The Ignored Muscle Groups (Part 3)
Calves | Abs | Forearms
In this three-part program, we’ll go over the three least trained muscle groups. These are the muscles that everyone throws in a couple half-effort sets at the end of their workout. Or, they don’t train them at all. The idea behind this program is to give calves, abs and forearms their own day. This way, all your effort is put into these muscle groups compared to barely training them.
The final part of the program is forearms. Back in the “golden age of bodybuilding,” it was common to have forearm circuits set up at gyms. A lot of these machines don’t really exist anymore, and forearm training has become kind of a lost art. Many people think that their forearms get enough stimulation from arm or back training. I’ve noticed that whenever I train a muscle group directly, I see better results. So don’t ignore your forearms! Here’s the workout:
|Plate Pinches||3||30 sec|
The main muscle you’re focusing on here is the brachioradialis. This is the big muscle that flexes the forearm at the elbow. Do these with an EZ bar – essentially, it is just a barbell curl but with an overhand grip. I like to put my thumb on top of the bar to focus more on forearms rather than biceps. I also sometimes use Fat Gripz, which just make the bar harder to hold, this way engaging the forearms as well. Hold each rep at the top to really feel the forearms working.
This exercise focuses on the wrist flexor muscles. I prefer to hang my hands off the end of a bench with my elbows inside my legs. I notice this puts less strain on my wrists. If these bother your wrists, you can always switch to dumbbells, which allows your wrists to move more freely in case you don’t have that mobility. Let the bar roll down to your fingers before rolling the weight back up and flexing the forearms.
This exercise hits the wrist extensors. I keep my elbows farther apart on these, again to make it as easy as possible on the wrists. These also can be done with dumbbells. You won’t need a lot of weight on these. Get a good stretch and squeeze without using any momentum.
This is simply a grip exercise that involves pinching two 10 lb. weight plates together. If you have the type of barbell plates that have a flat side, you’re going to keep the flat sides facing out. If these are too tough, don’t hold it for 30-second sets or switch to pinching 5 lb. plates together. If it’s too easy, add extra time. If you have very strong grip strength, try pinching a 35 or even a 45 lb. plate on its own. Always try new things to challenge yourself!