If you have any kind of training experience, the chances are that you’ve managed to build a decent set of biceps. But if you want really impressive-looking arms, you need some smart moves that will fully develop your forearms. Welsh bodybuilder Dan Yeomans picks his top-exercise for building Popeye-style arms.

“This is one of my favourite strength-building grip moves,” says Yeomans. “You’re probably familiar with a preacher curl using an EZ-bar or a cable machine. This is the same principle as your standard preacher biceps curl except this time we take your thumbs away for the ultimate forearm grip builder.”


A preacher curl bench or machine. Ideally an EZ-bar or alternatively dumbbells.


  1. Find a weight you can perform 15 standard controlled preacher biceps curls with good form – triceps staying still at all times, shoulders down and relaxed, core tight.
  2. Grasp the EZ-bar with a thumbless grip, hands shoulder-width apart.
  3. Slowly raise the EZ-bar to the top of the move, squeezing your fingers firmly throughout the movement.
  4. Hold the bar at the top for two seconds.
  5. Take three seconds to lower the bar to the starting position (the eccentric phase).

Aim for three sets of 12 reps with a 45-second rest. “Don’t be afraid to use a little chalk – chalk is a great option to have during the earlier stages of forearm development,” says Yeomans. “The most basic of progressions here would be to add more weight but my favourite progression is to increase the time taken in the eccentric phase of the rep. A five-second eccentric really does begin to burn eight to ten reps in.”


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