The forearms are like the calves of the upper body.
They’re incredibly stubborn, you pray that other exercises will target them by sheer luck, and they’re far too weak by the end of a workout to justify a few isolation sets (all common excuses).
… which might explain the T-Rex arms.
But if you want to super-size your forearms to match your growing bis and tris, Jeremy Ethier’s Forearm Workout might be your answer.
Here’s a look at this two-day specialization routine:
About the Creator – Jeremy Ethier
Jeremy Ethier is a modern fitness mogul, the founder of Built With Science, and notorious for his evidence-based workout programs.
He’s a NASM-certified kinesiologist who’s borderline obsessed with the “brains” behind the “brawn” — to quote Athlean-X’s Jeff Cavaliere.
He ditches the overrated “bro-science” mindset without losing sight of the underlying goal: impressive, chiseled gains.
His popularity has exploded to include:
- 332,000+ Instagram followers
- 3.65 million YouTube subscribers
- Mentions in magazines like Men’s Health
- A fitness supplement line
Jeremy Ethier isn’t your over-hyped fitness influencer posing with tacky fad diet pills from a brand you’ve never heard of. He’s earned the respect of both fitness professionals and gain-chasers!
What is Jeremy Ethier’s Forearm Workout?
Jeremy Ethier’s Forearm Workout delivers some much-needed focus to under-sized forearms. Designed to enhance both strength and size, this specialized program consists of:
- Five forearm/wrist exercises divided between two workouts
- An emphasis on volume, flexor and extensor exercises, and grip strength
- Adding these workouts to the end of pull or arm days
- Basic home gym equipment, like barbells, weight plates, and dumbbells
- Tailored toward any experience level
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Each dumbbell adjusts from 5 to 52.5 pounds. Rapidly switch from one exercise to the next. You don’t need multiple dumbbells cluttering up your home gym.
Most guys give way too much attention to their bis and tris and then wonder why their arms look “out of balance”. Adding some targeted forearm work can improve your proportions and move you closer to those elusive ideal male body measurements.
There’s no need to commit an entire hour-long workout twice a week to sculpting thicker forearms. Faster than his aesthetic traps workout, all it takes is a few sets and maybe 5–10 minutes after a tough arm workout.
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Aesthetic Forearm Workout Details
Jeremy Ethier’s forearm routine for mass and strength is remarkably simple. Let’s take a quick look at this aesthetic workout.
Day 1 (At the End of an Arm or Pull Workout)*
- Barbell Suitcase Isometric Hold – 30 seconds each side (60 seconds rest)**
- Wrist Roller – 30 seconds each direction (60 seconds rest)
Day 2 (At the End of an Arm or Pull Workout)
- Standing Wrist Curl – 2–3 sets x 15–20 reps (60 seconds rest)
- Standing Wrist Extension – 2–3 sets x 15–20 reps (60 seconds rest)
* = Ethier didn’t mention how long to recover between sets; we took the liberty to add 60 seconds of rest, supported by a 2009 review suggesting that 30–60 seconds triggers the most growth.
** = Or, you can perform the more beginner-friendly farmer’s walks instead.
Jeremy Ethier’s Forearm Workout Pros
1. It’s Built With Science …
There’s nothing worse than a terrible play on words (we couldn’t resist).
But Jeremy Ethier built this program on a purely scientific foundation. He backs this simplistic yet effective 4–5 exercise routine with nine relevant studies, including those that:
- Support 2–3 forearm training sessions per week (2017)
- Prove that reverse curls are ideal for brachioradialis development (1995)
- Suggest dynamic — not isometric exercises like farmer’s walks — are better for muscular hypertrophy (2012)
You don’t have to “hope” it works; know it does!
2. It’s Reasonable.
When you dabble in specialization routines, low expectations are the unspoken norm. Plenty of “bro-science” followers suggest ridiculous, 20–30 set workouts that are downright overkill.
This routine finds the balance between simple and effective.
It’ll likely add just 5–10 minutes to your pull or arm day. All that without swaying from the science that says that twice a week is the ideal frequency for hypertrophy (2018).
If you’re already doing grip-related exercises like deadlifts or curls as part of a full body aesthetic workout, this routine might be the slight nudge you need to encourage that desired growth.
3. You Can Do It At Home.
Perhaps the greatest perk is that you don’t need any fancy forearm equipment. As long as you have a barbell and plates or an adjustable dumbbell set, you can knock it out at home.
You’ll see growth as long as you set your sights on volume!
When you hit the rep goals or feel as if you could continue the hold for another 15–30 seconds, it’s time to add weight.
Jeremy Ethier’s Forearm Workout Cons
1. There Are No Guarantees.
Just like the calves, some people are lucky enough to hit the forearm genetic jackpot. You could drag this routine out 12, 16, even 24 weeks and only see slight changes.
That’s not Jeremy Ethier’s fault.
But it’s worth pointing out that this routine might not be the magic fix for hard-gaining forearms.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should You Lift Heavy for Forearms?
While lifting with heavier weights can help support muscle growth, it’s not necessarily the only way to add mass to those stubborn forearm muscles.
In fact, one study from 2015 revealed that training volume plays a more substantial role in growth than previously thought.
Researchers discovered that high and low-load lifting could both lead to hypertrophy, though a higher load tends to be more efficient (8.6% vs. 5.3% elbow flexor growth, respectively).
However, since your forearms see action when you wrap your fingers around a barbell (squats, curls, deadlifts), there’s no need to lift extraordinarily heavy for every forearm exercise.
Choose a weight that allows you to perform 8–12 reps without risking form.
Can I Train Forearms Daily?
It’s entirely possible to train your forearms daily, though you could be creeping into “overtraining” territory depending on how you decide to train them.
There’s a few tidbits of logic behind this.
For one, the forearms — much like your legs — take the brunt of your daily activities. Every time you grip the steering wheel or carry heavy objects in your hands, those muscles come into play.
However, remember that your muscles repair and rebuild during rest. And, research from 2019 discovered that 48–72 hours of rest in between workouts is ideal for growth and strength.
A 2004 clinical trial proves that daily forearm work might simply be overkill. However, a three-day-a-week, 12-week isolation forearm program could ramp up your:
- Wrist & forearm strength
- Bench press 3RM
- Parallel squat 3RM
Aim for 2–4 forearm workouts a week with a day of rest wedged in between.
Do Forearms Grow Fast?
Unfortunately, the forearms don’t grow as quickly as other muscles. That’s likely because the forearms consist of mostly slow-twitch muscle fibers, which are notoriously harder to thicken.
The fast vs. slow-twitch fiber debate is precisely why cross country runners tend to be lankier (more slow-twitch) while powerlifters and sprinters are often more muscular (fast-twitch).
Yet, you can also encourage your forearms to grow at a quicker pace.
Some ways to do that include:
- Double-overhand deadlifts
- Farmer’s walks
- Rock climbing (not exactly lifting-related, but still a blast and forearm-igniter)
- Legitimate forearm exercises
- Dead hangs
- Pull-ups or chin-ups
Don’t forget to dial in your aesthetic diet and load up on protein (0.8+ grams per pound, according to the ACSM with regular food or protein powder) and creatine (which can enhance strength by 8%) to add some mass to those weak arms.
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Aesthetic Forearm Workout Conclusion
Jeremy Ethier’s Forearm Workout is a great introduction to building beefier wrists and leaving those T-Rex arms in the Cretaceous Period.
It’s just enough to ensure growth without the risk of overtraining. And there’s more than enough science to back up the “whys” — nine studies to be exact.
But not everyone is destined for massive forearms.
If you’re still struggling to pack on mass after adding this routine, try additional grip-building exercises, like farmer’s walks, pull-ups, and double-overhand deadlifts.
Build a Superhero Body Without Training Like One
Getting in shape isn’t easy. But this program gives you a real-life approach to building a leaner, more muscular body without obsessing over fitness 24/7.