One of the most commonly overlooked muscle groups in many training programs are those designed to strengthen forearms and hand muscles. While there are many weight-centered exercises for building bulk, few work better than bodyweight training to build lasting strength in them.

Generally speaking, many people don't consider the importance of hand and forearm strength. It is paramount to most daily functions as well as sports related activities. That being the case, it is a very important component of any complete fitness program.

Strong appendages are handy to have in daily life. You use both constantly throughout the work day on almost any occupation out there. If they're not strong, as well as flexible, fatigue sets in earlier in the work day cutting productivity. They are an investment in your overall health.

If you play a lot of sports, how much better would your performance be with strength in these areas? How much use is your tennis racket, softball bat, hockey stick or ski pole held in a weak grip? Not much, it's safe to say.

You don't need a gym to improve and maintain muscle strength. Some of the best exercises to achieve this are bodyweight exercises that you can do with minimal or no equipment at all.

Many people complain of weakness in their arms mistakenly and attack the problem with weights. This may be the last thing you actually want to do. The real problem is more likely to be "tight" forearms.

A good portion of folks who believe they have weak forearms and hands sit long hours at a computer or desk, doing some set of repetitive tasks all day long. This causes the muscles to tighten up considerably and become fatigued.

So, what's the first thing they do when they get off work? They head to the gym and hit the weights for a workout. This only exacerbates the problem, it doesn't help it. What the forearms need more than anything is to be stretched and flex to loosen the muscles up for flexibility.

You can do several of these exercises throughout the day right at your work station. Here are examples of some simple, yet very beneficial exercises that can be performed almost anywhere:

* Slowly bend the fingers over the back of one hand with the opposite one and hold it there for 20-60 seconds. This stretches the underside of the forearm. Repeat several times.

* You may also place your fingertips on the edge of a desk or table and push the heel of the hands forward over the backs of them. Hold this position for 20-60 seconds and repeat several times.

* Do the exercise above in reverse to stretch the tops of the forearms. Bend the fingertips toward the palms with arm extended and hold for about one minute. Do this to each arm.

It is advisable to do these stretches prior to a workout to build strength as well. Otherwise, you are defeating the purpose all together.

Some of the best exercises to build strength in these muscle groups are also some of the simplest to perform. The mimic daily routine use of these muscle groups. Here is a short list of functional exercises that are very beneficial to this workout:

* Pull-Ups (trains forearms in tandem with the rest of the upper torso)

* Push-Ups (with fingertip raise at top position)

* Rope Climbing (uses multiple muscle groups across the body)

This will give you a jumping-off point to get started. It is recommended that you consult with a professional trainer who teaches bodyweight exercises to learn more. There are any number of books related to the topic of hand and forearm exercises using bodyweight training. No better time than today to get started.