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Bigger 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

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Pelvic region

The pelvic region of the trunk is the lower part of the trunk, between the abdomen and the thighs. It includes several structures:

  • the bony pelvis (or pelvic skeleton), which is the part of the skeleton embedded in the pelvic region of the trunk, subdivided into:
    • the pelvic girdle (i.e., the two hip bones), which connects the spine to the lower limbs, and
    • the pelvic region of the spine (i.e., sacrum, and coccyx)
  • the pelvic cavity, defined as a small part of the space enclosed by the bony pelvis, delimited by the pelvic brim above and the pelvic floor below; also subdivided into:
    • the greater (or false) pelvis, above the pelvic brim
    • the lesser (or true) pelvis, below the pelvic brim
  • the pelvic floor (or pelvic diaphragm), below the pelvic cavity
  • the perineum, below the pelvic floor

So, as you imagine, there are a lot of muscles in this region. Let´s focus on the muscles of the hip.

Pelvic region

Posterior muscle groupTensor fascia latae

· Tensor fasciae latae muscle: Assist in keeping the balance of the pelvis while standing, walking or running. Medial rotation and flexion of the hip. Assist weakly with the extension of the knee, lateral rotation of the leg at the knee. Also stabilizes the hip and the knee during standing.

Origin:
anterior aspect of iliac crest
anterior superior iliac spine (ASIS)

Insertion: anterior aspect of IT band, below greater trochanter

Pain and symptoms associated with the Tensor Fasciae Latae muscle and Iliotibial Band

– Pain in deep in the hip going down the outside of the thigh
– Pain at the front of the hip joint
– Discomfort sitting
– When standing from a sitting position you tend to stand-up leaning forward at the waist with your knees bent. Straightening to a full standing position is slow with a feeling of stiffness as well as painful
– While standing knees and hips tend to be flexed (bent)
– Pain intensives when foot hits the ground while walking or running

ITBS is the most common pain syndromes in runners, weight lifters, dancers, tennis players and basketball players. Pain or a stinging burning sensation is felt on the outside of the thigh down to the lower knee. Pain is more pronounced when the foot hits the ground while walking or running. Pain from trigger points in the tensor fasciae latae muscle is often diagnosed as bursitis of the hip or thinning of the hip cartilage.

Activities that cause tensor fasciae latae muscle and iliotibial band muscle pain and symptoms

– Too much walking when not in shape
– Running
– Climbing
– Cycling
– Dancing
– Court sports (tennis, basketball, volleyball)

· Gluteus maximus: When the gluteus maximus takes its fixed point from the pelvis, it extends the acetabula femoral joint and brings the bent thigh into a line with the body. Taking its fixed point from below, it acts upon the pelvis, supporting it and the trunk upon the head of the femur; this is especially obvious in standing on one leg.

Origin:
1. outer rim of ilium (medial aspect)
2. dorsal surface of sacrum and coccyx
3. sacrotuberous ligament

Insertion:
1. IT band (primary insertion)
2. gluteal tuberosity of femur

Its most powerful action is to cause the body to regain the erect position after stopping, by drawing the pelvis backward, being assisted in this action by the biceps femoris (long head), semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and adductor Magnus.

The lower part of the muscle also acts as an adductor and external rotator of the limb. The upper fibers act as abductors of the hip joints.

Pain and symptoms associated with the Gluteus Maximus muscle

– Low back pain
– Outer hip pain near and or around the joint
– Pain around the tailbone
– Pain and burning in the buttocks
– Increased pain when walking uphill or up an incline
– Inability or increased pain when you bend over to touch your toes

Activities that cause gluteus maximus pain and symptoms

– Jumping
– Falls
– Swimming especially when using the flutter kick
– Climbing
– Deep knee bends
– Repetitive lifting of heavy objects with knees bent (this may protect your back, but puts enormous strain on the glute max)
– Prolonged sitting on hard surfaces
– Sitting for long periods
– Prolonged sitting on a wallet

· Gluteus medius: with the leg in neutral position, it works with the gluteus minimus to pull the thigh away from the midline (abduct the thigh). During gait, supports the body on one leg, in conjunction with the tensor fasciae latae muscle to prevent the pelvis from dropping to the opposite side. With the hip flexed, it works with the gluteus minimus to rotate the hip. With the hip extended, both externally rotate the thigh.

Origin:
1. outer aspect of ilium (between iliac crest and anterior and posterior gluteal lines)
2. upper fascia (AKA gluteal aponeurosis)

Insertion: superior aspect of greater trochanter

Pain and symptoms associated with the Gluteus Medius muscle

– Pain in the lower back around the beltline
– Pain in the hip
– Pain in the buttock
– Pain can extend down the outside of the leg
– Pain can extend into back of the leg
– Pain when lying on the affected side
– Pain will prevent sitting on the afflicted buttock
– Pain worsens when sitting or standing for extended periods of time
– Pain when sitting slouched

Activities that cause gluteus medius pain and symptoms

– Sitting for long periods of time with legs crossed
– Standing on hard surfaces for an extended time
– Walking and carrying a heavy item
– Carrying a child on the hip
– Always carrying heavy objects on one side such as filled buckets, heavy briefcase, etc.
– Aerobic exercise
– Running
– Weightlifting

· Gluteus minimus: with the leg in neutral position, it works with the gluteus medius to pull the thigh away from the midline (abduct the thigh). During gait, supports the body on one leg, in conjunction with the tensor fasciae latae muscle to prevent the pelvis from dropping to the opposite side. With the hip flexed, it works with the gluteus medius to rotate the hip. With the hip extended, both externally rotate the thigh.

Origin: outer aspect of ilium (between anterior and inferior gluteal lines)

Insertion:
1. greater trochanter (anterior to medius)
2. articular capsule of hip joint

Pain and symptoms associated with the Gluteus Minimus muscle

– Pain in buttocks
– Pain on the outside of the hip
– Pain in the back and outside of the thigh
– Pain in the back of the calf down to the ankle
– Numbness in buttocks, hip and thigh traveling down to ankle
– Pain while walking
– Difficulty rising from a sitting position
– Difficulty crossing your legs
– Pain while laying on affected side

Activities that cause gluteus minimus pain and symptoms

– Sitting for long periods of time with legs crossed
– Sitting on a wallet in the back pocket
– Walking and carrying an heavy item
– Carrying a child on the hip
– Limping for extended periods of time
– Standing with weight unequally distributed on legs

Ventral hip muscle group

· Piriformis: laterally rotates the femur with hip extension and abducts the femur with hip flexion. When the hip is flexed to 90 degrees, piriformis abducts the femur at the hip and reverses primary function, internally rotating the hip when the hip is flexed at 90 degrees or more.

 

Origin: pelvic surface of sacrum (anterior portion)

Insertion: medial surface of greater trochanter (through greater sciatic foramen)

Pain and symptoms associated with the Piriformis muscle

– Low back pain at the base of the spine
– Buttock pain
– Hip pain around the hip joint
– Aching pain, burning or tingling sensations down into the back of the thigh which occasionally extends into the lower leg and/or sole of the foot
– Pelvic pain
– Difficulty or inability to cross your legs
– Difficulty or inability to spreading leg side to side
– Difficulty or inability to step out widely
– Sitting for long periods of time increases pain and discomfort in the hip and/or back of the thigh
– Lying down will often help diminish pain but will not totally alleviate it

– The sciatic nerve runs under the piriformis. The piriformis muscle will sometimes agitate the nerve causing symptoms of sciatica which include pain, tingling, and numbness in the buttock, hip, back of the thigh, back of the calf which extends to the bottom of the foot. This is known as piriformis syndrome. In approximately 15% of the population, the sciatic nerve runs directly through the piriformis muscle. These people are more like to have symptoms of sciatica.
– Women are more prone to problems with piriformis muscle pain.

Activities that cause piriformis pain and symptoms

– Activities and sports requiring quick abrupt changes in directions
– Tennis
– Football
– Soccer
– Basketball
– Twisting while lifting
– Sitting excessively

· External obturator muscle: acts as the lateral rotator of the hip joint. As a short muscle around the hip joint, it stabilizes the hip joint as a postural muscle.

Origin:
1. medial surface of obturator foramen
2. external surface of obturator membrane

Insertion: trochanteric fossa of femur

· Internal obturator muscle: helps laterally rotate femur with hip extension and abduct femur with hip flexion, as well as to steady the femoral head in the acetabulum.

Origin:
1. internal aspect margins of obturator foramen
2. obturator membrane

Insertion: medial aspect of greater trochanter (through lesser sciatic foramen)

· Quadratus femoris: it is a strong external rotator and adductor of the thigh, but also acts to stabilize the femoral head in the Acetabulum.

Origin: lateral aspect of ischial tuberosity

lateral aspect of ischial tuberosity

Insertion: quadrate line (along posterior aspect of femur and intertrochanteric crest)

quadrate line (along posterior aspect of femur and intertrochanteric crest)

Symptoms and pain associated with the rectus femoris muscle

– Knee pain that feels as if it originates under the knee cap
– Pain in the front of the thigh extending down into the inside of the knee
– Weak knee
– Stiff knee
– Inability to fully straighten knee
– Pain walking down stairs
– Restless Leg Syndrome
– Sharp pain deep in the front of the thigh while sleeping

Activities that cause rectus femoris pain and symptoms

– Cycling
– Climbing
– Running and power walking
– Swimming
– Kicking a football or soccer ball
– Swimming
– Wearing high heel shoes
– Sitting excessively

Dorsal hip muscle group

· Psoas major: contributes to flexion in the hip joint. On the lumbar spine, unilateral contraction bends the trunk laterally while bilateral contraction raises the trunk from its supine position.

 

Origin:
1. transverse processes of L1-L5
2. vertebral bodies of T12-L4 and the intervening intervertebral discs

Insertion: iliopsoas tendon to the lesser trochanter of the femur

· Psoas minor: is a weak flexor of the lumbar vertebral column.

Origin:

Lateral surface bodies of T12 and L1 vertebrae and intervening intervertebral disc

Insertion Pectineal line and iliopubic eminence

· Iliacus: is important for lifting (flexing) the femur forward. From its origin in the lesser pelvis, the iliacus acts exclusively on the hip joint.

Origin:

inner surface of upper iliac fossa

Insertion:

iliopsoas tendon to the lesser trochanter of the femur

Pain and symptoms associated with the Iliopsoas muscles

– Low back pain
– Abdomen pain
– Groin pain
– Leg pain
– Pelvic pain
– Difficulty standing from a sitting position
– Severe pain or inability to do sit-ups or crunches
– Tendency to walk with feet turned out
– Extreme dysfunction in the iliopsoas can cause pain under the shoulder blade that extends down to the top of the hip.

Activities that cause iliopsoas pain and symptoms

– Sitting for long periods of time
– Sleeping on your side in the fetal position
– Being overweight
– Strenuous running
– Climbing stairs
– Sit ups, crunches and leg ups
– Slumping posture