Biceps; Not Just for the Flexing?
When someone tells you to “make a muscle”, they aren’t asking to see your quad. They want you to flex your biceps. The biceps brachii or “biceps” are one of the more popular muscles in the body. Biceps are what I like to call “beach muscles.” Almost every guy wishes he had little mountains on his arms. Likewise, women strive to have lean, tone arms. Biceps are not just great for showing off in the summertime; they also serve a purpose for bodily function. The bicep curl machine is great for working the biceps through the full range of motion in a controlled, focused manner. In this article, we will discuss all of this in detail.
Now, it is time for a short anatomy lesson. The term biceps brachii comes from a Latin phrase meaning “two-headed muscle of the arm”. It consists of a long head and a short head. The long head is the larger of the two muscles. It lies on the lateral (away from the midline of the body) side of the arm. The long head originates (proximal attachment) at the scapula and inserts (distal attachment) at the forearm. The short head lies on the medial (towards the midline of the body) side of the arm. It originates at the scapula and inserts at the forearm. The long and short heads work together and combine on the anterior (front) side of the humerus to form one larger muscle. Their primary function is to flex the elbow. This flexing action brings the forearm towards the shoulder. The secondary function of the biceps is to supinate the forearm. Supination is the action of rotating your hand to the palms-up position. An easy way to remember supination is that it is the position your hand is in when you hold a bowl of soup or action your arm makes when turning a doorknob. That is enough for the anatomy lesson for today, onto the functional exercise of the bicep.
Want to grab someone’s attention? Tell them that they have a mouse in their arm. The word comes from the Latin word musculus, or “little mouse”, because the appearance of a flexed arm resembles the shape of the back of a mouse. If you want to turn your little mouse into a big mouse, you will need to train it. There are many ways to train the them. However, many of these training methods are inefficient and at higher risk for injury. One of the safest, most effective and efficient ways to train the biceps is by using a curl machine. This is because the machine stabilizes and supports the arm while only engaging the biceps to completely focus the exercise on the targeted muscle. Here at Vertex Fitness, we have an elite machine called the Nautilus Nitro Biceps Curl Machine (Video demonstration). This machine allows for the arm to move through the complete range of motion while traveling in a natural arcing motion of the elbow joint.
Did you know that the biceps make up only about 33% of actual arm size? The rest consists of the triceps. Do not go to the gym and only focus your training around the biceps. Remember, the biceps are only one of the hundreds of muscles in the human body. Muscular balance and symmetry is important for a healthy, functional body.