It’s something you’ve always wanted to know but have never asked, “Can Hand Grippers Build Forearms?”
There’s nothing that screams strength and power like a set of bulging, Popeyesque forearms.
However, it’s not a muscle group that many of us train on a regular basis.
In fact, I’m sure you may have potentially never trained your forearms and are now worried that they’re lagging behind somewhat.
So, rather than making your gym sessions any longer, you’re wondering whether those set of hand grippers at home can do the trick.
Allow me to explain everything you need to know about hand grippers, training forearms, and overall forearm size,
Table of Contents
Can Hand Grippers Build Forearms?
Hand grippers can build forearms, although probably not the extent that you’re hoping for. The forearm flexors and extensors will be trained by using hand grippers. However, there is far more focus on working the forearm flexor. Additionally, to add size and strength to your forearms you’ll need to train them in the same way as any other muscle group in terms of reps, sets, and progression. So, it’s unlikely that a set of hand grippers will help you achieve this to the maximum potential.
1. You’ll Miss a Lot of Forearm With Hand Grippers
Firstly, I will say that hand grippers will build your forearms.
However, this will not be to the extent that you’re probably hoping for.
By this I mean, you can’t expect whopping, great big, muscular forearms from using a standard set of hand grippers.
With that being said, there are certain makes of hand grippers that come in a wide variety of resistance levels.
So, it makes sense that the harder the resistance level the more of a workout your grip and forearms are getting.
But, with the most basic set of hand grippers you can only take this muscular development so far.
Furthermore, even though grippers and squeezing in general will work both the forearm flexors and extensors, they are far more focused on the flexors.
In other words, hand grippers tend to work the forearms more when you’re squeezing them together.
So, in effect, the underside of your forearm will get a pretty decent workout, but unfortunately this isn’t the muscle responsible for significantly increasing forearm size.
Admittedly, much of the forearm muscle mass is worked with grippers, but they are not taken through their full range of motion.
Realistically, you’ll want to work the “show muscles” of the forearms to put on noticeable size.
So, this would entail training the forearm extensors and the brachioradialis much more than just the flexors.
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2. Work the Forearms Like Any Other Muscle
Okay, so we’ve established that while hand grippers can build forearms, this won’t take many of the “show muscles” through their full range of motion.
Therefore, you can’t expect some type of fantastic forearm growth through hand grippers alone.
And this is especially true if you have a standard set of hand grippers that don’t allow for resistance adjustment.
Basically, in order to grow any muscle (not just the forearms) you’ll need to adhere to certain training protocols.
In the main this will involve heavy sets, rest periods, adequate volume, as well as either progressively overloading in terms of reps or weight.
Now, you have the opportunity to progressively overload with hand grippers, but realistically you will have strayed into the realms of strength endurance training.
I would hazard a guess that after a while you’ll quite easily be performing 20 plus reps of squeezes.
Plus, this will obviously mean that the “exercise” is becoming easier for you too.
I have mentioned that there are various hand grippers that come with all types of resistance levels, and some are even adjustable in resistance.
So, in truth, you can work the forearms just like other muscles with a set of hand grippers.
However, it’s either a case of having to purchase new and higher resistance hand grippers regularly, or owning a set of heavy-duty, high-resistance, adjustable hand grippers.
But, let’s not forget that hand grippers don’t offer the optimal, all-round forearm training that you’re probably looking for.
So, once more, irrespective of resistance levels, hand grippers can only take your forearm training so far.
3. Hand Grippers Will Improve Secondary Forearm Lifts
Now, so far it probably sounds like I’m giving hand grippers a hard time, especially in terms of forearm growth.
However, I will say that hand grippers will obviously improve your grip strength.
With that being said, there isn’t always a direct correlation between strength and size.
Don’t get me wrong, if you’re incredibly strong and lifting big weights then you’re likely to add a fair bit of size to your frame.
But, training for strength and training for size will generally require different workout protocols.
As I’ve already mentioned, overall volume will do more for building size.
Nevertheless, simply by having a stronger grip you will find that you can perform certain exercises a lot better.
And many of these exercises will also indirectly train the forearms as a secondary muscle group.
I’m talking about deadlifts, power cleans, pull ups, farmer’s walks, hammer curls, etc.
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All these exercises will train a primary muscle group, but they also happen to work the forearms to a great extent too.
So, in effect, using hand grippers to improve your grip strength will help you to lift heavier weights, or perform more reps, for most of these exercises.
And it is from here that you may well experience significant forearm growth.
4. The Basic Forearm Exercises
If you’re looking to build your forearms then you’ll be better off concentrating on forearm-specific exercises.
Yes, the exercises I’ve mentioned above will certainly increase forearm size and strength.
However, this is in much the same way as rows will help to build biceps.
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So, once again in this example your biceps are being worked as a secondary muscle.
But, you know yourself that in order for optimal bicep growth you’ll need to train them directly.
And much the same can be said for training forearms.
So, in order to add size to your forearms you’re specifically looking at exercises like wrist curls, rope wrist curls, reverse curls with a thumbless grip, zottman curls, etc.
If you perform these exercises regularly, as well as using hand grippers and the other “secondary” forearm exercises then you’re likely to see some great gains in forearm size.
The Perfect Forearm Workout (Sets and Reps Included)
So, I hope you understand that hand grippers can build forearms, although this won’t be to the extent that you’d hope for.
Realistically, in order to add size to your forearms you’ll need to train them the same as any other muscle group.
This will involve heavy working sets, rest between sets, adequate volume, and progressive overload.
There are various exercises, such as deadlifts, power cleans, pull ups, and farmer’s walks, which will all train the forearms as a secondary muscle group.
Plus, you’re likely to build your forearms more through these exercises that hand grippers alone.
Additionally, if you really want to pack on size then you should focus more on forearm-specific exercises.
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Hi, I’m Partha, owner and founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I am a Level 3 Personal Trainer and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the Register of Exercise Professionals, United Kingdom. I have been a regular gym-goer since 2000 and coaching clients since 2012. My aim is to help you achieve your body composition goals.