Biceps: Anatomy, Training, Workouts & Tips (for Men)

Biceps: Anatomy, Training, Workouts & Tips (for Men)

Biceps: Anatomy, Training, Workouts & Tips (for Men)

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               Everyone wants big arms. Well, biceps is one part of the arm. The biceps are usually attributed as representative of masculinity within a variety of worldwide cultures since the beginning of time. Usually, when someone asks you to flex a muscle, you flex the biceps. Even though it is relatively small muscle group, all men want it, especially because it is so visible and looks attractive.

Anatomy of Biceps

                  Biceps Brachii

Image showing the location of the long and short head of the biceps brachii

In human anatomy, biceps brachii or popularly known as biceps is the muscle that lies between the shoulder and elbow. It has two parts, long head and short head, both of them are called bicep brachii. The short head is on the inside and the long head is on the outside. Green: short head; Red: long head

               In human anatomy, biceps brachii or popularly known as biceps is the muscle that lies between the shoulder and elbow. It has two parts, long head and short head, both of them are called bicep brachii. The short head is on the inside and the long head is on the outside. They are connected to the scapula as two separate muscles. Somewhere around the middle they form single muscle belly which connects at the upper forearm.

               Because it goes across both joints, elbow and shoulder its main functions is at the latter where it flexes the forearm at the elbow and supinates (supinated is palm up and pronated is palm down position) the forearm. Other than that it flexes the elbow and flexes and abducts the shoulder. There is, also, a muscle called brachialis which is located over the lower portion of the upper arm that connects the bottom half of the biceps to the forearm.

               There are two theories about best way to train both, long and short head. The first one says that targeting is based on elbow- body proximity. What is means is that in order to train the long head you need to position your elbows behind your body and to target the short head you need to position your elbows in front of the body.

               The other one states that the grip placement and angle are the key factors whether you train the short or long head. For instance, if you want to target the long head using dumbbells or cables, you need to use semi-supinated (hammer) grip where your palms face each other and if you use barbell your grip should be inside shoulder width. On the other hand if you want to target the short head, if you are using dumbbells or cables you should use supinated grip, where palms are facing up completely and if using barbell your grip should be outside shoulder width.

               If you ask me which one is accurate and which one should you use, I would say to try out both. The thing about our bodies is that they work differently. You should try out whatever works for you. It takes some trial and error, but once you nail it you will have amazing results! Proper nutrition, training hard and your guns will become more noticeable!

                    Brachialis

image showing the locations of the brachialis in the human arm

The brachialis (brachialis anticus) is a muscle in the upper arm that flexes the elbow joint. It lies deeper than the biceps brachii and assists the biceps brachii in flexing at the elbow.

               The brachialis (brachialis anticus) is a muscle in the upper arm that flexes the elbow joint. It lies deeper than the biceps brachii and assists the biceps brachii in flexing at the elbow. It originates from the anterior surface of the humerus and inserts into the coronoid process and the tuberosity of the ulna

               The brachialis flexes the arm at the elbow joint.Unlike the biceps, the brachialis does not insert on the radius, and does not participate in pronation and supination of the forearm.

               Training your brachialis is a great way to make your arm look massive. As it develops, the brachialis muscle pushes your biceps and triceps further away from each other, making for a wider-appearing arm.

Training Tips

               Above all, you should know that you train your arms everyday. Whenever you push you use your triceps and whenever you pull you use your biceps. Because of that you should limit your exercises and sets. It will not work better if you do 10 exercises, you will just over train your muscles and you increase the risk of getting an injury. It is enough to use the workouts I provide one day a week, anything more and you do not get the results you want.

              The biceps supinates th forearm as well as flex the arm. When you force them to do both, you are providing maximum stimulus, especially to the short head.

              The seated incline dumbbell curl is the ultimate biceps builder when it comes to the short head. The hyper-extended shoulder position stretches the long head, meaning the short head has to take up the extra work.

              Additionally, sometimes you should use cheat curls. The Oak, Schwarzenegger, was a big advocate of this method. They can be beneficial because you can fully exhaust you muscle at the end of a set. However, you should do cheat curls only when you exhaust your muscle, at the end of a set. When you do cheat curls you can get few more reps done and stimulate the muscle to grow even more.  On the other hand, it is very important to control the weight. Even though we call them “cheat” curls, you should not just throw the weights around. However, you should still place most of the stress on your biceps. In my opinion only intermediate or advance level lifters should use this method because it is easy to get yourself injured. One moment of not concentrating or bad swing and you can hurt your arm joints or ligaments.

              Also, great exercise to train your biceps is the chin up. It stimulates the biceps almost to the max! If you can incorporate 2 or 3 sets with 4-6 reps into your workout at the beginning. It is also a great way to pre-exhaust your muscle.

              Finally, do not stress over the need to have a massive “peak”. It is genetic. When the tendon which attaches the bicep to the forearm starts earlier you have short belly. When the tendon starts later, it is called long muscle belly. You can see the difference in the picture. Phil Heath has longer biceps and Kai Greene has shorter biceps. This allows Kai Greene to have a greater “peak” to his biceps than Phil Heath.

Workouts

 

                    Workout 1

 

1. Spider curl (4 sets of 12, 8, 6, 15 reps)

               Set the angle at 45-degree and place your chest at the top of the bench. When you curl do not lift your elbows. Use your arms to grab the barbell with a supinated grip at about shoulder width apart or slightly closer from each other.

2. Incline dumbbell curl (3 sets of 8, 8, 6 reps)

               Curl both hands at the same time. Lower the dumbbells slowly. Go relatively heavy. Only the forearms should move. Continue the movement until your biceps are fully contracted and the dumbbells are at shoulder level.

3. Barbell curl (3 sets of 8, 8, 12 reps)

               You can put your back against the wall and your elbows down. The biceps works very well on the negative work load. While holding the upper arms stationary, curl the weights forward while contracting the biceps as you breathe out. Only the forearms should move.

4. Preacher curl (dropset to failiure)

               Put on weight you can easily take off. Start with weight you can curl 12 reps. After that strip of some weight and do as many as you can. And again, and again, and again. After this exercise your biceps should be dead.

 

                    Workout 2

 

1. Barbell curl (3 sets of 4-6 reps)

              You can put your back against the wall and your elbows down. The biceps works very well on the negative work load. While holding the upper arms stationary, curl the weights forward while contracting the biceps as you breathe out. Only the forearms should move.

2. Dumbbell alternate bicep curl (2 sets of 8-12 reps)

               Do not use too heavy dumbbells. Use weight you can work with. Do it in controlled manner. Do not swing the weights and use the momentum as help. Remember to twist the palms back to the starting position (facing your thighs) as you come down.

3. Standing cable curl (3 sets of 15 reps)

               Hold your upper arm stationary and bend the elbows only. Pull the bar to your shoulders. The palm of your hands should be facing up (supinated grip). This is a good exercise to isolate and pump the biceps.

4. Hammer curls (3 sets of 10-12 reps)

               This is the best exercise for brachioradialis. It also works the biceps and develops the brachialis. Focus on keeping the elbow stationary and only moving your forearm.

 

                    Workout 3

 

1. Barbell curls (4 sets of 10-12 reps)

              You can put your back against the wall and your elbows down. The biceps works very well on the negative work load. While holding the upper arms stationary, curl the weights forward while contracting the biceps as you breathe out. Only the forearms should move.

2. Dumbbell alternate bicep curl (4 sets of 10-12 reps

              Do not use too heavy dumbbells. Use weight you can work with. Do it in controlled manner. Do not swing the weights and use the momentum as help. Remember to twist the palms back to the starting position (facing your thighs) as you come down.

3. Incline dumbbell curl (4 sets of 10-12 reps)

              Curl both hands at the same time. Lower the dumbbells slowly. Go relatively heavy. Only the forearms should move. Continue the movement until your biceps are fully contracted and the dumbbells are at shoulder level.

4. Concentration curls (4 sets of 10-12 reps)

               This isolation exercise allows you to control the range, speed, and alignment of the movement. Your arm should be extended and the dumbbell should be above the floor. Avoid swinging motions at any time. It works mainly the biceps, brachialis and brachioradialis.

Conclusion

               There you go. Now you have the exercises and knowledge to build your biceps. Leave out skinny arms where they should be- in the past. You can see now that knowledge is important. You know how they work and next time when you do some heavy lifting you know that you work your guns too, even though maybe you are in for chest or back. As I said, keep in mind not to over train your biceps. Use the workouts I provided you with and in no time you will have your killer biceps. Make sure to keep it heavy, keep it fast and watch them grow.

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