Today’s exercise increases bone density of critical bones in the forearm that are prone to fracture, including the wrists. The forearms are the most neglected muscles in the body, so for this weekend’s challenge, we’re going to turn our attention to them.
The Forearm and Wrist Pump is not a difficult or complicated exercise, but it’s extremely beneficial. It works directly on the muscle groups of the lower part of your arm, which is the location of two complex and highly articulated joints: the elbow and the wrist. As your forearm muscles gain strength, so will your bones.
Why: This might shock you: osteoporotic fractures of the forearm are more common than both hip and spinal fractures, with most forearm fractures occurring in the wrist. Yet people tend to focus their concerns about fractures mainly on the hip and spine areas.
The forearms are vulnerable to fracture for a variety of reasons. For one thing, we tend to put out our hands and arms to catch ourselves from a fall. Another reason is the general neglect of the forearm – we just don’t think about working them when we exercise.
Let’s look a little more closely at the anatomy of the forearm.
The two bones in your lower arm are the radius and ulna. The radius connects to your wrist laterally, on the thumb side. The ulna connects medially and accounts for the boney bump you see on the outside of your wrist.
The radius rolls over the ulna when you turn your palms up, down, or sideways (this is called supination and pronation). The radius and ulna join with the humerus (your upper arm bone) to make the elbow joint. The radius joins at the capitulum of the humerus, while the ulna joins at the trochlea of the humerus. When you feel your elbow, the knobby bit of bone you notice first is the olecranon process at the end of the ulna.
It’s a brilliantly articulated mechanism for motion.
But it needs to be built up, because as I mentioned earlier, you automatically put your hands out to catch yourself if you fall. If your forearm bones are strong, flexible, and dense because of regular exercise, you’ll be a lot less likely to suffer a fracture in the forearm.
How: To perform the Forearm Pump, you’ll need two weights, such as dumbbells or soup cans. Choose a weight that’s comfortable for you, from 1 to 5 pounds.
- Standing straight with your feet shoulder width apart, hold the weights with your arms straight down and your elbows at your sides.
- Hold the weights with the palms of your hands facing towards you.
- Slowly raise your hands up almost touching your chest, and then lower them back down to your legs.
- Repeat 3 sets of 10 or as many as you comfortably can.
- Make sure you move your arms very slowly. If you try to move fast, you’ll end up jerking the weights up and down, which will not work your forearms, but other muscles instead.
- Maintain good posture throughout the move, and remember to keep your neck straight and not pushed forward.
- Work with light weights – don’t try to hoist large or heavy weights that cause you to strain.
- Keep your elbows from pointing outward. Your elbows actually do not move from their position by your side.
I hope you enjoy this exercise and make sure you practice it often to strengthen your forearm muscles and bones. Please let everyone know how you’re doing by leaving a comment below!
Till next time,
Comments on this article are closed.
Vivian, I am a chiropractor and have a suggestion. This exercise works the supinator/pronator muscles. Why not also do this same exercise using the same weights but with these variations to work adductor/abductor muscles?
1) when you bring your hands up, keep them in the same position until you reach close to the chest. Then “tilt” the thumbs(hand) towards the body. This will help the adductor muscles of forearm. As returning hands to original position “push” the thumbs(hand) away from the body(helps adductor muscles of forearm).
Another way to work these muscles would be to hold weights wtih palms facing forwards. When hands are up to the chest, then “tilt” hands “out” , tilt hands “in” and then return to forearms at your sides.
Oh my!!! Woke this morning with my ribs resting on my pelvic/hip bones. Shock cant even describe. I’ve been less than diligent with my SOB program so all of you Please!! do the right thing every single day. I believe I can recover from this setback but tears have indeed been flowing. I intended to start this day with the forearm exercises and now I’m going through everything I have in hopes I’m not wheelchair bound now.. Anything you can suggest Vivian will be extremely welcome.. Most sincerely, L.D.
Simple and effective.looking forward to some of your innovative ideas for my progressive arthritis in my left shoulder joint and left elbow.i am 54 .pl. reply Vivian,
I have two cages with 8 screw in my lower back. My surgeon says my bones are above the surgery are being compressed. Also have scar tissue and muscle spasms. I am following your suggestions for diet but wondering about if I should be taking certain vitamins. I am talking B12 but no calcium supplements. I have hypothyroid so take Synthroid. Any suggestion would be helpful. Thanks in advance.
I too take Synthroid–first thing in the morning. Check your Synthroid literature or on the net. It’s my understanding that calcium supplements be taken as far from the thyroid med as possible, so I take calcium (any type of AlgaeCal) with supper. One source has said also to take before bed, when dividing a dose. My physician has tested me for Vitamin D and has prescribed that daily. I am grateful for Vivian’s guidelines. I do try to listen to my own body and coordinate my treatment with a wise physician. I am 74 and need a bit more protein than the 20/80 ratio at times to have the energy to exercise. I am grateful to be taking the AlgaeCal supplements and managing my diet. My exercise is supervised by an excellent personal trainer who gives me many of Vivian’s exercises. Good physical therapy is a real help to me. I have a minor injury to work around. Vivian’s recipe suggestions are very helpful. For me, it takes a network. I’ve been doing this three years with very minimal bone loss–two years with no bone loss. Sweetening my food with honey and stevia has been a huge help! Many blessings! Carol Rose
Is one able to obtain True-Osteo supplements here in the UK please.
Loving all the information and exercises and thankyou.
I’ve been doing this exercise for several years, and have survived two hard falls where I landed on my wrists–some pain, but no broken bones!
Thank you Vivian for sharing this exercise. It is very easy to do and I had the two pound weights already. I was happy it was so easy to understand and I knew I was doing it correctly. Thank you also for the keep your neck back reminder. I am trying to remember this throughout the day but reminders really help. I’ve had a broken hip and it was no fun. I don’t want any more broken bones. Keep reminding us that this is a battle we can win. Blessings, Florence
What an encouraging and uplifting e-mails! Thank you very, very much.
May the LORD bless you and your family greatly as you seek and serve HIM faithfully. Take care always, Marlene
Vivian, I’m so thankful to you!!! I love all the info I get from you. God Bless.
Thank You Very Much For Sharing The Forearm And Wrist Pump Exercise, As Part Of Your Weekend Challenge. You Are A Very Kindhearted Person.
I Hope All Is Well With You And Your Family. My Family And I Are Well Ourselves.
I Also Hope You Had A Wonderful Mother’s Day. I Spent Time With My Elderly Mother For Mother’s Day. We Had A Wonderful Time Together!
Well, Got To Go For Now. Take Care, Stay Well. And Again Thank You Very Much For All You Do.
LOVE, LESLIE (MS. L. CARMEL)
Vivian, My 75 year old wife and I (68) are healthy active adults, but she was recently diagnosed with Osteoporosis. The MD immediately wanted her to start on Prolia, but after reading patient reviews on several websites (98% horror stories), I purchased the Save Our Bones program and your wonderful cookbook. We both follow the improved diet and your exercise advice. Thank you, I even gave up coffee! She already feels better and has no more lower back pain. But, she has been on blood thinner (Coumadin) most of her life because of a damaged heart valve. So, it is important that she does not overdo her calcium intake, vitamin K (blood thickener) or vitamin E (blood thinner). We make adjustments to your diet because of this. Strange, isn’t it, that Prolia actually inhibits the absorption of calcium! In your advice, please keep those of us on blood thinner in mind. My wife has a low dose, but some people have high doses. Any further advice you have would be much appreciated. Thank you for all you do!
This forearm and wrist pump, as described, doesn’t seem very different from hammer curls for the biceps. Slightly so in terms of the details, but basically the same. Wouldn’t it be better to exercise the forearms with elbow/wrist movements with wts in the hands but not involving lifting the forearms, which will bring the biceps into play. And, squeezing a hard ball or spring-loaded wrist exerciser.
The two examples you mention are excellent, but here at Save Our Bones we try to avoid special equipment to achieve a bone health improvement through exercise. So if you have a squeeze ball or spring-loaded wrist exerciser, by all means use it 🙂
Hi Vivian. I enrolled in the SOB program a few years ago and my wife (82) and I (81) have followed your guidance and advice, mainly with diet. We have avoided drugs and feel confident that we have saved ourselves side effects and a lot of money as well. Friends of ours have gone the route of taking the well advertised drugs and in our opinion, have suffered as a result.
Thanks for all your guidance and support over the years.
We plan to be more diligent with the exercise programs and will let you know how that works out for us.
Thanks for sharing your kind thoughts, Dudley! We’re looking forward to hearing back from you soon 🙂
Hello Vivian, Thanks for this one. Might take my mind off my spine for a bit. Trying desperately to become straight of spine and its such a hard and long road. If I had been given honest information 3yrs. ago, maybe I wouldn’t be 2″ shorter with bell sticking out and abdominal graft stressed. Working as safely and steadily as I can manage. Thanks for your ever present inspiration and guidance..
Vivian, I tend to cheat now and then on my ‘save our bones’ diet with sweets. When I do I can feel it in my back. I will start to have minor back pain. And then, when I go back to eating 80/20 with lots of leafy greens, I feel my back getting stronger, and that pain starts to go away. So, I know that diet is the key. My slip-ups usually happen on long vacations or when family visit, but I can tell after a week if I am off the path!! Then it is back to your great program!! (I still can’t give up coffee, but have cut back substantially.)
Hi Vivian, Thank you for sharing this. I do this several times a day with 5 pound weights and can see an incredible difference in strength and tone.
Thank you for all the great info.
Your dedication to improving bone health by passing on your knowledge to others is appreciated.
Have a great weekend.
Vivian, Are palms facing away from your body? Thanks, George
I look forward to the weekend exercises very much but have a question about this week’s lesson. It states to have your palms facing you yet the picture shows the palms are facing outward. Please clarify for me. Thank you.
My thanks too. I look forward to these weekend challenges, they keep me motivated and remind me how important exercise is. I can’t always do the exercises straight away but work towards them and thanks to you I’m making continual improvement and feel much stronger.
Thank you for any information about my osteoporosis. I have the disease so bad that I was in 5 hospitals 2 rehabs and 2 surgeries with plates and screws, in 1 year, it’s so hard for me. You’re my light and I wanted to say thank you! Xox (69) years old!
Thank you Vivienne save our bones has allowed me to take control of my own body and led me along a fabulous journey of discovery of a healthier lifestyle. From the sadness of diagnosis of osteoporosis. I now feel great, Thanks from your UK fans x
Vivienne you are the most caring e-mailer that drops in on my I-phone! Beats all drug inducing medical professions in the UK. Hope you receive this message! Thank you and please keep them coming. x
Vivian, I’m 59 and have severe osteoporosis – 3.4 in spine. I’ve been underweight. Doctors tell me to gain weight in any way possible to help with weight bearing and bone strengthening, so I’ve started eating things I haven’t in the past, like more animal protein and refined carbs, since I don’t seem to be able to get enough calories from vegetables and high fiber foods. What is the best way in your view to gain weight? I eat quite a few nuts and seed butters. Can juicing celery, etc., help me stay on the alkaline side? Also, they want to start me on Forteo or Prolia and I’m so afraid, but they tell me it’s no fun to break a hip either. Any advice. Is it possible to reverse from where I’m at?