Muscle Group of the Week: Biceps
Biceps brachii, which translates to “two-headed muscle of the arm”, is a large thick muscle group consisting of a long head and a short head. The short head originates from the coracoid process of the scapula, which is a hook-like structure on the lateral side of the front of the shoulder blade. The long head comes from the supraglenoid tubercle of the scapula, which is a rough projection located near the base of the coracoid process. Both heads share an insertion site at the radial tuberosity of the radius near the elbow joint.
Lying atop the brachialis, radiobrachialis, and coracobrachialis muscles, the biceps is the most superficial muscle of the anterior upper arm.
What Does it Do?
The biceps are activated during lifting, throwing, and gesturing. Any sport involving throwing or the use of a racket will engage the biceps.
- Forearm flexion
- Forearm supination
- Shoulder stabilization
- Arm flexion
- Despite being the largest and most superficial of the anterior upper arm, the biceps brachii is a weak flexor
Making it Strong
Biceps rupture is no joke! To decrease your risk of a tendon tear, you’ll want strong upper arm muscles keeping everything in alignment and functioning properly.
Here are a few of the most popular biceps strengthening exercises. Make sure to start off slowly and never surpass your body’s limits! If you’re shaking or holding your breath with each lift, reduce the weight!
The Best Stretches
You’ve been lifting, throwing the ball, and swinging a racket – while those biceps are still warm post-workout, go do some of these stretches! Warm muscles are pliable muscles and will respond well!
Hand Clasp Stretch
Vertical Arm Stretch
Horizontal Arm Extension
Keeping it Happy
A combination of deep tissue and sports massage is ideal for tight biceps. This will involve deep slow glides along the muscle belly of the biceps, as well as active release therapy and targeted assisted stretching. Heat therapy, which can also be added to a deep tissue massage, can loosen up muscular adhesions in locked-short biceps.
When the biceps brachii tightens from hyper-contraction, the triceps brachii opposite to it becomes long and weak. Ask your therapist to perform PNF stretches targeting the triceps to help them regain their strength and flexibility.
Now You Know!
Don’t let repetitive motions of tennis, badminton, baseball, and cricket cause an upper arm injury! Prolong your independence with your exceptional ability to lift!
Author, Licensed Massage Therapist
Katrina Jenkins graduated from Towson University in 2013 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Science and worked as a nurse’s aide briefly before pursuing her true passion. She graduated from the Massage Therapy Institute of Colorado in April 2016 with honors and completed the Touch of Healers Scholarship Program the following summer. She has been a part of the Moyer Total Wellness Team since the summer of 2017.
Karunaharamoorthy, A. (2022). Biceps brachii muscle. [online] Kenhub. Available at: https://www.kenhub.com/en/library/anatomy/biceps-brachii-muscle.
Physiopedia (2019). Biceps brachii. [online] Physiopedia. Available at: https://www.physio-pedia.com/Biceps_brachii.
Tiwana, M.S., Charlick, M. and Varacallo, M. (2020). Anatomy, Shoulder and Upper Limb, Biceps Muscle. [online] PubMed. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK519538/.
WebMD Editorial Contributors (2028). What to Know About Biceps Rupture. [online] WebMD. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-to-know-about-biceps-rupture.
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