Everyone knows what the biceps is, but how much do you know about what it does and how to take care of it? In today’s Guide to Your Muscles, we’ll look at the anatomy of the biceps and learn a few exercises.
Anatomy & Function
The biceps, or biceps brachii, is a muscle group on the front of your upper arm. The biceps is attached to your shoulder with tendons in two places: at the top of your shoulder blade (scapula) and again at the shoulder joint itself.
These two “heads” of the biceps in turn meet at the elbow, where they are attached with another tendon.
Not surprisingly, given its location, the biceps is one of the muscles responsible for moving the elbow and shoulder. The contraction of your biceps is responsible for flexing your elbow, making the biceps the so-called “prime mover” for that specific action.
In addition to its star role as the forearm lifter, the biceps also plays a much more minor role at the shoulder, where it contributes to forward, upward, and sideways movements of the arms.
Weight-lifting exercises are some of the most popular for the biceps, and with good reason. Using weights can help you build tone and size.
The barbell curl is a classic biceps exercise. Make sure you grip your barbell underhanded, and maintain an upright posture. Slowly lift the weight upwards without leaning back, bringing it to the level of your chest. Squeeze your biceps, and then carefully lower the weight back down.
Hammer curls are another biceps standby. Grasp two dumbbells, one in each hand, and maintain upright posture with your hands facing towards each other in the direction of the palms.
Now, slowly raise one of the weights, either on the left or the right, up to your shoulder. Keep your wrists stable as you do this. Lower the weight and then repeat with the other one.
You can also build your biceps with bodyweight exercises. Bodyweight exercises will often help you build other muscle groups at the same time.
Standard pushups are good for the biceps, but they also work out other muscles in the shoulders, chest, and core. Keep your feet together and your arms and legs straight, and slowly push yourself off the ground.
If you are very flexible and have a lot of experience, you might also try the reverse pushup. Lie on your back, bend your legs at the knee, and put your hands above your shoulders. Using your toes and the palms of your hands, push yourself up.
Another variant is an uneven pushup with a ball, such as a medicine ball or soccer ball. Get into the pushup position with one hand on the ball and another on the floor. Push yourself up, and then switch the ball to the other hand. This exercise is also excellent for the abs and shoulders.
Whether you use weights or bodyweight exercises or a combination, with time and discipline you can build great biceps. Stay safe and have fun!