How To Build Popeye Forearms

November 12, 2021 0 Comments


In my last article I gave a detailed guide on how to build big biceps and triceps. In this article I will talk exclusively about how to build Popeye forearms. Forearms that will get you attention wherever you go and complete your overall arm development.

Importance of Big Forearms

Forearms are often overlooked in the training of a lot of bodybuilders in favour of biceps and triceps. However it is a big mistake to neglect the forearms. When you wear a T-shirt your forearms are heavily exposed, a man with big and powerful forearms will always get attention and command respect. Just like the traps, big forearms signify power and strength. My uncle for example had really monstrous forearms and I was always in awe of him just for that. I enjoy training the forearms heavily in my own training as I believe it sets you apart from a lot of other people. What man wouldn’t want to have forearms like Popeye?

popeye forearms

Exercises To Build Popeye Forearms

Now I am going to discuss the exercises that can be used to build bigger and more vascular forearms. In previous articles I have mentioned the kettlebell exercise for grip. This exercise is also great for the forearms, if you perform it for high reps you will get an insane pump in your forearms. Dumbbell zottman curls are another incredible exercise for adding a lot of mass and vascularity to your forearms. It is better to perform that exercise with fat gripz to make your grip and forearms work harder.

Another exercise that is highly underrated is the band forearm curl. This is essentially a forearm curl using resistance bands. You drape the resistance bands up high, take your grip on the bands and step forward a lot to get the full tension. Then you brace your wrist with your free hand and just curl using your wrist. It is very similar to a wrist curl but superior in my view. The range of motion is more pronounced as you are flexing your forearms a lot harder. Some will argue this is a bit of a narcissistic exercise in that it is just for show. One thing it will definitely do is make your forearms look more vascular and train your forearm flexors really well. Pictured below is an image of this exercise.

forearm band curl

Click Here To See The Resistance Bands That I Use!


In addition, just as I recommended in a previous article on the Ivanko Super Gripper don’t neglect doing dedicated hand gripper training. Either with torsion spring hand grippers or adjustable grippers like the Ivanko. They will aid in improving your grip strength when used consistently and add some mass to the forearms as well in the process.

==> Check Out Which Hand Grippers Are The Best Here ==<

Heavy farmers walks are another amazing exercise that will work your forearms greatly. You can make your farmers walks harder by adding fat grips to the dumbbells. This will make your forearms burn and add a lot of size and strength to them over time.

Another exercise that is under-utilised in most gyms is the reverse curl. The reverse curl can be done with a barbell or a dumbbell. I prefer to do this exercise using dumbbells as it is harder and there is more freedom of movement for the wrists. Just pick up dumbbells using an overhand grip with your elbows pinned close to your sides and curl up to around mid range. Do this for high reps and consistently over time and it will hammer your forearm extensor muscles. It will also target the brachioradialis really well.

A final exercise that should be a staple for most bodybuilders is the hammer curl. This is an exercise where you can really go heavy on. I like to do this exercise in a “tempo” fashion to make the movement harder. What this means is when you are curling the dumbbells up, count slowly “1-2-3”. You will really feel your arms working and your forearms will be pumped afterwards.

Open Hand Training

Another very overlooked type of training is “open hand training”. When working the grip and forearms you end up doing lots of crushing type movements and also movements where the forearm flexors are working a lot. This can over time result in issues such as tendonitis in the elbow for example or other overuse injuries. To combat this, open hand training is essential. You can get special bands such as ripper bands with different thickness that you can put around your fingers and thumb. You would then just open your hand against these bands and do it for high reps. This will work the forearms also and you will find your forearms will be on fire. What is happening is your forearm extensors are being trained. Many bodybuilders find that a lot of pressing movements can inflame the elbow. Regular open hand training not only protects you from developing tendonitis issues but it also adds to your overall forearm development in the process.

Another way of training your extensors is to fill up a bucket full of sand. Put your hands in the bucket and just focus on opening your hands. Do high repetitions to get a great pump in your forearms. It will also serve as a rehab exercise if you have a lower arm injury.


In this article I have gone into detail on how to build Popeye forearms. Big forearms will only serve to accentuate your physique and add an extra aura of power and strength. I also believe that training your forearms consistently with different exercises is highly enjoyable and also makes you stand out. Not many bodybuilders train their forearms with the same focus and intensity that they dedicate to their other body parts. I have explained the exercises that you can use to build bigger and more vascular forearms.

If you have any questions about anything I have talked about in this article please let me know in the comments. I would love to hear from you about the forearm exercises that you are doing at the moment and any benefits that they have given you.

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