Have you experienced this? You’re working through a new skill or routine and your forearm muscles feel as though they’re bulging like Popeye the Sailor. Sometimes the sensation passes quickly while other times your forearms are so pumped you can barely grip your apparatus!
The forearms are rather complex when we factor in all of the muscles that accompany the movement of the elbow, wrist and fingers (hello all things aerial!).
The muscles are categorized into two groups, flexors & extensors. Flexors make up the front side (anterior) and extensors make up the back side (posterior) of your forearms. The flexors have about twice the bulk and strength of the extensors.
Next time you find yourself in a 'pumped situation' try these 5 release exercises. They are also helpful to include as part of your cool-down after practice. Overly tight forearms can lead to tennis/golfers elbow and potential shoulder issues if not addressed.
Forearm Release with Duck Walk Squat down placing your forearms behind your calf muscles. Drop your bum toward your heels. Option to open/close your hands and walk forward or in a circle for added fun!
Basic Forearm Stretch
Kneel and sit on your heels. Place your hands on the floor with your fingers facing towards your knees palms flat. The further forward you reach your hands the more stretch you’ll feel. Soften your elbows a tad to avoid overexerting your elbow joint. Hold for 20-30 seconds.
Kneel and sit on your heels. Make fists and press your knuckles together. Place your fists on the mat with the back of your hands rooted down. Aim to lengthen your arms. The tighter your fists the more stretch you’ll feel! Hold for 20-30 seconds.
Kneel and sit on your heels. Lean forward placing one arm on the mat (extensor or flexor side up, whichever needs it!). Place your knee on your forearm and massage it back and forth at least 10 times or as long as you feel you need! This is a great way to release ‘Popeye Arm’ and show yourself some love post-practice!
Ball or Roller Massage Kneel and sit on your heels. Lean forward placing one arm on the mat. Move your arm up and down the ball or foam roller. Rotate your wrists to get all the spots. A peanut ball also works well for this!
There you have it! By incorporating forearm release exercises into your training repertoire I'm confident your grip strength will last longer and your elbow joints will be happier!