Siegmund Klein was a gym owner in New York. Furthermore he loved bodybuilding, strength training and writing articles. The following article was written in 1954. Mr. Klein will reveal some oldtime bodybuilding & strongman exercises!
“Powerful wrists and forearms have always had a great fascination for many athletes, for large wrists and shapely forearms are usually considered an indication that their owner is unusually strong. Like the neck, which is always in view, the forearms are often exposed when a man is working with his sleeves rolled up. In spite of this, many young men seeking to develop strong and impressive physiques neglect this portion of the arm from the elbow to the wrist in their efforts to obtain large biceps and chests. Actually, no physique will ever become truly impressive unless proportionate development is present. Large biceps seem out of place unless the shoulders and forearms are also fully developed. And, of course, nothing looks more ridiculous than the fellow with sub-par legs who has developed a magnificent upper body.
When striving for muscular development, each part of the body should come in for its proper share of attention and this includes the forearms. Great forearms were possessed by Clevio Massimo, Joe Nordquest, Arthur Dandurand – and among the later generation John Grimek is outstanding.
Upon meeting Grimek, the first thing that impressed me about this sterling muscle man was his large wrist, which looked so massive that his hands seemed small by comparison. Not only is Grimek’s forearm massively muscular, but shapely. Despite his large wrist, he has fine taper from the great muscular swelling of the forearm bulge to his wrist on both outside and inside of the arm.
With all due respect for Massimo, I could not help but compare the arms of these men. Grimek’s arm was muscular like Massimo’s except that it was actually larger.
Men who do hard physical labor as carpenters, brick layers, tinsmiths, wire cutters and plumbers usually have good forearm development. I recall that one of the best forearms I have ever seen among laymen belonged to a young plumber. But today most trades do not require as much physical effort as years ago and one does not have to work (work is labor, exercise is recreation) like these men to obtain remarkable forearms. Some of the many good forearm exercises which have been devised will follow; the inclusion of some on all of them in your training should help your progress in this portion of your anatomy.
First on the list is the old-fashioned “wind-up” on wrist-roller. This can be done in several positions, but the one mostly used is the one in which the stick is held out in front and wound up first away from the body and then back towards the body. This exercise should be done with the arms kept straight at the elbows and twisting the stick as much as possible so you get a complete contraction in the forearm. Do not follow the roller to wobble up or down; keep it parallel with the floor.
A variation of this exercise is to hold the elbows at the sides and keep the forearms at right angles with palms up. Wind the weight up, reverse and lower it, and then wind it up the opposite way. This will affect the forearms differently than when the arms are held straight.
Another method, which I have used for years, is to hold the stick like a screw driver and to wind up the weight in exactly that manner. If you have never tried this, include it in a workout and I am sure you will feel that it brings good results.
The forearms also respond to holding a small dumbbell (solid) by the sphere end and making a complete circle with the extended end from left to right and vice versa. A variation of this is to place your forearm over the end of a table and raise and lower the dumbbell first with the palm of the hand up and then with knuckles up. Do not allow the elbow to leave the table.
Barbells can be used in similar movements. Sitting or kneeling, with the forearms on a bench or supported on the thighs, grasp the barbell with a firm overgrip and raise it up and back as far as possible with wrist action only. After a rest, repeat the exercise with palms up. With palms up, be sure to allow the bar to roll as far down to the fingertips as possible before raising it again.
Other effective movements can be performed with a dumbbell bar held at one end. With the arm extended down along the side, the bar can be raised to front and rear by wrist action.
Forearm exercises should be performed in high repetitions to work on the tough muscles that are so much in action at all times. If only one or two exercises from this article are used in a given workout, it would be advisable to repeat in a series, each time working up in repetitions until the muscles feel congested. Usually 15 repetitions, three times, will suffice. If all the exercises are followed at one time, 10 repetitions of each, one time only, should be plenty. Be guided by your own reaction to the exercises. Although these exercises will develop finger strength to a degree they are primarily intended to increase muscular size and twisting strength in the wrists.”