Slimming and toning are the main effects sought by women doing forearm exercises. Men generally want larger forearms and stronger grip strength. Athletes, whether men or women, seek better athletic performance through functional strength and injury prevention. Many older men or women use forearm exercises to improve functional strength for daily activities or to rehabilitate after an injury. These differing goals require different approaches to forearm exercise. A slim, toned forearm is obtained with a different exercise routine than the routine to produce a large and muscular or functionally strong forearm.
For most women replacing a flabby forearm with a slim and toned forearm is the goal of forearm exercise. They do not want muscular forearms or thick wrists. They have little concern for increasing forearm strength. The main exceptions are the female athlete and the woman who has lost adequate strength to perform day to day tasks. They will have the same goals as their male counterparts, but may not want as much strength or size.
The brachioradialis is the main muscle contributing to the appearance of a large forearm. Women not wanting a large, muscular forearm appearance should avoid exercising this muscle, unless the forearm remains flabby in the upper outer aspect where the brachioradialis is located. This is easy to do while still exercising the other muscles of the forearm to give a toned appearance while avoiding a large, muscular appearing forearm.
The hammer curl is the main exercise that develops the brachioradialis, so for most women this exercise should be avoided. If there still is some flabbiness in the upper forearm on the outside of the elbow (where the brachioradialis is) after doing the other forearm exercises for a while, the hammer curl can be done to help tone that area. Light weights and very high repetitions are best. They should not cause excessive tiredness in the muscle. Generally, high repetitions, light weight and light tiredness are the goals for any exercise in which tone instead of size and strength is the goal.
Exercises that work on the meaty part on the front side of the forearm are also to be minimized. These muscles are exercised most by thick bar exercises and heavy grippers. Using grip rings, lighter grippers and dumbbells are okay, because you can use higher repetitions without excessive tiredness in the muscles.
The best exercises for toning the forearm without excessive size are radial deviations, ulnar deviations, pronations, and supinations. Videos of a woman doing these exercises with a rubber mallet are on the blog mentioned below. For the athlete or anyone trying to increase strength or forearm size, these exercises are helpful, but are done differently than someone seeking improved tone.
To tone the muscles, the number of repetitions should be high and the amount of weight low. A good way to start is to use a broom stick or a dumbbell bar without plates. By doing them until a mild tiredness is felt after 100 or more repetitions, and being consistent, a toning effect will be achieved. If tiredness is felt before 100 repetitions, a lighter weight should be used. This can be done by using a shorter length of broomstick. If there is no tiredness with 100 repetitions, increase repetitions rather than weight. If 300 repetitions are done, then increase the weight by having a longer broomstick or by attaching a light weight to the end of the broomstick. For more information see http://www.forearm-exercises.org/forearm-exercises/forearm-exercises-to-slim-and-tone-womens-forearms
Glenn Allison is a physician with both medical and law degrees. He has a passion for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, which includes healthful habits, such as mental and physical exercise and proper nutrition, and the maximization of potential.
Forearm exercises for video showing one of the forearm toning exercises