There are four forearm exercises that provide balanced forearm strength. They take a total of about 5 minutes, and in addition to increasing your forearm strength, will help protect your wrist and forearm from injury. The four exercises are usually done with a sledgehammer, but can be done with anything that fits comfortably in the hand and that has some weight at a distance from the hand, such as a baseball bat or a broomstick (with a weight tied to the end if needed). The exercises are: radial deviations, ulnar deviations, pronations, and supinations.
Once you decide to strengthen your forearms with these four forearm exercises, the question then is how to go about it. There are 3 factors involved with how to perform a repetition —
1. the speed of performing each motion, fast or slow,
2. whether to perform partial range of motion or full range of motion,
3. how much weight to use.
1. Slow repetitions will have slightly different effects than faster. Full range of motion repetitions also will have a slightly different effect than partial range of motion. Generally for someone starting out, a comfortable, natural pace is best — not excessively slow or abnormally fast. At first a slow pace is okay, but as you develop forearm strength, you may end up limiting the amount of work the forearm muscles do, and thus hit a strength plateau too soon. Too fast a pace may develop too much momentum, reducing the workload for the muscle, but increasing the risk of injury.
2. Full range of motion repetitions also will have a slightly different effect than partial range of motion. Full range of motion will not allow as many repetitions as a limited range of motion, and may be more prone to injury than the limited range. As you become more accustomed to the exercises, you can try different speed and range of motion to provide the variety that helps stimulate growth.
3. The amount of weight to start with should be light. The number of pounds or the distance of the grip down the handle of the sledgehammer will be different for different individuals. Light will be very different for a lumberjack than for a 100 pound secretary who has never done any heavy manual work. “Light” should always be considered relative. When I say “light,” it means light for you — you can easily use and control it. At the end of the exercise, you should feel a mild tiredness in the muscle, but no pain in the muscle or joints (during or after the exercise).
Besides these factors, other factors that have to be considered are how many repetitions and how many sets to perform, when to do them in a routine involving other exercises, and how many times a week to do the exercises. If you are doing other activities or sports using your grip, such as tennis, golf, typing, or carpentry – you also have to figure out how to integrate the forearm exercises with the other activities.