DUMBBELL AND LEVERAGE BELL EXERCISES FOR THE FOREARMS
1) Standing Wrist Twist:
- for maximum flushing action.
Stand erect and hold a dumbbell in either hand, arms straight at the sides, weights at the thighs. The palms of the hands should be facing each other. Now, curl the weights up and in. Permit wrists to drop back to normal position and then twist them away from the body. Continue twisting the wrists back and forth quite rapidly and after 15 repetitions or so you should feel a burning sensation in the forearms and the area will be very pumped up.
Don't be afraid to work the forearms hard and to perform rather high repetitions in exercises for them. The forearms thrive on tough work and grow most quickly when trained vigorously.
Besides the palms in style you can also perform some wrist twisting with palms forward and also with palms facing the rear. You will find the exercise even more severe, and often more productive, especially in very stubborn cases of forearm growth, if you perform the wrist twist exercise directly after performing a set of dumbbell curls. While the curls are essentially a biceps exercise they do work the forearms to some extent, and merely having to hold onto the dumbbells while performing the curls tires the forearms considerably. Then, if you immediately perform the wrist twist exercise your forearms will get double work.
Still another variation of the wrist twisting exercise is to hold the dumbbells the same as mentioned above, but, instead of twisting the wrist back and forth, twist it up and down, to the front and to the back.
A final variation, and a very good one, is to start again as mentioned originally, but this time keep your wrists stiffened and merely circle the weight around to one side as far as it will go, and then to the other side as far is it can go. You will naturally have to move the entire forearm to do this as well as the upper arm, but the circle exercise develops the forearm area close to the elbow, and it is an important one.
To cheat in any of these exercises you use a little swing from the arms to supply a bit of motion to the weight and that permits you to handle heavier poundages and to perform more repetitions.
2) Zottman Curl:
- for a balanced development between the biceps and the forearms.
This exercise gets its name from George Zottman, an oldtime strength performer and all around athlete.
It is an important exercise for preserving a fine balance between the forearm and the biceps. To perform the exercise, stand erect, holding a dumbbell in each hand at the thighs, the palms of the hands facing each other. Now, curl one dumbbell in a circular motion until it reaches the center of the chest (this is the same as the front of chest curl mentioned earlier). Once the dumbbell reaches this position you twist the palm to the front and start lowering the weight off to the side. As you lower the weight you begin to curl the weight in the opposite hand to the center of the chest. This exercise should be performed in a very rhythmic fashion.
To cheat in this exercise you use a swing and a lean-back as needed to help you use more weight and get more repetitions.
3) Shoulder Height Wrist Twist:
- for flushing up the belly portion of the forearm.
Stand erect holding a pair of dumbbells at the shoulders as in a front double biceps pose, palms facing the front. Now, permit the wrist to bend forward, without moving the upper arm, so that the forearms will assume a goose neck formation. Still without moving the arms and restricting the action entirely to the wrists, draw the weights up and then back as far as they will go. Continue this wrist twisting front and back until the forearms are fully flushed up. You can also hold the palms facing each other and perform the wrist twisting motion in this position, and you can circle the weights from the wrists the same as you did in the standing wrist twist exercise.
To cheat in this exercise you permit just a little forearm movement. You move the entire forearm a fraction of an inch either front or back or side to side and this gives a good start to the weight, permitting the use of heavier poundages and/or more repetitions.
4) Goose Neck Curl:
- another exercise for bulking up the body of the forearms.
To start this exercise bend forward and grasp a dumbbell in one hand, palm of the hand facing the rear. Now, curl the weight up to the shoulder and while doing do permit the wrist to bend forward, producing a goose neck formation of the forearm. Lower the weight to arm's stretch toward the ground and repeat. Perform the full number of repetitions with one arm and then with the other. To cheat, swing weights slightly.
5) Reverse Dumbbell Curl:
- for ligament power.
Stand erect and hold a pair of dumbbells at the thighs, palms facing the rear. Now, keep the wrists stiff and curl the weights to the shoulders. Lower to the starting position and repeat.
Besides the hands together version you can also perform this exercise in an alternate manner, first curling one weight and then when lowering this weight you curl the other.
To cheat, use a little swing and body motion which permits the use of heavier weights.
6) Holding Heavy Dumbbells in Hands:
- for giving the grip terrific power.
For best results this exercise is performed with thick handled dumbbells. You can have a special dumbbell sleeve made, cut from 2 inch diameter tubing to fit in the center of the dumbbell, or else you can wrap adhesive tape about the bar until it is of the desired thickness. Of the two, the sleeve is more practical since it can be quickly removed and the dumbbell can then be used for other exercises where the standard sized grip is preferable.
The exercise is simple. All you do is load up the dumbbells to a rather heavy weight and then lift them off the ground, permitting them to hang at the sides. If the grip is 2 inch diameter as suggested, you won't be able to handle too much weight at first and you will have to grip tightly to keep the dumbbells from falling out of your grasp.
Merely hold the dumbbells at arms length at the sides until the grip gives out. Do not rest the dumbbells against the thighs for this would lessen the strain on your grip. Hold them free from the sides and then grit your teeth and hang onto them for as long as you can. Keep a record of how long you hold the dumbbells from workout to workout and when you can hold any weight for more than two minutes add some poundage. There is no way to cheat in this exercise. You have to do it in the manner explained for full benefit.
7) Knee Wrist Twist:
- for flushing up the forearms.
Sit on a flat exercise bench and hold a dumbbell in one hand, palm facing up, forearm resting along the thigh, wrist and hand extending beyond the knee. Permit the wrist to drop down. Now, curl the wrist back up and back as far as possible, maintaining the forearm on the knee. Lower the wrist again and repeat until the forearm is fully flushed up. Repeat the exercise with the opposite hand.
Besides the palms up position this same exercise can be performed with the palm facing down and the palm facing in. To cheat in this exercise perform the movement rather quickly, and this will permit more repetitions and the use of a heavier weight.
8) Pinch Grip:
- for strengthening the fingers.
There are many variations of the pinch grip exercise and I will explain some of them now. The pinch grip does not necessarily bulk up the forearms, but it does toughen the grip and generally strengthen your gripping power. Such strength is very helpful when handling heavy weights in curls and other exercises and therefore you should not neglect the pinch grip exercises in your routines.
The simplest version is to merely lift one or two barbell plated, sandwiched together, and allow them to hang at arms' length at the sides. Hold the weight as long as you can, until the grip gives out, the same as you did when you held the heavy dumbbells at the sides.
Once your fingers toughen up you can practice cleaning heavy plates to the shoulder using the pinch grip. You can also practice curls with the palms facing in, and the goose neck curl, while employing the pinch grip.
You can perform the pinch grip exercises with either two hands together, one hand at a time, and in the various curling movements you can exercise alternately if you prefer.
Almost any of the curling exercises and most of the wrist twisting exercises explained in this book in which dumbbells can be used can be performed holding a barbell plate in the hands and doing the same exercise pinch grip style. You won't be able to handle too much weight, and in some cases the exercises may feel awkward, but you can be sure that pinch gripping will work wonders with your finger strength. You cannot cheat in this exercise, you must perform all versions in good form.
9) Middle Finger Dumbbell Lift:
- for finger power.
Lifting weights using only the middle finger of each hand gives that naturally strong digit almost superhuman power. With practice you will be able to lift almost as much with your middle finger as with your whole hand, and when you can, your grip will be very strong.
The simplest version is to merely hold a dumbbell in each hand at the side with the middle finger only. However, once you get used to this you can try to curl the dumbbells and even press them above the head using the middle finger grip. And the thinner the bar you use the more you will be able to lift off the ground. You can perform curls, wrist twists, presses and almost every exercise you can perform with dumbbells, and using the middle finger grip will add variety to your workouts.
To cheat, once your fingers are toughened up, follow the cheating rules for whatever version of the middle finger exercise you are performing, as outlined in the dumbbell style.
10) Barbell Plate Finger Lift:
- for strengthening each finger separately.
In most barbell and dumbbell exercises the middle and index fingers do most of the gripping work. While the thumb does encircle the bar, it actually contributes only slightly to the gripping power, and the pinkie and second finger are relatively unimportant.
It is essential, nevertheless, for the arm enthusiast to give attention to all fingers of his hand, and one way to do this is to perform the barbell plate finger lift.
The exercise is simple, yet very effective. Merely place your hand palm up on a flat exercise bench. Then place a light barbell plate over the hand. Raise the plate up using only one finger at a time. To exercise the thumb you place the plate on that finger entirely. You will soon learn which your stronger and weaker fingers are, and you will use lighter or heavier weights according to their respective strengths.
You can also perform this exercise with palms facing down, and this version is a fine strengthener too. There is no way you can cheat in this exercise. Just try to use as much weight as you can and if you succeed in lifting it with one finger, you can be sure you are doing the exercise correctly.
LEVERAGE BELL FOREARM EXERCISES
1) Leverage Bell Curl:
- for great forearm and finger power.
A leverage bell is merely a dumbbell with weights loaded only on one end. It is particularly effective in forearm work, since the leverage principle places a strong strain on the gripping and forearm power, producing great results.
It is best to exercise each arm separately, since the leverage bell exercises require a lot of concentration. To perform the leverage bell curl, merely hold a leverage bell (with the weighted end facing front) in one hand with the arm extended down and at the side. Now, keeping the wrist stiff curl the bell to the shoulder the same as you would do in the regular dumbbell curl. The palm should be facing in, however, it can also be performed with the palm facing the front, as well as to the rear as in the reverse curl. Lower the weight to the thigh and repeat, performing the same number of repetitions with each arm.
To cheat, swing the bell slightly and this will permit the handling of heavier weights.
2) Leverage Bell Curl with Weight to the Rear:
- for greater action in the belly of the forearm than in the standard, weight to the front leverage bell variety.
The only difference between this exercise and the preceding one is that the weighted end of the leverage bell is pointed to the rear instead of to the front. This placement of the weighted end throws greater strain on the belly, or the meaty middle section of the forearm. Start as mentioned above, and curl the weight to the shoulder. You can also hold the palm of the hand to the front, and to the rear. To cheat, as in the previous exercise, you swing slightly.
3) Leverage Bell Goose Neck Curl:
- for bulking up the middle section of the forearm.
Bend forward and lift a leverage bell from the ground, the weighted end facing the front, the palm of the hand facing in. Now, maintaining a bent forward position curl the weight and permit the wrist to bend forward into a goose neck formation. Lower the weight to arm's stretch toward the ground and perform an equal number of repetitions with each hand.
To cheat, swing the bell slightly.
4) Lever Bell Standing Wrist Twist:
- for flushing up the forearm.
Hold a leverage bell, weighted end to the front and pointed well down toward the ground. Now, with movement at the wrist only raise the weighted end of the bell up as high as possible. Lower and repeat the same number of repetitions with each hand.
You can also perform this same exercise with the weighted end of the leverage bell to the rear, instead of to the front, and you can turn your palm to the front, and the back as well, but in whatever position you hold your hand you must always twist the wrist from side to side so that the weighted end of the leverage bell rises and then lowers.
You can also hold the leverage bell with the weighted end either to the front or to the rear, and then circle the weighted end from side to side. It is impractical to cheat in this exercise.
5) Leverage Bell Shoulder Height Circle:
- for combined shoulder and forearm exercise.
Stand erect and hold a leverage bell in one hand, arm straight and extended to the side, weighted end extending beyond the hand. Maintaining this arm position, circle the leverage bell first in one direction and then in the other. To cheat in this exercise bend the elbow slightly, and lean well over to the opposite side, permitting the use of heavier weight.
6) Seated Leverage Bell Wrist Twist:
- for flushing up the forearms.
Sit on a flat exercise bench, forearm resting along the thigh, hand and wrist extending beyond the knee. Hold a leverage bell in the hand, weighted end to the front, and weight pointed toward the floor, palm of the hand facing in. Now, keeping the forearm against the thigh, raise the weight up as high as possible. Lower and repeat. Perform the same number of repetitions with each hand.
You can also perform this exercise with the palm facing up, and twisting the wrist from right to left instead of up and down, and you can do it with the palm of the hand facing down, again twisting the wrist from right to left instead of up and down.
A final version is to hold the palm of the hand either in, up, or down, and then to circle the weighted end of the leverage bell either in a complete circle or else as far as it can go in one direction and then back again.
It is impossible to try to cheat in the wrist twist or the circling movement. Just make sure that you flush up the forearms well and you will be doing the exercises right.