Biceps, triceps and forearms … all in one exercise? This is actually possible.
There are three ways to hit the biceps, triceps and forearms in one routine.
But this does not mean that the biceps, triceps and forearm muscles get recruited at the exact same time. This is physically impossible.
Instead, what you want is a routine that flows from recruitment of one muscle group to the other … a movement that creates this progression all in one “repetition.”
The best exercise for working the triceps, biceps and forearms “all at once” involves using a cable machine with a single-grip handle.
Set the pulley anchor near the floor so that you can curl the weight stack up with a standard curling motion to recruit the biceps. With right arm first, simply curl up the weight (biceps).
Maintain the flexed position and shift your elbow back, as though you want to “elbow” somebody who’s standing behind you. This sets you up for a triceps extension.
Palm is still facing upward from the curl. Once the elbow is shifted back, extend the elbow so that your arm becomes straight, to work the triceps. Keep upper arm very close to your side.
Don’t let it flare out. Your arm is now straight (full elbow extension) and behind you.
Next, maintain the angle that your shoulder and upper arm are in, and curl the weight. Shift elbow back to the top position of the standard cable curl.
While elbow is still flexed in the curl position, rotate hand so that palm faces the floor. Now slowly lower.
This is the negative phase of a reverse cable curl, to work the forearm. You just completed one repetition.
Though I did a lot of explaining, this move can be done in a fluid, easily-transitioning motion that lasts 10 seconds.
For the second repetition, perform the positive phase of a reverse curl (forearms); shift elbow back; and, palm still facing floor, fully extend elbow.
Then perform the reverse curl again; bring elbow back to the top position of the standard cable reverse curl; rotate wrist so that palm faces upward, and do the negative portion of a biceps curl.
Do both versions for 8-12 reps total with one arm, then the other, and you will hit the biceps, triceps and forearm muscles.
Another exercise that works the biceps, triceps and forearms is a curl-press-extension. A shoulder press is required to make the transition from biceps to triceps.
Have a seat and curl dumbbells, then press them overhead. Keep upper arms vertical and bend arms at elbows so that dumbbells are behind your head, then extend elbows. Bring dumbbells back down to shoulder level, then uncurl them.
You’ll note minimal forearm recruitment here, but you can increase forearm recruitment by reverse-curling either the opening move or the closing move.
You can also recruit different forearm muscles by holding dumbbells in a hammer curl position before bringing them behind your head.
Finally, a routine called “muscle ups” will hit the biceps, triceps and forearms. Only problem is that people who can do these usually have a gymnastics background.
A muscle up is when you do a chin-up, and in the up position (and a very high up position at that), your hands literally leave contact with the bar for a split second so that you can shift their position, to enable you to push yourself up even further, so that your entire trunk is above the bar, arms straight.
Muscle ups can be done with a single bar (standard pull-up grip) or double bars (hammer grip). This routine is so difficult that I won’t spend any more time describing it.
To work biceps, triceps and forearms all in one exercise, your best bet is the cable pulley machine.