having impressive forearm development. Knock the goal down a good few inches, and suddenly things become much more realistic—likely, even.

At the end of the day, some people might want to spend their life pursuing forearm world records. And that’s fine. But for me?

I’d rather have above average size forearms while still having a life. So I do the training that I enjoy and let the results take care of themselves. I supply the protein and the training stimulus, and nature does the rest.

Do NOT neglect your grip strength in the pursuit of eye-popping forearms.

For most people, grip strength training with some higher rep wrist curls is the way to go. If you can develop strong forearms that can lift heavy objects, then you’ll invariably also have large forearms. If your gym isn’t equipped with grip and strongman equipment, then the next best thing is probably buying a hand gripper and pinch trip trainer.

You could use these tools at home, which is doubly beneficial. First off, you'll save time going to the gym just to do extra forearm work. And, because you’re training your forearms in a separate session, you’ll be able to hit them harder because your nervous system will be fresher.

So, while I can’t promise you 20 inch forearms this Christmas, I can certainly help you to improve what you already have. All you need to supply is the work ethic.

References

  1. CATERS NEWS. (2015, August 7). Jeff Dabe is an arm wrestler who looks like a human Popeye. NewsComAu. https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/real-life/jeff-dabe-is-an-arm-wrestler-who-looks-like-a-human-popeye/news-story/2559d714e34bc8af7791c3ebe6a7e37b
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.
chevron-upmenu-circlecross-circle linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram