A Strategic Plan to Sculpt and Stretch Your Biceps
Well-sculpted arms demonstrate a commitment to improving our fitness and strength. There are a multitude of different exercises one can do for larger and more defined arms.
To avoid injury during your daily exercise program, stretching is essential. This is another reason why I support and appreciate some forms of exercise like yoga, which can assist in strengthening posture, increasing flexibility, and giving a sense of internal peace and well-being.
Biceps Stretching Basics
The video that is attached to this article will explain several basic stretches for the biceps to assist you in avoiding injuries and improving your flexibility. I recommend doing these before, during, and even after your workouts.
The biceps are major muscles of the arm that respond well to a strategic exercise plan. The most common biceps exercises I’ve observed include straight and curved bar biceps curls as well as the standard alternating dumbbell biceps curls. All of the exercises mentioned above have an eccentric and concentric component to them.
"Stretching allows your muscles to shorten, lengthen, flex, or extend in designated functional positions."
The concentric contraction of the exercise occurs when the hand holding the weight is brought closer to the body as the elbow is flexed. This movement shortens the biceps muscle.
The eccentric contraction occurs when the elbow is extended as the weight moves away from the body. The eccentric contraction is associated with the greatest risk of injury while training the biceps or other muscle groups of the body.
The Action of the Muscles
The following will provide you with information regarding the stretching of the biceps, which are medically called the “biceps brachii”. This muscle has dual heads and is considered bi-articular because it affects motion at the shoulder and elbow. The biceps muscles have the following actions:
- Flexes the elbow
- Abducts the shoulder
- Flexes the shoulder
- Supinates forearm
The biceps muscles are innervated by the musculocutaneous nerve, which is a part of the brachial plexus. The true antagonists of the biceps muscles are the triceps brachii muscles.
Simple, Daily Biceps Stretches
Here are several biceps stretches that can be done both at the gym and in the comfort of your own home. I would recommend using these stretches in conjunction with your biceps workouts.
- Overhead Holding Biceps Stretch: Raise both hands above your head with the elbows extended and hold on to a bar. Push your body forward and hold this position for thirty seconds.
- Overhead Hanging Biceps Stretch: With arms raised above your head and the elbows extended, grasp a bar and let your body hang for thirty seconds. I recommend doing this for two to three sets.
- Intense Overhead Hanging Biceps Stretch: Grip an overhead bar and hang with one hand. Try not to swing or rotate. Engage your core muscles and let your biceps stretch. Hold this stretch for thirty seconds.
- Biceps Tri-position Stretch: Place your palm against the wall with the elbow extended and turn your body in the opposite direction. Hold this position for thirty seconds. I would recommend trying this using three different variants. This includes putting your arm on a high point, mid point (which is standard), and low point, then proceeding to turn.
The Importance of Stretching
Often stretching is thought of as a waste of time. It is not. Stretching allows your muscles to shorten, lengthen, flex, or extend in designated functional positions. This encourages protagonist and antagonist muscle groups to work together synergistically. Stretching is truly one of the elixirs of sustained health and well-being.
More on bicep training and care: