Skip to Content

Do Reverse Curls Work Forearms? (Are They Good For Forearms)

Building large muscular arms isn’t all about having bulging biceps and defined triceps.

Your forearms actually play a huge role too. 

Your forearms come into play as secondary muscles or stabilizing muscles in many upper arm exercises.

While this can help them develop, finding exercises where they’re worked much harder can help you get more gains in a shorter period of time.

Well, in this article, we take a look at reverse curls.

Are they a good exercise for adding size to your forearms?

Are there specific variations of reverse curls that build your forearms better than others?

Let’s find out!

Man doing reverse curls with EZ bar

Are Reverse Curls Good For Forearms?

Your biceps, brachialis, and brachioradialis are the primary muscles worked during reverse curls.

Your brachioradialis, in particular, is an important forearm building muscle, so any exercise that targets it will be great for building big forearms.

When doing reverse curls, your brachioradialis is placed under a good amount of stress.

This means that this large forearm muscle will be working hard and will develop strength and size as it recovers from the stress placed upon it during the exercise.

While your forearms aren’t the only muscles being worked during reverse curls, they play a big role in the movement, so the exercise is great for your forearms!

Why Reverse Curls Are Good For Forearms

Your Biceps Are At A Disadvantage

Reverse curls require a pronated (palms-down) grip.

This grip position puts your biceps at a disadvantage as they’re unable to exert as much force as they would if you were using a supinated (palms-up) grip.

As your biceps are at a disadvantage during the exercise, other muscles have to work harder to make the movement happen.

In the case of reverse curls, this falls on your forearm muscles.

Forearm Flexors Have To Work Hard

Your brachioradialis is one of the muscles that help with flexion of the elbow.

Although your biceps also play a big part in elbow flexion, they’re restricted during reverse curls.

Without as much assistance from your biceps, your brachioradialis has to work very hard to flex the elbow while moving a weight at the same time.

Placing your forearm muscles under this amount of stress makes reverse curls very good at helping them grow and develop.

Which Reverse Curl Variation Is Best For Forearms?

There are quite a few variations of reverse curls including barbell reverse curls, dumbbell reverse curls, using a cable station, using weight plates, using an EZ bar, and preacher reverse curls.

While each variation works pretty much the same muscle groups, some variations put more focus on specific muscles than others.

For example, if you do reverse curls with an EZ bar, your biceps activate a little more than they would if you were using dumbbells or a barbell for your reverse curls.

When it comes to the variation that hits your forearms the most, using dumbbells or a barbell will be the best variations of reverse curls.

These both do a good job of keeping your hands in a pronated grip throughout the movement which keeps the focus on your forearms and away from your biceps.

How To Target Your Forearms More When Doing Reverse Curls

There are some things to consider when doing reverse curls to ensure they target your forearms as much as possible.

The first is to ensure you’re not trying to lift too much weight.

Your forearms aren’t as strong as your biceps so your normal curling weight won’t be suitable for this exercise.

If you try to lift too much weight during reverse curls, your forearms probably won’t be able to lift it successfully, causing other muscles to have to step in and help.

Your biceps will likely be the first to do so which will cause your hand position to change and a lot of work to be moved away from your forearms.

Using the correct technique is also an easy way of targeting your forearms as much as possible during reverse curls.

Even small errors in your technique can cause other muscles to come into play.

By taking your time to ensure your technique is correct, you will get the most benefit from reverse curls.

Here’s a quick video to show you how to do reverse curls properly!

Are Reverse Curls Enough For Building Forearms?

While reverse curls certainly help build forearms, there are other exercises out there that will target them a little more. 

Exercises such as wrist curls and reverse wrist curls almost completely isolate your forearm muscles during the exercise.

These will make sure your forearms are doing all of the work without any assistance at all from other muscles.

As reverse curls allow your biceps to activate, they assist in the movement too.

With this in mind, reverse curls will probably not be enough for building big strong forearms, but they can certainly help in doing so.

Are Reverse Curls Better Than Hammer Curls For Building Forearms?

Both reverse curls and hammer curls are great arm-building exercises.

Both bring your forearms and biceps into play throughout each exercise.

When it comes to your forearm muscles being worked during reverse curls and hammer curls, your brachioradialis is worked in both.

It could be argued that hammer curls are better for building your brachioradialis as they allow you to lift more weight, which means you can overload the working muscles more.

However, it could also be argued that reverse curls are better for building forearms as they put your biceps at a disadvantage, meaning they can’t assist as much in the movement.

Both reverse curls and hammer curls target forearms so it’ll likely come down to the one you feel more comfortable doing which will end up being the best one for you.

Other Exercises That Work Your Forearms

Preacher Curls

Some people experience forearm pain from preacher curls.

While this can be caused by bad technique, it could also be due to your forearm muscles working hard to keep your wrists stable during the movement.

Barbell Curls

Like reverse curls, barbell curls work your forearms effectively, assuming you’re doing the movement correctly.


Although chin-ups mainly work your biceps and back muscles, other muscles are needed to help keep you stable throughout the exercise.

Any exercise where your grip strength is tested, like chin-ups, work your forearms intensely.

Wrist Curls

Wrist curls are an awesome forearm-specific exercise.

When my forearms are already stiff and tired at the end of my biceps session, I like to blitz them with some wrist curls.


Reverse Curls Muscles Worked