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Why Dads Need Strong Forearms, and How to Get Them

Don't let your weak forearms drop your baby. Do these exercises instead.

Forearms may be the most important muscle for fathers to build, because forearm strength determines grip strength. That means forearm workouts are great for increasing your ability to open pickle jars—and not drop your kids on their heads. Forearms are particularly important for a dad, especially if the dad has to hold the baby,” Mark Ortiz, a college tennis trainer told Fatherly. Fellow trainer Joel Freeman agrees. “You wouldn’t want to drop a dumbbell on your toe because you don’t have the forearm strength to hold on to it,” he says.

“I would imagine the same goes for dropping your kid, right?”

Fortunately, forearm muscles aren’t terribly hard to build. “When it comes to grip and forearm strength, a fitness mentor told me once, ‘Just hold on to heavy shit’,” Freeman says. But let’s get into specifics.

Dead Hangs

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Dead hangs are exactly what they sound like. First, you’ll need a bar that’s strong enough to hold your weight, which is pretty easy to find at a playground. Then just hold on and hang with your feet off the ground. Wait about 30 seconds, and then repeat this for a total of three to five sets. “Do this several times a week, mainly on days where you don’t challenge your grip as much,” Freeman recommends. 

Dumbbell or Kettlebell Holds

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Get yourself a set of mid-sized dumbbells, between 40 and 60 pounds, and then “hold on to them until you can’t anymore and have to put them down,” Freeman says. Ortiz suggests a similar exercise, but with lighter kettlebells and one minute of walking while holding them. “You are applying long tension on your forearms, and also forcing your forearm muscles to constantly adapt due to the weight moving as you walk,” Ortiz adds. 

Hand Exercisers

There are a number of hand exercisers on the marker, often referred to gripmasters, and they typically run less than five bucks. Surprisingly, they make for an easy and effective forearm workout, Ortiz says. “You can literally sit on the couch, and grip down on the equipment over and over again to train your forearms.”

Forearm Wrist Roller

“The forearm wrist roller exercise is the equivalent of squats for your legs or benching for your chest. If you had to pick one single exercise for your forearms, this is it,” Nick Rizzo, a person trainer, told Fatherly. The reason it’s such a good exercise is that it works out the extensors and flexors, key muscles in the forearms to isolate for building size and muscular endurance. The exercise equipment is simple, but requires some construction involving a pvc pipe, a drill, and a rope or a dog leash. First, drill a hole in the center of the pipe, and then run the rope or dog least through it, then clip the leash or tie the rope so it’s secure. Finally, tie a five to 10 pound weight to the end of the rope or leash, and roll it up by slowly twisting the pipe, like this video demonstrates.

The best part of this exercise is that it makes a guy feel handy as well as strong. Because the only thing more attractive than a man with buff forearms is a man who uses them to build his own exercise equipment.