Muscle Your Way Into Solid Arms
Bombs, cans, egg-plants, guns, bazookas, pipes – just some of the countless terms used to describe probably one of the most sought-after hood ornaments in gyms across America – the arms.
The arms serve as the portal by which the back, chest and shoulders are best trained for muscular development. It is for this reason, that the arms see action in a multiple fitness movements in which they serve a role that frequently assists larger muscle groups.
For men, the arms represent a piece of muscular anatomy that serve as the motivation to perform countless curls to build biceps, and elbow extension movements for the triceps.
For women, this same attention, helps avoid as one of my female clients once cited, “getting arms like my mother.” Both humor and gender aside, well-sculpted arms always command a certain amount of attention and outside of a tropical vacation, seem to be the destination location for people trying to sculpt a better body.
The bottom line however, is that the arms are frequently “on show”, especially during the warm weather months and serve varied roles that range from appearances to safer living.
Bodybuilder’s don’t spend an inordinate amount of time on the arms, simply because the total weight they move for upper body training in a given week puts help maintain mass and strength. Frequently, it is the arms that achieve a point of failure before the target area being trained does.
While there are several different muscles that comprise the arm, its volume is determined by both the biceps, a pulling muscle and triceps, which are utilized as primary or “assist” muscles in pushing.
Whether it’s a chest press, shoulder press, rowing motion, pull-up or pull-down, both the biceps and triceps are frequently recruited by the human body to perform a number of different mechanics
Understanding the anatomy of these two muscles offers a better appreciation for what they do and the joints that they stabilize.
The formal name for the biceps is biceps brachii and its “bi” prefix means two, signifying its beginning or origin is at two different locations of the anterior shoulder – extensions of the shoulder blade. They then merge at the mid-arm location to create a “belly” or the portion of the muscle that is greatest in size, ultimately attaching(insertion) to the long bones of the lower arm, the radius and ulna.
It is because of the two locations on the shoulder where the biceps tendon originates that pain can be experienced at this landmark as the biceps muscle is stressed or fatigued.
The triceps muscle, by their name alone, denote a “triad” or three. The number that supports it’s name sake, refers to the three different locations that this muscle originates, or begins. While the biceps command the most attention, it is the triceps that give the upper arm the majority of its volume.
The function of the tricep is to facilitate extension or straightening of the arm. When trained with the biceps, these muscles provide stability of the elbow joint. For sports that involve pushing, such as football, or getting up quickly from the ground, like volley ball, tricep strength is especially effective at improving performance.
Strengthening of both of these muscles are certainly not limited to the young, or athletes. For seniors that sustain falls, or are responsible for getting to their feet the role of the biceps and triceps play pivotal roles in helping a person get to their feet.
Whether it be a sleeveless season, pulling yourself up, our pushing open a door, the triceps and biceps play key roles in a healthy body and a functional life.