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Resistance band forearm exercises and workouts for muscle growth

These ridiculously effective resistance band exercises will sculpt strong forearms no matter where you are.
Written By  James Jackson
Last Updated on 4th March 2021
Man holding some exercise bands

The forearm anatomy consists of many small muscles. So, for optimal development, you need to work them from a variety of angles.

Thankfully, resistance bands are an excellent tool for doing just this. So today, I’m going to show you the 7 best forearm exercises that you can do with resistance bands and a spare 5 minutes.

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Top 7 resistance band forearm exercises

Take your pick from these forearm resistance band exercises or perform them all to see which ones work best for you.

Don’t miss the full workouts in the next section, because, for many people, they’ll be more convenient than a typical forearm dumbbell workout since bands are highly portable and great for the upper body, seen as they're low-impact. [1]

1. Resistance band forearm curl

A man doing resistance band wrist curls
Do them seated for improved forearm isolation

The resistance band forearm curl works the forearm flexors, which is the underside of your lower arm. For all of these exercises, we’re going to be lifting with high reps since the range of motion (ROM) on standing forearm curls and other such drills is relativity small.

Therefore, we need to stick to high reps to get sufficient time under tension. [2]

Hold your resistance band handles slightly out in front of your body with an overhand grip. Then, forcefully flex your hands towards the underside of your forearms. Squeeze your forearms to emphasize the contraction, and then release the squeeze and let the handles return to their starting position. Repeat for 3-4 sets of 20-30 reps.

Alternatively, place a band under your foot and perform the drill seated for better forearm isolation.

2. Reverse resistance band forearm curls

Man performing reverse wrist curls using resistance bands

If the tops of your forearms are lacking mass or detail, then the reverse resistance band forearm curl is one of the most effective and convenient drills that you can do. Stick to 3-4 sets of 20-30 reps for this one because the extensors are slow twitch.

Begin by holding the resistance band handles out in front of you, elbows close to being fully locked out. Then, extend your wrists away from your body so that your hands are elevated above your wrists. Squeeze your extensors as hard as you can, and then return the handles to the starting position.

3. Behind the back wrist curl

A man performing behind the back resistance band wrist curls
Many resistance band sets come with a door attachment

The behind-the-back barbell wrist curl (as it’s usually called) is also one of the best resistance band forearm exercises because it forces you to rely on your mind-muscle connection, seen as you can’t actually see the band handles during the movement.

To begin, hold the band handles by your sides with an overhand grip. Then, while keeping your arms still and fully locked out, flex your wrists by curling your hands towards the underside of your forearms. Squeeze as hard as you can, and then lower the handles back down. Repeat for 3-4 sets of 20-30 reps.

4. Rear rotations

Man doing a resistance band ulna deviation

Any resistance band forearm workout needs rear and front rotations because they work crucial parts of the lower arm that most trainees overlook. Just make sure to use a lighter band for this one because these small muscles can’t handle that much weight.

To start, hold your resistance bands with a neutral hand position (this may be easier to do without the handles). Then, while keeping your arms completely locked out, curl the backs of your hands up and away from your body. Squeeze your forearm once your hand reaches its contracted position, and then lower it back down. Repeat for 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps.

As a side note, if you don’t have any equipment, then you can check out these body weight forearm exercises for some quick inspiration as well as full routines.

5. Front rotations

A man doing a resistance band radial deviation

Front rotations are the opposite of the rear variation. So for an intense muscle pump and greater workout efficiency, you may wish to superset them. Also, don’t be alarmed about the small ROM. We’re trying to isolate muscles here—a practice that often requires small but very precise movement patterns.

Place your hands by your sides in a neutral wrist position, elbows fully locked out. Curl the thumb side of your hands up towards your body while keeping the rest of your arms completely still. Squeeze your forearms for a split second and then lower the bands back down to the starting point. Repeat for 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps.

These really are one of those unique forearm exercises for women and men that hardly anyone does, so be sure to stick at them until you nail the technique.

6. Reverse arm curl

Man doing a resistance band reverse curl

As well as the dumbbell reverse wrist curl, you can also do an overhand curl that works your biceps and brachioradialis, the latter being a key forearm muscle for adding size to your arms as a whole.

Hold the resistance band handles by the sides of your body with an overhand grip. While keeping your upper arms stationary, curl the handles towards your shoulders and squeeze your biceps and the top of your forearms as you reach the contracted part of the rep, which should be above the point where your elbow is at a 90-degree angle.

Finish the rep by lowering the bands under control until your elbows are close to being fully locked out. Repeat for 3-4 sets of 12-20 reps.

You may also wish to read our bicep and forearm workout guide if you’re looking for more upper and lower arm workout ideas.

7. Complete forearm curl

A man performing resistance band forearm curls

If you want a fantastic forearm pump in a short amount of time, then this is the exercise for you. Instead of training just wrist flexion or only wrist extension, we’re going to train both forearm functions simultaneously.

So if you’re short on time, or if you just want the perfect forearm pump, then make sure to include this move in your next workout instead of the dumbbell wrist curl and other such exercises.

Training one arm at a time provides better muscle isolation. However, it takes roughly twice as long.

Begin by holding the bands slightly out in front of you with an overhand grip. Then, flex your wrists and curl the band towards the underside of your lower arms. Squeeze your forearms as hard as you can, and then return the bands back to the starting position.

Now, as soon as the bands get back to the starting point, extend your wrists away from your body and squeeze the tops of your forearms. Again, after the contraction, lower the bands back to the start point. This is one rep. Do a total of 15-30 full reps and try not to pause between the flexion and extension components of the rep unless the pump is just too intense.

Also, feel free to do this intense exercise over a bench if you want to focus on one forearm at a time, as shown in the image.

Read more: cable forearm workoutkettlebell forearm workout

Forearm workouts with resistance bands

Depending on your available time and desire for an intense muscle pump, there are two resistance band forearm workout options to choose from. The simple routine lets you rest between exercises, meaning that you can probably lift heavier weights. [3]

The superset routine, however, allows you to cram in lots of training volume into a short workout. The pump will also be very intense, but you’ll likely have to lighten the weights a bit so that your forearms can handle the supersets.

Simple workout

Rest 30-45 seconds between each set and 45-60 seconds between each exercise.

1: Resistance band forearm curl — 3 x 25 reps

2: Reverse resistance band forearm curl — 3 x 25 reps

3: Complete forearm curl — 2 x 30 reps

Superset workout

Perform exercise A and then immediately do exercise B. After one A and B superset, rest for 30-45 seconds and then repeat.

1A: Resistance band forearm curl — 3 x 30 reps

1B: Reverse resistance band forearm curl — 3 x 30 reps

2A: Rear rotations — 2 x 15 reps

2B: Front rotations — 2 x 15 reps

3: Complete wrist curl — 2 sets to failure

Read more: bicep tricep forearm workoutshoulder and forearm exercises

Conclusion: How effective are forearm resistance band exercises?

Resistance band forearm exercises are very beneficial for building lower arm mass and developing definition because they produce an incredibly intense forearm contraction. They don’t stretch your muscles as much as the likes of barbells and dumbbells, but you get plenty of tension nonetheless.

The best part is that you can do full forearm workouts with resistance bands virtually anywhere because they’re so convenient and portable, not to mention very affordable compared to other fitness equipment.

References

  1. Iversen, V. M., Mork, P. J., Vasseljen, O., Bergquist, R., & Fimland, M. S. (2017). Multiple-joint exercises using elastic resistance bands vs. conventional resistance-training equipment: A cross-over study. European Journal of Sport Science, 17(8), 973–982. https://doi.org/10.1080/17461391.2017.1337229
  2. Burd, N. A., Andrews, R. J., West, D. W. D., Little, J. P., Cochran, A. J. R., Hector, A. J., Cashaback, J. G. A., Gibala, M. J., Potvin, J. R., Baker, S. K., & Phillips, S. M. (2012). Muscle time under tension during resistance exercise stimulates differential muscle protein sub-fractional synthetic responses in men. The Journal of Physiology, 590(2), 351–362. https://doi.org/10.1113/jphysiol.2011.221200
  3. Schoenfeld, B. J., Pope, Z. K., Benik, F. M., Hester, G. M., Sellers, J., Nooner, J. L., Schnaiter, J. A., Bond-Williams, K. E., Carter, A. S., Ross, C. L., Just, B. L., Henselmans, M., & Krieger, J. W. (2016). Longer Interset Rest Periods Enhance Muscle Strength and Hypertrophy in Resistance-Trained Men. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 30(7), 1805–1812. https://doi.org/10.1519/jsc.0000000000001272
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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