Is Forearm Size Genetic?

| May 25, 2014 by Truth Seeker |

Thick and veiny forearms attract more attention than big biceps. In the eyes of the public, a set of truly muscular and powerful forearms is a sign of toughness, strength and manliness.

What are the forearm muscles made of?

The forearm muscles are built for endurance since they are needed constantly for various daily tasks. As a result, the forearm muscles are slow twitch dominant. This makes them very good at repetitive activities that do not require a lot of strength.

Can “short” forearms grow?

People with short muscle bellies and respectively long tendons have a harder time building their forearms. A similar structure reduces the potential for growth significantly since the only thing that can grow in size is the muscle tissue, and when you don’t have much of it, to begin with, the future hypertrophy is limited.


Bodybuilders like Frank MacGrath who are famous for their forearm development have long muscle bellies and short tendons. This equals a great growth potential.

Frank McGrath - huge forearms

Frank McGrath – huge forearms

There are also bodybuilders with respectable forearms despite their short muscle bellies. A good example would the genetic freak Albert Beckles who still looks good at 75+ years of age. In the image below, he showcases a solid forearm development despite his short muscles.

albert-beckles-huge-forearms

Do you have to “kill” your forearms to make them grow?

Without a doubt, the forearms are some of the toughest muscles in the human body. You can work them all day, and they will still recover faster than the sissy and fragile shoulder muscles for example. However, the wrist and the elbow are actually very susceptible to injuries. That’s why your forearm workouts should always be designed intelligently. Don’t do too many exercises. Focus on basic movements.

Grip Strength and Forearm Size – Are They Connected?

Big forearms do not always equal a strong grip. To develop large forearms, one should focus on exercises that involve the wrists more than the fingers (e.g, wrist curls and wrist rolling). On the other hand, grip strength requires dedicated finger exercises.

So, is forearm size genetic?

Yes. The forearms and the calves are undoubtedly the most stubborn muscle groups. Some have them by doing nothing while others work hard but don’t receive much in return.

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One comment

  1. john

    Im glad I found this information. I have always had large forearms…(15″) and large biceps (19″)…always thought I was kinda freakish….just a regular guy…and other guys make comments…I am almost 52 and have been lifting since high school….nothing too outrageous. I remember working my forearms and my calves early…paid off in the long run…..

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