Muscle Group of the Week: Biceps

by Jan 22, 2024

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.

The Bicep Muscle

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.

bicep arm musculature

Elbow Joint

  • Forearm flexion
  • Forearm supination

Shoulder Joint

  • 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!

man doing barbell curls in the gym

Barbell Curl

man doing dumbbell curls, closeup of the arm

Dumbbell Curl

person doing cable curls, closeup of the arm

Cable Curl

woman doing chin ups

Chin Ups

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!

woman in a purple top stretching arms behind her back

Hand Clasp Stretch

woman in a pink top stretching one arm on a grey wall

Wall Stretch

man hanging from monkey bars outside without a shirt on

Hanging Stretch

woman standing outside with arms stretched overhead

Vertical Arm Stretch

man standing outside with arms stretched out wide

Horizontal Arm Extension

Keeping it Happy

sports massage on the bicep

 

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!

Katrina Jenkins

Katrina Jenkins

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.

Resources

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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