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For some reason, forearm exercise equipment has long attracted fad products and gimmicks that simply aren’t worth anyone’s time (or money).
But the reality is, strengthening your forearms is important and there are genuinely some really useful exercise tools and equipment that can help make this easier and more effective… so don’t be completely put off by some products giving this category of fitness gear a bad rep.
We’ve listed out which forearm exercise equipment we think is best for certain purposes and types of training in the list below.
Why Trust Us? Review Process Explained
We believe in editorial integrity and providing honest reviews that genuinely provide value. For this review, we tried and tested 12 products designed to strengthen the forearm (as well as other gym equipment) and ensured we got our hands on products that have good reviews online so we could see for ourselves if they are live up to the hype.
At a Glance – Best Forearm Exercise Equipment
- Best Overall – HGG Performance Wrist Axe
- Best for Improving Heavy Lifts – CAP Barbell Plates
- Best for Feeling the Burn – Vikingstrength Forearm Blaster
- Best for Injury Rehabilitation – Iron Crush Grip Ring
- Best Low Budget Option – IronMind Captains of Crush (COC) Hand Gripper
- Best for Versatility – Flybird Adjustable Dumbbells
- Best for Weightlifting – Fat Gripz
HGG Wrist Axe – Best Overall
- Progressively overload the forearm muscles with ease.
- Great for rotational movements.
- Helps in rehabilitation with tennis elbow.
- Fun to use.
- Dismantles with ease so you can take it to the gym.
The Wrist Axe is an innovative product new to 2022 and something we’ve become incredibly reliant on since discovering it. Created by HGG (the brand that created the original Tib Bar), the Wrist Axe provides a simple way to add load to basic forearm exercises and workouts.
What we like about the Wrist Axe is that it allows for progressive overload training… something that isn’t possible with lots of other gimmicky forearm equipment.
By progressively overloading the forearms, you can build muscle and strength effectively – similar to how you probably train other muscle groups.
We also found, compared to using dumbbells, you’ll notice you need to grip much harder when using the Wrist Axe as the weight is only located on one end.
The Wrist Axe also allows you to focus on rotational movements, which means you’re working your forearms differently to when they get activated during a back/biceps workout.
These rotational movements are often prescribed to help treat tennis elbow.
Improving this rotational strength can also be really valuable for better athletic performance too.
The Wrist Axe from HGG is also incredibly easy to adjust, so you could even incorporate drop sets into workouts if you wanted. It’s also easy to transport so you could take it to the gym with you.
It is more expensive than other options and you’ll need to invest in some barbell plates too… but we think this is one of the best products out there at the moment for strengthening the forearms.
Barbell Plates – Best for Improving Heavy Lifts
- Lots of variety in how you use them.
- You may already have access to barbell plates.
- You can progressively overload the forearm muscles during workouts.
Instead of buying dedicated “forearm training equipment” you can actually create a really effective forearm workout just with some barbell plates.
Barbell plate pinches, in particular, will really test your grip and forearm strength. You can also incorporate this into other exercises like a farmer’s carry.
Similar to the Wrist Axe, one of the main reasons we like the humble barbell plate for forearm workouts is that it is easy to add progressive overload training into your routine (as long as you have access to a selection of weights).
The drawback to this equipment is that is isn’t great for travel and you may find you actually need quite a lot of barbell plates, which becomes expensive if you don’t have access to a gym.
But, if you’re looking to build a home gym, it’s likely you’ll buy some barbell plates anyway, so if that’s the case, you may be sorted for your forearm equipment.
As far as barbell plates go, there is a huge selection, with most fitness stores selling their own brands. We like CAP barbell plates because they have handles built it too… which means you can alternate between pinching and holding the plate to mix up your forearm and grip workouts.
We would recommend buying some light plates to incorporate rotational movements and heavy ones for exercises like farmer’s carry.
Vikingstrength Forearm Blaster – Best for Feeling the Burn
- Great for feeling the burn and training your forearms to failure.
- Easy to use.
- Comes with a free training app.
- You can use anything as a weight making it ideal for home workouts.
- Thick handle makes it even more effective as a forearm training tool.
The wrist roller has become a popular way to strengthen the forearm.
Similar to hand grip trainers (we’ll come to those shortly), the quality of wrist rollers varies quite a lot, and cheaper ones tend to be designed for quite light weight.
You can also make wrist rollers at home using a piece of wood and rope.
Generally speaking, we’ve found that more expensive wrist rollers tend to accommodate more weight… so if you are quite strong, you’re better off getting one that can handle the heavier weights. If not, you can probably get away with a cheaper one and using lighter weights.
Most wrist rollers don’t come with weights either (in fact, none that we came across)… so you’ll need to buy some weights too. The best type of weight will depend on the wrist roller you’re looking at. Some have attachments for barbell plates, while others make it easy to attach a kettlebell, for example.
This might ultimately influence which one you prefer.
Our top pick for wrist rollers is the Vikingstrength Forearm Blaster. This comes with a thicker handle and is versatile in terms of what you use as a weight. They mention you could use a water bottle, for example, which makes it great for travel and those without access to lots of weights. It also comes with a free fitness app… which isn’t one par with premium apps like Fitbod, but it’s still pretty good and includes a huge library of exercises.
Iron Crush Grip Ring – Best for Injury Rehabilitation
- Easy to use.
- Lightweight and portable.
- Available in different strengths to accommodate different levels.
- Can be used as a stress relief tool too.
A grip ring is similar to the more common coil grip trainer in how it is used. The benefit of a grip ring is that is it made of rubber and easier to squeeze… although most also come in strengths, so pay attention to that when buying one.
Most packs will include 3-5 rings of varying strengths. We find this useful to track your progress and so that you can work your way up.
There is also slightly more versatility in how you squeeze it compared to a coil grip trainer.
We think this is great for anyone who needs to improve their forearm strength (perhaps on the recommendation of a Physical Therapist) but who doesn’t enjoy the traditional gym workouts and equipment. A grip ring could be used while you work at a desk and it’s very portal, meaning you could take it wherever you go.
In contrast, there is no ability to progressively overload the muscles and therefore, if you’re looking to really double down on your forearm strength, there are better options on this list (such as the Wrist Axe, Fat Gripz and dumbbells).
We tried a few different rubber grip rings and we felt the Iron Crush Grip Ring (available on Amazon) were more than enough to get the job done, whilst also coming in at a pretty low cost.
IronMind Captains of Crush Hand Gripper – Best Low Budget Option
- The original hand grip trainer for serious strength athletes.
- Quality material that will last the test of time.
- 11 different strengths to suit your level (although users will start with either level 1 or 2).
- Simple to use, lightweight and portable.
- Selecting a high strength without experience will be too challenging to actually squeeze, so bare that in mind and opt for a lower level if in doubt.
This is perhaps the most common and popular forearm exercise tool… and IronMind Captain of Crush is the GOAT of the category. Since 1988 IronMind has been manufacturing this popular gripper out of the US.
Hand grip trainers have been around for years and the concept is definitely proven. The issue, you may find, however, is that the effectiveness of them really depends on the specific brand you opt for… some of them really are terrible.
The benefit of hand grip trainers is that they are very lightweight, portable and in comparison to other equipment, very affordable.
We find they are a bit boring to use… and basically only lend themselves to the squeezing motion. The rotational movements that some other equipment offers is really useful for developing that functional strength in the forearms, as well as helping to recover from injuries.
It’s also sometimes hard to know how hard the grip trainer is to squeeze… sometimes they can actually be quite hard so if you’re a beginner or have a weak grip to start with, you may find they are difficult to use.
The IronMind Captain of Crush has 11 strengths to choose from. We’d recommend opting lighter than you think, as the stronger ones really are difficult to squeeze if you haven’t used them before. Most people should go for the 1 or 2 strength… with very strong athletes maybe opting for level 3 to start with.
Dumbbells – Best for Versatility
- Flybird offer adjustable dumbbells at a very affordable price.
- Opens up a whole host of forearm exercises and workouts.
- Easy to include drop sets into workouts and progressively overload muscles.
- Easier to train forearms with biceps and other muscles at once.
Similar to barbell plates, some of the best forearm exercises don’t need specialist equipment… in fact, sometimes the most basic equipment like dumbbells will get the job done.
Dumbbells are fantastic for their versatility and they’d be our top pick for any home gym due to the amount of exercises you can do with them.
Dumbbells allow for rotational and pulling movements, so you have a lot of freedom in how you train your forearms.
Our top pick for dumbbells specifically to strengthen the forearms would be adjustable ones, like those from Flybird. This is simply so you can increase the load effectively and keep increasing your strength over time… and avoids having to buy (and store) lots of different dumbbells.
Flybird adjustable dumbbells are as good as adjustable dumbbells come at the lower price point. The price of some adjustable dumbbells can suddenly skyrocket, but Flybird have managed to keep things affordable, whilst also creating a solid, durable, product.
You can also combine dumbbells with the next item on this list for a truly challenging forearm workout.
Fat Gripz – Best for Weightlifting
- Ideal for those who like lifting weights with dumbbells or a barbell.
- Instantly increase forearm and grip activation during regular workouts.
- Available in different sizes to better suit your hand size.
- Easy to add/remove from a bar.
Fat Gripz are a very simple product but that’s not to say they aren’t effective.
There are countless alternatives that serve the same function but to our knowledge, Fat Gripz was the “original” (or at least, one of the first to really promote this concept).
Fat Gripz can be added to dumbbells or barbells and basically makes the bar thicker… this makes it harder to grip, consequently meaning you have to work harder to grip the bar during exercises.
This is a great option for anyone who doesn’t really want to start dedicating a lot of time to training the forearms but would still like to see improvements in this muscle group. By using the Fat Gripz during regular exercises, you’ll naturally be testing your forearm strength.
You can use Fat Gripz during bicep curls, rows, or even during bodyweight exercises like negative pull ups, and benefit from the increased forearm activation.
The caveat to this is, however, it may affect the amount of weight you can lift, as your grip may become the limiting factor (instead of muscle fatigue in the muscle you’re training).
You could achieve the same effect by wrapping something around the bar to make it thicker, such as a towel… but for the convenience and safety that Fat Gripz offers, we think it’s easier just to use this product.
Forearm exercises help to strengthen your forearms, which ultimately helps to improve your gripping strength and pulling force. This is vital for exercises such as the deadlift, but also for everyday activities too.
You can use equipment like dumbbells and barbell plates to train your forearms and grip, or invest in more specialist equipment such as the Wrist Axe – the most suitable choice will largely depend on your personal preferences and requirements.
We hope this forearm exercise equipment review has helped in your buyer’s journey and provided useful insights into things to consider and what to look for when it comes to training the forearms.