20 Best Bodyweight Forearm Exercises You Can Do Anywhere

You never skip glute and leg day, and you’re pretty good about arms, back, and chest day. You work your core, too. When was the last time you did exercises for your forearms using your bodyweight?

So, why should you train your forearms? Strong forearms are not only aesthetically pleasing, but also play a crucial role in enhancing your overall strength and grip. It not only helps you lift heavier weights, but it also improves your performance in different sports and activities.

The great thing about training your forearms is that they respond quickly, giving you a significant return on your investment of gym time. Even better, you won’t need any equipment to target your forearms.

You can use these bodyweight exercises as a warm-up, include them in your regular workout routine, or create a dedicated forearm circuit.

In this article, we will discuss the following:

  • Forearm muscles
  • Bodyweight forearm exercises to build size
  • Bodyweight forearm mobility exercises
  • Tips to maximize your forearm gains
  • Forearm training program

Forearm Muscles

The forearm is a complex area of the upper limb that contains numerous muscles responsible for various movements and functions.

In order to effectively target the forearm, it is essential to understand the forearm muscles.

Let’s delve into the key muscles of the forearm:

Flexor Muscles

  • Flexor Digitorum Profundus
  • Flexor Digitorum Superficialis
  • Flexor Carpi Radialis:
  • Palmaris Longus

Extensor Muscles

  • Extensor Digitorum
  • Extensor Carpi Ulnaris
  • Extensor Carpi Radialis Longus and Brevis

Pronator And Supinator Muscles

  • Pronator Teres
  • Pronator Quadratus
  • Supinator
Forearm Muscles


Brachioradialis is one of the muscles that comprise the posterior compartment of the forearm. It is the most superficial muscle of the radial side of the forearm.

Training the Brachioradialis is essential for building bigger forearms and for producing powerful pulling movements like chin-ups and rows.

Bodyweight Exercises For Bigger And Stronger Forearms

It’s important to choose exercises that work many of your forearm muscles at once to make your forearm training and grip strength better.

By doing exercises that work most of the small muscles in the forearm, we can get the most out of our workout.

1. Dead Hangs

Dead hangs are a straightforward, yet highly effective bodyweight workout to improve grip strength and forearm size.

The study has shown that dead hanging is an effective exercise for improving forearm and grip strength, which in turn improves climbing performance.

It also promotes scapular retraction and depression, which helps improve shoulder stability and posture.

Dead Hangs

How To Do

  1. You should stand beneath the bar, reach up, and grasp it with an overhand grip.
  2. Your hands should be slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  3. Hang freely from the bar, allow your body to fully extend. Relax your shoulders and engage your core.
  4. Hold the position for a set amount of time, usually 20-30 seconds.
  5. To finish the exercise, release the grip and gently lower yourself down.


  • If you’re new to dead hangs, try shorter durations.
  • Begin with shorter durations and gradually increase the time
  • Dead Hangs: What it is, its unique benefits, how to do, tips
  • Avoid swinging.

2. Towel Pull-Ups

Towel pull-ups are a challenging variation of the traditional pull-up exercise that specifically targets your grip strength, forearms, and upper body muscles especially in the biceps and back.

When you grip a towel, it activates the muscles in your forearms, including the flexors and extensors, leading to increased forearm strength and muscle development.

Towel Pull-Ups Chin Ups

How To Do

  1. Take a towel of appropriate length and fold it in half lengthwise.
  2. Drape the towel over the bar, ensuring it hangs evenly on both sides.
  3. Grasp each end of the towel firmly, with your palms facing each other
  4. Hang free from the towels and keep your body straight.
  5. Then, slowly pull your body upward until your chin reaches or clears the bar.
  6. Slowly lower yourself back down to the starting position with control.
  7. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.


  • Make sure that the length of the towels allows for a comfortable grip.
  • Focus on maintaining a tight grip on the towel.
  • Engage your core and avoid excessive swinging.

3. Lateral Plank Walk

The Lateral Plank Walk is a full-body exercise that mainly targets your core, shoulders and arms. Take a walk on the wild side as well, as wild as a plank can get.

This move intensely engages your core like a classic plank, but the side-to-side motion works your forearms and delts, too. Plus, it’ll challenge your balance and stability.

The faster you “walk,” the more challenging this will be cardiovascular. Slow down if you need to dial down the intensity a bit.

Lateral Plank Walk

How To Do

  1. Start in a high plank position.
  2. Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles.
  3. Take a step to the right starting with your right hand and right foot and following with your left hand and foot, maintaining a plank position as you move.
  4. Do a set number of reps in one direction.
  5. Then repeat the same number of reps, moving in the opposite direction.


  • Avoid sagging or raising your hips.
  • Avoid rushing the movement.
Know More: Plank Exercise: Benefits, Variations, Muscles Worked, Tips

4. Crab Walk

The Crab walk is an excellent bodyweight exercise that targets the muscles in your lower body, including the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings. It also engages the upper body, particularly the shoulders, core, tricep, and forearm.

The crab walk is a great total-body exercise that doesn’t require any extra equipment, so it’s a good move to do when you don’t have a lot of time or fitness equipment.

Crab Walk

How To Do

  1. Sit on the ground with your feet hip-width apart and your knees bent.
  2. Place your hands shoulder-width apart behind you, fingers pointing backward
  3. Lift your butt up off the ground by tightening your glute muscles.
  4. Begin “walking” by first moving your hands and then your feet.
  5. Perform the crab walk for a specified distance or time period, or until you feel fatigued.
  6. Avoid excessive shoulder strain by moving your hands no more than 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm) at a time.


  • Be careful not to move your feet too fast for your upper body to avoid hurting your shoulders.
  • To ensure stability, perform it on a smooth, non-slip surface.
  • The crab walk can be modified by performing a seated version of the crab walk with your feet sliding instead of walking.

5. Monkey Bar

The monkey bars exercise relies heavily on grip strength, as you need to maintain a firm grip on the bars while traversing. This helps to strengthen the muscles of the hands, fingers, and forearms.

To balance and move through the monkey bars, you need to use your core muscles. This helps make your stomach and lower back muscles stronger.

Monkey Bar

How To Do

  1. Stand under the bars and make sure there’s enough space for you to hang free.
  2. Reach up and grab the first bar with your hands slightly wider than your shoulders.
  3. Start moving your body forward, generating momentum.
  4. Start by moving your hands one at a time to the next bar.
  5. Keep swinging and transferring your hands as you go through the bars until you reach the end of the structure or do the number of repetitions you want to do.
  6. Once finished, safely dismount from the bars. Ensure a safe landing.

6. Rope Climber

Rope climbs require you to use your arms and upper body strength to climb up a rope that is vertical. You also need your legs to support and balance you.

It is a full-body exercise that primarily targets the muscles in the upper body, including the forearms, back, and shoulders.

Since rope climbs heavily rely on gripping the rope, they provide an effective way to improve grip strength and endurance.

Rope Climb

How To Do

  1. Before you start, make sure you have a strong rope that can hold your weight.
  2. Grab the rope with both hands. Start climbing the rope by using your arms to pull yourself upward while simultaneously pushing with your legs.
  3. Use a hand-over-hand technique, alternating your hands and legs to move up the rope.
  4. Continue climbing until you reach your desired height or the top.
  5. To descend, you can either reverse the climbing motion or use a controlled descent technique, like wrapping your legs around the rope and sliding down.


  • Start with shorter climbs.
  • To prevent rope burn or discomfort, wear long socks.

7. Archer Push-Up

The archer push-up is an advanced variation of the traditional push-up exercise that primarily targets the chest, shoulders, triceps and forearm.

In the starting position, one arm is fully extended with the hand placed wider than shoulder-width, while the other arm is tucked closer to the body. As you lower your body, the tucked arm performs a deeper push-up, mimicking the motion of drawing a bow and arrow.

Archer Push-Up

How To Do

  1.  Start in a high plank position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Keep a strong core position and move your upper body to your right side.
  3. Pull your right chest toward your right hand as you bend your right elbow.
  4. As you lower toward the right side, allow your left arm to straighten.
  5. Your left arm should be fully extended, forming a straight line from your shoulder to your hand.
  6. Repeat the movement, alternating the tucked and extended arm with each repetition.


  • If the full archer push-up is too challenging initially, you can modify by performing the movement from your knees or using an elevated surface for support.
  • Avoid overextending or hyperextending the elbows.
  • Try to move slowly and carefully.

8. Clapping Push-Up

A clapping push-up is a variation of the traditional push-up that requires you to explosively push yourself up off the ground and clap your hands together before landing back down. This exercise strengthens the fast-twitch muscle fibers in your chest, shoulders, and forearms.

Many athletes perform them to help improve their athletic performance by building strength, endurance, and speed.

Clapping push up

How To Do

  1. Start in a plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart.
  2. Lower your body down until your chest touches the ground.
  3. Pause for a moment, then explosively push yourself up off the ground, clapping your hands together as you reach the top.
  4. Land softly back in the plank position and repeat.


  • Ensure that your body remains straight.
  • Don’t let your hips sag or your back arch.
  • Use your arms to generate power, but don’t swing your body.
  • Land softly and absorb the impact by slightly bending your elbows and knees to protect your joints.

9. Handstand Push Up

The handstand push-up, also known as the vertical push-up, is a type of push-up exercise where the body is positioned in a handstand.

It is an advanced bodyweight exercise that targets the shoulders, triceps, forearm and upper body muscles.

Handstand Push Up

How To Do

  1. Place hands a few inches away from the wall and a little wider than shoulder width apart.
  2. Take a handstand position with your heels touching the wall.
  3. Once you have kicked up, establish a strong, rigid midline position.
  4. While maintaining this position, try to lower yourself until the top of your head almost touches the floor.
  5. Press up with the same tightness you had lowering yourself, until your elbows reach full extension.
  6. Do the desired number of reps.


  • Warm up before doing handstand push-ups
  • Master the handstand against a wall before attempting handstand push-ups.
  • Start with partial range-of-motion handstand push-ups by lowering only as far as you can.

10. High Side Plank

The ability to maintain a high level of stability with the body in a high side plank position is a benchmark for fitness, core and forearm strength.

Once you can hold a high side plank for a few seconds, you can challenge yourself by increasing the duration of the hold, raising your top hand higher, or raising your top foot.

High Side Plank

How To Do

  1. Start in a side plank position with your body in a straight line from your head to your heels.
  2. Raise your body by placing your left palm flat on the floor so that it’s perpendicular to your torso.
  3. In this position, only your left arm and the left foot are making contact with the floor.
  4. Hold the position for as long as you can, and then repeat on the other side.


  • Don’t let your hips sag or your back arch.
  • If you can’t hold the position for very long, start with a shorter time.
  • Keep your core engaged.

11. Plank To Push-Up

The plank to ups is a great bodyweight workout that targets the core and forearms.

The plank to push-up is a compound exercise that moves from a forearm plank position to a push-up position.

Moving between the forearm plank and push-up position challenges the chest, shoulders, and triceps, helping to improve upper body endurance and strength.

Plank To Pushup

How To Do

  1. Start with a forearm with your forearms shoulder-width apart and parallel to each other.
  2. Keep your core, butt, and quads tight, and avoid arching your back.
  3. Press your body up into the top position of a push-up by extending your arms one at a time.
  4. Pause, then reverse the movement and return to your elbows. That’s 1 rep


  • Keep your core muscles tight and breathe regularly throughout the exercise.
  • Use an exercise mat under your arms to increase comfort and stability.

12. Chin Ups

A chin up is an exercise where the palms facing towards the body (overhand or pronated grip) while gripping the bar.

It is a challenging upper body exercise that primarily targets the muscles of the back, biceps, forearm and shoulders.

The underhand grip used in chin-ups places greater emphasis on the muscles of the forearm and hand, improving grip strength and endurance.

Chin Up

How To Do

  1. Grip the pull-up bar with your palms facing towards you and use a narrow grip.
  2. Pull your body up towards the bar by flexing your elbows and bringing your chest towards the bar.
  3. Once your chin is above the bar, hold for a moment and then lower yourself back down slowly.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of reps.


  • Engage your core and keep your body in a straight line from your head to your heels.
  • Keep your elbows close to your body as you pull yourself up.
  • If you can’t do a full chin-up, you can start by doing them assisted, such as using a resistance band or a spotter.
Know More: 25 Different Types Of Pull Ups And Chin Ups (Variations)

Bodyweight Forearm Exercises To Improve Mobility

You can do different stretching exercises to make your grip stronger. These stretches can help you get more flexible and move more freely, which can make it easier to hold objects.

13. Wrist Extension Stretch

A wrist extension stretch is a static stretch that helps to lengthen the muscles in the back of the wrist. It is a good way to improve flexibility in the wrist and forearm, and can help to reduce pain and inflammation.

It also helps to improve grip strength. This can be useful for activities that require a firm grasp, such as rock climbing or lifting weights.

Wrist Extension Stretch

How To Do

  1. Straighten your arm and bend your wrist back as if signaling someone to “stop.”
  2. Use your opposite hand to apply gentle pressure across the palm and pull it toward you until you feel a stretch on the inside of your forearm.
  3. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds.
  4. Repeat 5 times, then perform this stretch on the other arm.

14. Wrist Flexion Stretch

The wrist flexion stretch is a strengthening exercise that involves flexing the wrist joint and bringing the hand and fingers towards the forearm. This stretch focuses on the muscles and tendons on the front of the wrist and forearm.

Wrist Flexion Stretch

How To Do

  1. Straighten your arm with your palm facing down, and bend your wrist so that your fingers point down.
  2. Gently pull your hand toward your body until you feel a stretch on the outside of your forearm.
  3. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat 5 times, then perform this stretch on the other arm.

15. Finger Spread

A finger spread is a yoga pose that stretches the muscles in the fingers, hands, and forearms. It is a good way to improve flexibility in the hands and wrists, and can help to reduce pain and inflammation.

It provides unique benefits, such as improved finger flexibility, enhanced hand dexterity, and increased hand strength.

Finger Spread

How to Do

  1. Sit or stand with your arms relaxed at your sides.
  2. Spread your fingers wide apart, as if you were trying to touch the ceiling with your fingertips.
  3. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat 2-3 times.

16. Wrist Circles

Wrist circles are a simple and effective exercise that can help to improve flexibility and range of motion in the wrists.

They are also a good way to warm up the wrists before engaging in other activities that require wrist movement, such as typing, playing the guitar, or lifting weights.

Wrist Circles

How To Do

  1. Make small circles with your wrists, moving them in a clockwise direction.
  2. Continue for 30 seconds.
  3. Reverse the direction of the circles and make small circles in a counterclockwise direction.
  4. Continue for 30 seconds.
  5. Repeat the exercise 2-3 times.

17. Wrist Stretch Up & Down

The wrist stretch up and down is a stretching exercise that involves moving your hand and wrist through flexion (downward movement) and extension (upward movement). This exercise primarily targets the muscles and tendons located in the wrists and forearms.

How To Do

  1. Stand or sit with your arm extended in front of you.
  2. Bend your wrist so that your palm is facing up.
  3. Gently bend your wrist up towards your forearm.
  4. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.
  5. Repeat on the other side.
  6. Bend your wrist so that your palm is facing down.
  7. Gently bend your wrist down towards the floor.
  8. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.
  9. Repeat on the other side.

18. Clenched Fists

The Clenched fists exercise, as the name suggests, involves making tight fists with your hands and holding the position.

It is a resistance exercise that engages the muscles in the hands and forearms, including the flexor muscles responsible for gripping and squeezing motions.

Clenched Fists

How To Do

  1. Make a fist with each hand.
  2. Hold the fists for 30 seconds.
  3. Relax your hands and repeat 2-3 times.

19. Prayer Wrist Stretch

If you’re looking for a way to improve your grip strength or reduce pain and inflammation in your wrists, the prayer wrist stretch is a great option.

It is a simple and effective way to improve flexibility in the wrists and forearms. It can be done anywhere, and it doesn’t require any special equipment.

Prayer Wrist Stretch

How to Do

  1. Stand or sit with your arms relaxed at your sides.
  2. Bring your palms together in front of your chest, as if you were praying.
  3. Gently press your palms together and hold the stretch for 30 seconds.
  4. Relax your hands and repeat 2-3 times.

20. Reverse Prayer Wrist Stretch

This stretch primarily focuses on the wrist extensor muscles and can provide unique benefits such as increased wrist flexibility.

Reverse Prayer Wrist Stretch

How to Do

  1. Stand or sit with your arms relaxed at your sides.
  2. Bring your back of palms together in front of your chest.
  3. Gently press your palms together and hold the stretch for 30 seconds.
  4. Relax your hands and repeat 2-3 times.


Dumbbell forearm exercises are an excellent way to improve your grip strength and wrist stability. Dumbbells provide a versatile and effective way to train your forearms, providing movement variability and the ability to perform unilateral exercises.

With just a dumbbell in each hand, you can achieve impressive results. For improved performance, it is important to target the wrist flexor, extensor, pronator, and supinator muscles.

To ensure continued progress, it’s important to continuously challenge yourself. As you get better at the exercises, try increasing the weights, adding new exercises, or changing the intensity or volume of your workouts.


  • Mathiowetz, V., et al. (2004). Grip and Pinch Strength: Norms for 6- to 19-Year-Olds. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 58(2), 97-104.
  • Stasinopoulos, D., & Johnson, M. I. (2007). Cyriax Physiotherapy for Tennis Elbow/lateral Epicondylitis. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 41(11), 639-642.
  • Mark D Peterson. et al Low Normalized Grip Strength is a Biomarker for Cardiometabolic Disease and Physical Disabilities Among U.S. and Chinese Adults. Multicenter Study J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci2017 Oct 12;72(11):1525-1531. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glx031.

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