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So you want big arms?

So you want big arms? by Keith Connell

Nothing says being a bodybuilder more than big arms.

To get big arms, you work the biceps muscle, right? That’s the one everyone thinks about when someone says, “Make a muscle!”

ANATOMY:

Men`s FitnessThe biceps has two (2) heads (bi means two).

The triceps has three (3) heads (tri means 3).

Besides some ancillary muscles, bone, nerves, veins, arteries, skin, and some fat, these are the major muscles that you build in the upper arm and the ones responsible for the vast majority of the mass there.

Look at the diagram above. The biceps are the two small muscle bellies at the bottom of the image. Contrast that to the three heads of the triceps at the top of the image. The meaty long head is roughly the size of the entire biceps. Another way to think of it is in fractions: 2/5 of the arm is biceps and 3/5 is triceps (if each head was equal in size). I’ll cover the brachialis later. So it makes more sense to emphasize triceps work in your upper arm routine – roughly the same fraction. How much each person needs is dependent on the individual; however, if you do, say, 9 sets for biceps, then you should probably do around 12 sets for triceps for optimal and balanced development.

BICEPS:

olympian shock program, infinite_labsLooking at the image, it is a cross section of the left arm; the biceps brachii is on the anterior (front) of the upper arm. So the short head is medial (close to the body) and the long head is lateral (on the outside of the body). Both biceps heads join together at the insertion point just below the elbow. By the way, you don’t ‘flex a muscle’ — you flex (bend) at a joint. Most people think the primary job of the biceps is to flex the arm (bend at the elbow joint). However, when the upper arm is partially flexed, the biceps strength lies in its role as a supinator (turning the palms up). Don’t believe me? Flex (bend) your arm at 90 degrees with the palm down (pronated). Now while keeping your arm bent at 90 degrees, rotate just your forearm so that your palm is up while watching your bicep. What happened? It contracted (got shorter)! Any movement where you turn your palms up will work this function. There are other muscles that help supinate, granted, but the biceps is the larger of these.

The long, lateral head is unique for the biceps because it crosses two joints (the elbow and shoulder). So, to work the long head at the glenohumeral end (shoulder joint), full contraction is actually when your elbow is up and your forearm is behind you. Contract your bicep hard in this position and you will quickly know what I mean. To work this, you have to use a high cable attachment and use this motion.

The short (medial) head is involved more when the upper arm is in front of the body and/or the wrists are wider than the elbows, such as preacher curls and spider curls.

The long head involved more when the upper arm is behind the body as in incline curls and when moving the elbow upwards (toward the shoulder).

Are other exercises useless? No. But one exercise is not enough and you should strive for complete development.

TRICEPS

best tricep exercise, infinite_labsIn the main image, the triceps brachii are on the posterior (rear or back of the upper arm. It is responsible for extending the arm. All three heads have a common insertion at the elbow (ulna). The lateral (outside) head originates on the humerus bone and is what people try to build for the ‘horseshoe’ look. The lateral head is the primary mover when extending the upper arm laterally (away from the body) as is a triceps extension with a rope. Notice that some people actually spread the ends of the rope away from each other at full extension? That emphasizes the lateral head to a high degree.

Figure 2 – Samir Bannout – Striated Horseshoes

The long head crosses the shoulder joint and originates at the infraglenoid tubercle of the scapula (shoulder blade) is the primary mover when your arms are kept close to your body as in dips, bench dips, and especially any overhead extension movement. Since it attaches to the scapula, it is also responsible for adduction (bringing the arm close to the body) and extending the shoulder. This is why it is best to keep your arms next to your side when doing tricep pushdowns.

The medial head originates on the humerus and is deep inside your arm – actually next to the humerus (upper arm bone). There is no direct exercise for the medial mead in isolation. In other words, it is worked on virtually all triceps exercises.

BRACHIALIS:

4 pre-workout rituals, infinite_labsThe brachialis is also deep within, next to the humerus bone, deep inside your upper arm and assists the biceps with elbow flexion (not supination or pronation). It originates on the humerus and inserts into the ulna (medial/inside) arm of the forearm. While many have been able to develop their brachialis, the undisputed king is Arnold Schwarzenegger. Arnold may have blessed with more than just great genetics as some people have double of this muscle or different points where they attach. The best exercise to work the brachialis is incline curls and hammer curls.

BRACHIORADIALIS:

The brachioradialis is actually not part of the upper arm at all as it is a forearm muscle; however it has its origin on the upper arm. It assists the biceps with flexion of the elbow. It is also involved with both supination and pronation, but is strongest when the palm is in a neutral grip (as in the image just above Arnold). Therefore, the hammer curl is by far the best exercise for this muscle.

TRICEPS

Body Building In ProgressIn the main image, the triceps brachii are on the posterior (rear or back of the upper arm. It is responsible for extending the arm. All three heads have a common insertion at the elbow (ulna). The lateral (outside) head originates on the humerus bone and is what people try to build for the ‘horseshoe’ look. The lateral head is the primary mover when extending the upper arm laterally (away from the body) as is a triceps extension with a rope. Notice that some people actually spread the ends of the rope away from each other at full extension? That emphasizes the lateral head to a high degree.

Figure 2 – Samir Bannout – Striated Horseshoes

The long head crosses the shoulder joint and originates at the infraglenoid tubercle of the scapula (shoulder blade) is the primary mover when your arms are kept close to your body as in dips, bench dips, and especially any overhead extension movement. Since it attaches to the scapula, it is also responsible for adduction (bringing the arm close to the body) and extending the shoulder. This is why it is best to keep your arms next to your side when doing tricep pushdowns.

The medial head originates on the humerus and is deep inside your arm – actually next to the humerus (upper arm bone). There is no direct exercise for the medial mead in isolation. In other words, it is worked on virtually all triceps exercises.

BRACHIALIS:

low testosterone, infinite_LabsThe brachialis is also deep within, next to the humerus bone, deep inside your upper arm and assists the biceps with elbow flexion (not supination or pronation). It originates on the humerus and inserts into the ulna (medial/inside) arm of the forearm. While many have been able to develop their brachialis, the undisputed king is Arnold Schwarzenegger. Arnold may have blessed with more than just great genetics as some people have double of this muscle or different points where they attach. The best exercise to work the brachialis is incline curls and hammer curls.

BRACHIALIS:

The brachialis is also deep within, next to the humerus bone, deep inside your upper arm and assists the biceps with elbow flexion (not supination or pronation). It originates on the humerus and inserts into the ulna (medial/inside) arm of the forearm. While many have been able to develop their brachialis, the undisputed king is Arnold Schwarzenegger. Arnold may have blessed with more than just great genetics as some people have double of this muscle or different points where they attach. The best exercise to work the brachialis is incline curls and hammer curls.

BRACHIORADIALIS:

The brachioradialis is actually not part of the upper arm at all as it is a forearm muscle; however it has its origin on the upper arm. It assists the biceps with flexion of the elbow. It is also involved with both supination and pronation, but is strongest when the palm is in a neutral grip (as in the image just above Arnold). Therefore, the hammer curl is by far the best exercise for this muscle.

MUSCLE MEDIA MAGAZINE FOR MEN
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