Here are forearm strengthening exercises for women that will not bulk up their forearms.

You can have stronger forearms and hands without that burly look.

The Wrist Roll

The wrist roll device is sold online, and some gyms have these.

The GoFit Wrist strengthener

Roll upward clockwise for a few sets, then counterclockwise.

Remember, it’s exceedingly difficult for women to grow big forearms!

Hand Grippers

These work the forearms, even though they’re called “hand grips.”

The best kind have adjustable tension. Many people squeeze these incessantly, building stamina rather than strength.

Think of hand grips as you do any other strength training exercise: an 8-12 rep max.

Set the tension so that 8-12 full grip reps are very difficult. This will take some experimenting; you may find that what you think was a difficult tension setting leaves you feeling you can do 10 more after you finish the 12th rep.

Increase the tension then. Remember, you want strength, not endurance.

Squeeze the handles all the way so that their ends meet each other, then release with a two-count.

The release is the negative; just as important as the positive contraction.

Performing hand grips with the palm down is harder than with palm up; be sure to use both palm positions.

The Reverse Curl

When done with strict form, these are maddening to the forearms.

Strict form means avoiding swinging the back and jerking up the weight.

Stand with feet shoulder width or so apart, a soft bend in the knees, and grip the weight.

Palms should be facing towards the floor, whether the weight is a barbell, kettlebell, dumbbells or plate.

Keeping upper arms at your sides and vertical, curl the weight to engage your forearm and wrist muscles.

Always release slowly. Don’t think of reverse curls as something you tack onto your workout after a biceps exercise.

Consider the reverse curl as a workout all to itself, just as you do a dumbbell press.

The Hammer Curl

If these are done while seated, the forearms will be isolated more.

The hand position is neutral: Palms face each other while curling the weights. Release with control. See the images below.


Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.
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