Grip is something which a lot of people will overlook and it is also something many others will suffer from, well to rephrase ‘’poor grip.’’ There are several remedies to poor grip in today’s training world with the likes of wrist straps available (many variations), chalk and even sticky sap for your palms. However these are all ‘’actions’’ to overcome poor grip which ultimately correlates with poor forearm strength.
What do we do when a muscle is weak? Do we use a device to cancel that weakness out? Absolutely not, we train it!
So why should the forearms get an easier ride? Well this isn’t strictly true; they get a hammering during every upper body workout because you have to grip anything to lift it. The problem is though a lot of people become reliant on these straps which then doesn’t force enough stress on the forearm muscles to adapt. The great Dorian Yates holds this opinion and believes that straps should only be used for all out; heavy sets where they are absolutely needed. Using them for most of your sets where grip is required is only going to train them to be weak.
If you look at professional athletes like bodybuilders and powerlifters you will often notice they have colossal forearm development and you will also notice some don’t! It is quite often the ones who use straps a lot who don’t have such imposing forearms as those who choose to not use them for the most part.
If you lift heavy, train hard and frequently there is certainly an argument to be made that forearms don’t really need isolation work. However, if you choose to use straps on a frequent basis then this needs to change.
Forearm training isn’t dissimilar to training your calves; they respond well to volume, frequency and reps. Supersetting wrist curls with wrist extensions for 8-12 total supersets is a fantastic way to hit the muscles within your forearms. Rep ranges in the region of 10-12 work nicely per exercise with just 30-45 seconds between supersets.
Which one are you? Are you the type of person who reaches to your gym bag for the straps at the hint of a pump in your forearms or do you squeeze the metal between your hands like a nut cracker? If you are in the first group then hit your forearms with the kind of routine given above, if you are in the second group I would argue this is of less importance to you.