It’s an important question to ask yourself, but it’s even more important you answer it honestly. For most people – particularly beginners who lack muscle building knowledge – the muscles of the forearm are among the most neglected in the entire body. Because the upper arms are the darling of all physique trainees, some people don’t put much effort (or zero direct effort) into training their forearms because they feel it’ll detract from their upper arm development. Or, they’ve bought into the idea that direct forearm training is unnecessary because they get enough forearm work from every other lift. Is forearm training really necessary and if so, how hard should you train your forearms?
You absolutely should train your forearms directly. Forearm and grip strength is critically important to almost all free weight exercises, and you will soon find yourself being held back in a big way if your forearm and grip strength is lacking.
To lift a weight properly you need to be able to grip it properly, and you also need to be able to maintain the desired wrist position – all functions of the forearms. And that’s not all – stronger forearms and grip give you much more confidence in your ability to complete a lift, which makes all the difference.
Most people eventually reach the point where forearm strength gained indirectly through other lifts won’t keep pace with the ever increasing weight and direct work needs to be done. At this point your entire workouts begin to suffer if you don’t do something about it. Powerlifters, to their credit, are very stringent when it comes to performing direct work on all different muscle groups and any powerlifter will tell you that forearm and grip strength is critical and to achieve superior forearm and grip strength direct work is definitely needed.
It’s also not enough to just have strong forearms you need to have forearms that are capable of remaining strong throughout your workout, resisting fatigue. For this reason I recommend alternating between doing heavy forearm training to build up maximum forearm strength and also slightly lighter training with much higher volume – pushing through lactic acid – to build up greater endurance. Sets of static holds in various wrist positions for prolonged time are also good, often enabling you to handle heavier weight.
A few months of this kind of work and you will really notice the difference in not just your forearms and grip, but all of your lifts.