Bigger arms!

Arms

Everyone wants bigger arms, but there’s no such thing as a magical workout you can do to get them.

Arms

Let´s see the most important muscles:

The Coracobrachialis is a long, slender muscle of the shoulder joint.

The contraction of the coracobrachialis leads to two movements at the shoulder joint. On one hand, it bends the arm (flexion), and on the other hand, it pulls the arm towards the trunk (adduction). To a smaller extent, it also turns the humerus inwards (inward rotation). Another important function is the stabilization of the humeral head within the shoulder joint, especially when the arm is hanging freely straight down.

Origin:

Coracoid process of the scapula.

Insertion:

The medial shaft of the humerus at about its middle.

The overuse of the coracobrachialis can lead to stiffening of the muscle. Common causes of injury include chest workouts or activities that require pressing the arm very tight towards the body, e.g. work on the rings in gymnastics. Symptoms of overuse or injury: pain in the arm and shoulder, radiating down to the back of the hand.

Pain and symptoms associated with the Coracobrachialis muscle
 
– Pain in the back of the upper arm
– Pain in the front of the upper arm around the shoulder joint
– Pain in the back of the lower arm
– Pain in the back of the hand extending down into the middle finger
– Difficulty bending the elbow
– Pain when putting arm and hand behind the head and back
– Pain when raising arm overhead
– Occasionally numbness in the upper arm that can extend into the forearm and back of the hand
 
Activities that cause coracobrachialis pain and symptoms
 
– Push ups
– Rock or rope climbing
– Throwing a ball
– Golf
– Tennis
– Lifting heavy weights with outstretched arms and palms facing up
 

The Biceps brachii, commonly known as the biceps, is a two-headed muscle that lies on the upper arm between the shoulder and the elbow. The Biceps muscle is actually two separate bundles of muscles (heads). The two heads of the Biceps vary in length and as a result, are called the Short and the Long Biceps heads.

Origin:

  1. Long head- supraglenoid tubercle and glenohumeral labrum.
  2. Short head- tip of the coracoid process of the scapula.

Insertion:

  1. Radial tuberosity.
  2. Bicipital aponeurosis.

The biceps works across three joints.

Proximal radioulnar joint (upper forearm): It functions primarily as a powerful supinator of the forearm (turns the palm upwards). This action, which is aided by the supinator muscle requires the elbow to be at least partially flexed.

Humeroulnar joint (elbow): It also functions as an important flexor of the forearm, particularly when the forearm is supinated. This action is performed when lifting an object, such as a bag of groceries. When the forearm is in pronation (the palm faces the ground), the brachialis, brachioradialis, and supinator function to flex the forearm, with minimal contribution from the biceps brachii.

Glenohumeral joint (shoulder): TIt weakly assists in forward flexion of the shoulder joint (bringing the arm forward and upwards). It also contributes to abduction (bringing the arm out to the side) when the arm is externally (or laterally) rotated. The short head also assists with horizontal adduction (bringing the arm across the body) when the arm is internally (or medially) rotated. Finally, the short head, due to its attachment to the scapula (or shoulder blade), assists with stabilization of the shoulder joint when a heavy weight is carried in the arm.

Pain and symptoms associated with the Biceps Brachii muscles
 
– Pain in the front of the shoulder
– Pain in the crease of the elbow
– Weakness in the arm
– Difficulty straightening arm with palm facing down
– Pain at the top of the back of the shoulder (between the neck and shoulder joint)
– Unless there is a recent injury to the biceps muscle, pain is seldom felt directly in the muscle
 
Activities that cause biceps brachii pain and symptoms
 
– Lifting heavy objects
– Chin ups, Pull ups
– Playing the violin
– Repetitive twisting of the arm with the elbow bent, ie. using a screwdriver
– The most important function of the biceps brachii is it allows us to carry objects and not pull the shoulder joint apart.
– Violinists and cellists often have problems and pain in the biceps.
 

The brachialis is a muscle in the upper arm that flexes the elbow joint. It lies deeper than the biceps brachii and is a synergist that assists the biceps brachii in flexing at the elbow.

Origin:

  1. Lower 1/2 of anterior humerus.
  2. Both intermuscular septa.

Insertion:

  1. Ulnar tuberosity.
  2. Coronoid process of ulna slightly.

Its primary action is to flex the forearm muscles at the elbow. Due to its high contractile strength, the branchialis makes many arm and elbow movements possible. Such movements are important for the activities of daily life. Because movements involving the arms and elbows are almost always continuous, injuries to the brachialis muscle are quite common.

Pain and symptoms associated with the Brachialis muscle
 
– Pain at the front and /or back of the base of the thumb
– Constant aching and/or tightness in the outside of the upper arm near the elbow
– Numbness or tingling in the forearm and thumb
– Difficulty bending the elbow
 
Activities that cause brachialis pain and symptoms
 
– Lifting heavy objects with a bent elbow
– Picking up children
– Holding up heavy tools
– Working at the computer
– Chin ups
– Playing the oboe, clarinet, and saxophone
 

The Triceps Brachii muscles are located on the back of the humerus and more commonly referred to as the triceps. The triceps muscles have three muscle heads: Lateral, Medial and Long head.

Origin:

  1. Long head: infraglenoid tubercle of the scapula.
  2. Lateral head: upper half of the posterior surface of the shaft of the humerus, and the upper part of the lateral intermuscular septum.
  3. Medial head: posterior shaft of humerus, distal to radial groove and both the medial and lateral intermuscular septum (deep to the long & lateral heads).

Insertion:

  1. Posterior surface of the olecranon process of the ulna.
  2. Deep fascia of the antebrachium.

Primarily responsible for the extension of the elbow joint (straightening of the arm). It can also fixate the elbow joint when the forearm and hand are used for fine movements, e.g., when writing. The lateral head is used for movements requiring occasional high-intensity force, while the medial fascicle enables more precise, low-force movements.

With its origin on the scapula, the long head also acts on the shoulder joint and is also involved in retroversion and adduction of the arm.

Pain and symptoms associated with the Triceps Brachii muscle
 
– Pain in the back of the shoulder
– Pain at the base of the neck
– Pain on the outside of the elbow
– Pain throughout the back of the elbow
– Feeling of weakness in the elbow
– Pain in the back of the upper arm
– Can make elbow hypersensitive
– Occasionally pain and/or burning down into the fourth and fifth fingers
– Difficulty straightening and bending the elbow
– Pain is usually dull and aching, rarely is the pain sharp or stabbing
 
Activities that cause triceps brachii muscle pain and symptoms
 
– Tennis
– Golfing
– Swinging a baseball bat
– Repetitive pushing downward action
– Forcefully holding something down.
 

The anconeus muscle (or anconaeus/anconæus) is a small muscle on the posterior aspect of the elbow joint.

Anconeus

Origin:

Posterior surface of the lateral epicondyle of the humerus.

Insertion:

Lateral aspect of olecranon extending to the lateral part of ulnar body.

It assists in extension of the elbow, where the triceps brachii is the principal agonist, and supports the elbow in full extension. It also prevents the elbow joint capsule being pinched in the olecranon fossa during extension of the elbow. Anconeus also abducts the ulna and stabilizes the elbow joint. Anconeus serves to make minute movements with the radius on the ulna. In making slight abduction of the ulna, it allows any finger to be used as a axis of rotation of the forearm.

Activities That Cause Pain and Symptoms of the Anconeus

– Forced and repetitive gripping of a large and/or wide object
– Extreme sudden hard extension (straightening) of the elbow
– Pushing a door closed
– Rotating arm to shake hands
– Golfing (non-dominate arm)
– Tennis (dominant arm)
– Rowing motions

34 thoughts on “Bigger arms!”

  1. Even if I was not running I lift heavy I warm up and do barbell curls with 135 and my arms do not get big, I only lift heavy. My strength is deceptive to a lot of people. . I jump in with huge guys and do more weight than they can on almost any movement. I just get stronger. I don’t mind. It is better when my waist is smaller to show the muscles easier as I have a decent sized chest with definition as well as lats and delts and my arms take me 3 workouts to show definition. Legs I always have, lol.

      1. For some odd reason my warmup weights have not changed in 27 years. My maxes are close to the same. As far as tendons or similar my achilles, both hate me running. I have to run on a short stride. Once I open up, put on spikes a few times a week they almost double in size and are bumpy. So I have to get in shape quick, then barely train and find races. BC when they get like that no pt, orthotics or even studies have worked. KT tape helped a tad. I have had drs say I would need surgery to shorten them. Then I would surely snap them. But lifting I can do and I run, just I have moved away from the city which has the best track in the world and it’s great to train on. :)

      2. 27 years… Do you know the quote “I fear the man who practices 1 kick 10000 times…”. But how did you deal with boredom?

      3. I know it well. There is also The Rocky saying of how many minutes you have to train to fight one fight. Then there is one that runners know. In order to run a 100 meter dash you have to do 10000 of them and added are 10000 starts and accelerations. But when you have the condition do not let it go and it is easier to attain. :)

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Lower Back

The Erector Spinae is not just one muscle, but a bundle of muscles and tendons. Paired, they run more or less vertically. It extends throughout the lumbar, thoracic and cervical regions, and lies in the groove to the side of the vertebral column.

Latissimus Dorsi

The latissimus dorsi is the larger, flat, dorsolateral muscle on the trunk, posterior to the arm, and partly covered by the trapezius on its median dorsal region.

Deltoids

The Deltoid muscle is the muscle forming the rounded contour of the shoulder. It is divided into three portions, anterior, lateral and posterior, with the fibers having different roles due to their orientation.

Infraspinatus

The Infraspinatus muscle is one of the four rotator cuff muscles crossing the shoulder joint and is commonly injured. It is the main external rotator of the shoulder joint.

Biceps

The Biceps brachii is  actually two separate bundles of muscles (heads). The two heads of the Biceps vary in length and as a result, are called the Short and the Long Biceps heads.

Triceps

The Triceps Brachii muscles  have three muscle heads: Lateral, Medial and Long head. Primarily responsible for the extension of the elbow joint. The lateral head is used for movements requiring occasional high-intensity force, while the medial fascicle enables more precise, low-force movements.

Forearm
(Anterior muscles)

The Pronator teres pronates the forearm, turning the hand posteriorly. If the elbow is flexed to a right angle, then pronator teres will turn the hand so that the palm faces inferiorly. It is assisted in this action by pronator quadratus.

Forearm
(Posterior muscles)

The Extensor Digitorum muscle helps in the movements of the wrists and the elbows. It extends the phalanges, then the wrist, and finally the elbow. It acts principally on the proximal phalanges. It tends to separate the fingers as it extends them.

Pecs

The pectoralis major makes up the bulk of the chest muscles in the male and lies under the breast in the female.

The pectoralis minor is a thin, triangular muscle, situated at the upper part of the chest, beneath the pectoralis major. 

Abs

The Rectus Abdominis is the most superficial of the abdominal muscles. It is this muscle which forms the six-pack shape! It is a paired muscle running vertically on each side of the anterior wall of the abdomen. There are two parallel muscles, separated by a midline band of connective tissue called the linea alba.

Obliques

The External Oblique is situated on the lateral and anterior parts of the abdomen. It is broad, thin, and irregularly quadrilateral. It is the largest and the most superficial (outermost) of the three flat muscles of the lateral anterior abdomen. 

Glutes

The gluteal muscles are a group of three muscles which make up the buttocks: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. The three muscles originate from the ilium and sacrum and insert on the femur. The functions of the muscles include extension, abduction, external rotation, and internal rotation of the hip joint.

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Quadriceps

The Quadriceps Femoris is the knee extensor muscle.  As a group, the quadriceps femoris is crucial in walking, running, jumping and squatting. It´s subdivided into four separate “heads”.

Hamstrings

A hamstring is any one of the three posterior thigh muscles in between the hip and the knee (from medial to lateral: semimembranosus, semitendinosus and biceps femoris). The hamstrings are quite susceptible to injury.

Lower Leg

The gastrocnemius and the soleus form what we know as calf. They are involved in activities such as walking, running, jumping… 

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Trapezius

The trapezius is a broad, flat and triangular muscle. The muscles on each side form a trapezoid shape. It is the most superficial of all the back muscles.

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