The Professional Focus
Bodybuilding, workouts, fitness, and strength training become more specific the more professional they get. For experienced bodybuilders it is not enough to simply state that they are working on their back; good bodybuilders know not only their major muscle groups, but the secondary and deep ones as well. One thing that anyone involved in physical training, working out, or even occasional exercising must remember is that the major muscle group development will go much further as long as the secondary and deeper muscles are trained as well. So what are these hidden muscles? I have never cared about deeper and secondary groups of muscles and never had a problem, why care now?
Most of us learned the basic anatomy of a human body in school; we were taught where the biceps were, what triceps looked like, arms, forearms…etc. What we didn’t learn was that there are in fact between 640 and 850 muscles in our body, the number varies depending on whom you ask (there are different opinions on what constitutes a distinct muscle). These less popular muscles play a key role in strength training, as they support the major groups. Remember, in order to reach the next level of mass, strength, or definition, in your main muscles, you must focus on training the deep and secondary ones as well.
Major Forearm Muscle Groups
The forearm has many more muscles than the rest of the arm, and therefore, is much more complicated in its structure. For the sake of simplicity, I would say there are 20 muscles that are responsible for different types of forearm, wrist, and digits movements. Although there is absolutely no need to memorize all 20, it is vital to understand the two major forearm muscle groups – flexors and extensors.
The flexor/supinator group occupies the posterior compartment of the forearm. The extensor/supinator group occupies the posterior compartment of the forearm. These two groups of muscles in turn divide into two major subgroups of the forearm: anterior and posterior. Let’s look at each subgroup separately; this will get a little technical.
The brachioradialis muscles shown on Figure 1., is also a flexor that participates in flexing the forearm at the elbow. The muscle is also capable of pronation and supination depending on the position of the forearm.
Anterior Subgroup of the Forearm
The anterior, or the inside of the forearm, muscles fall into the flexor/pronator group. The superficial flexor muscles arise from the common tendon attached to the medial epicondyle of the humerus, or common flexor attachment. Check this for yourself by palpating the medial epicondyle, as you flex your wrist and fingers. The deeper flexor muscles do not actually arise from the medial epicondyle, but their origins are in line with it.
There are three functions anterior muscles are responsible for:
- Pronating the forearm: pronator teres, pronator quadratus
- Flexing the hand: flexor carpi radialis,flexor carpi ulnaris, palmaris longus
- Flexing the digits: flexor digitorum superficialis, flexor digitorum profundus, flexor pollicis longus
Posterior Muscles of the Forearm
There are twelve muscles in the posterior forearm. Nine of these are extensors of the forearm and hand. The three exceptions, separated out because of different nerve connections, are the brachioradialis (technically a flexor), anconeus (technically an extensor), and supinator (rotating the forearm).
These nine extensor muscles can be divided into three functional groups:
- Extending hand (carpi): extensor carpi radialis brevis, extensor carpi radialis longus, extensor carpi ulnaris
- Extending medial 4 digits (fingers): extensor digitorum, extensor indicis, extensor digiti minimi
- Extendsing thumb (pollex): abductor pollicis longus, extensor pollicis brevis, extensor pollicis longus
Introduction to Focused and Targeted Workouts
So what was this forearm muscle talk for? Well, now that we know what muscles are responsible for certain forearm movements, we can easily choose the ones we need to pay extra attention to during the workout. Voila! We now have a workout that is many times more efficient than the general forearm training. This workout is not only more efficient and effective, but it will also lets you take your forearm mass, strength, or definition, to the next level, which is impossible to reach with generally suggested training routines. We are now focusing on particular major, secondary, and deeper muscles!
The next article of the Targeted Forearm Training Exercises and Workouts category will analyze the dumbbell and barbell forearm workouts, as well as discuss the forearm control ability in relevance to mass, definition, strength, endurance, and rehabilitation workouts.