Summer is fast approaching and, as the adage goes…Sun’s out, guns out.
Your biceps are an important feature in any body-building physique and men especially have been fascinated with their biceps for thousands of years (see all ancient Greek statues ever built). But what exactly is this all important muscle and what is it’s functional purpose (flexing in the mirror aside)?
First of all, let’s start with where it is.
Your biceps, or biceps brachii if you want to get technical, starts down at your radius (forearm bone) just below your elbow joint, and then splits into two muscles as it travels up to the top of your shoulder with one end attached onto the front of your shoulder blade (near your collar bone) and the other right up to the front of your shoulder joint (the knobbly bit of your shoulder). Hence why it starts with “bi” for “two”, as in two muscles.
Your biceps have three functions:
- To bend your elbow
- To turn your forearm over so your palms are facing up (supinate)
- To lift your shoulder up so you can do things such as hang the washing out, or do bicep curls.
So how do we train this obnoxiously important muscle? Well, there are two main types of exercises you should be doing if you want biceps like beach balls. The key thing to remember about training your guns, is to work them until fatigue. Use weights (body or free) that are heavy enough that you’re maxing out at about 10 repetitions. Any heavier and you’re risking injury; any lower weight and you’re not pushing them hard enough.
- Isolated bicep work: These are exercises that specifically target your biceps. See the one arm concentration curl shown in the video below. Notice how he bends the elbow and turns his forearm so his palm is facing up in a smooth fashion. This maximises the workout of the full bicep.
- Compound large movements that involve your biceps: Chin-ups are a great example of a large compound movement. It targets other muscles but really hits your biceps hard. Take a look at the video below.
If you have any enquires about what movements you need to be doing to get your biceps firing – or maybe you have a niggle in your biceps because you’ve been pumping them too hard – come in and see our friendly Physios at Bend + Mend to work out a treatment plan that has you back on track for a sleeveless summer.