Having strong biceps is an advantage for athletes in a myriad of sports, including hockey, badminton, baseball, football, and more.
As an orthopedic surgeon and fitness expert, I am often asked to design fitness programs to improve the strength of the biceps muscle. Many athletes, coaches and trainers are cognizant of the increased explosive power that can be generated when exercises for the biceps are appropriately prioritized.
The Athletic Benefits of Training Biceps
The biceps are a part of the upper extremity, which many athletes bombard me with questions about while training because they want clarity regarding the athletic benefits they will get from training their biceps. Often I provide these individuals with examples of specific athletic movements or functions that will be improved via greater biceps strength including:
- Hitting a hockey puck
- Throwing a baseball
- Performing a standard tennis serve
- Catching and throwing a ball
- Anything with flexion of the bicep
I am asked these questions by both young and seasoned athletes who have misconceptions about how the biceps make a contribution to the explosiveness, power, and strength of athletic performance when properly trained.
“Having strong biceps is an advantage for athletes in a myriad of sports, including hockey, badminton, baseball, football, and more.”
So let’s review the basic anatomy of the biceps so we can improve our understanding of the function, attachments, origins, and innervations of this muscle group. Knowledge truly is power when it comes to understanding our bodies and how we can explore and maximize our potentials on the playing field, as well as during our journey to attain and maintain greater health.
Anatomy and Function of the Biceps
The biceps consists of two distinct muscle bellies, the long head and the short head. The long head of the biceps muscle has its origin at the supraglenoid tubercle of the shoulder blade (the scapula) and inserts on the tuberosity of the radius with the bicipital aponeurosis. The short head of the biceps muscle group originates at the coracoid process of the scapula and has the same insertion as the long head of the biceps.
In regards to the innervation of the muscles, the musculocutaneous nerve of the brachial plexus innervates both heads of the biceps. The actions of the biceps muscles are flexion and supination of the forearm, while the long head of the biceps also helps to flex the humerus.
As we learn to appreciate the anatomy of the biceps muscles, we can then use this knowledge to properly execute exercises to build more explosive, effective biceps, so we may have a more powerful serve in tennis or throw a baseball harder, faster, and farther.
Biceps Exercise Demonstrations
With all fitness regimens, commitment and consistency are the essential fundamental building blocks of our life journey to be healthy, strong, powerful and fit in any sport and as a lifestyle. The goals for the biceps workout are power, strength, and symmetry, and the focus is on quality of movement, not quantity, so we can avoid injury.
The basic seated or standing biceps curl should be executed with the elbows next to your upper trunk. It is imperative not to swing your elbows in front of your trunk. Your back should be straight and neck relaxed. The key here is fluid motion without swinging the weight or arching your back.
“The goals for the biceps workout are power, strength, and symmetry, and the focus is on quality of movement, not quantity, so we can avoid injury.”
The video below clearly demonstrates several different biceps curl exercises, including the standard technique for hammer curls, as well as inner thigh peak biceps curls.
Hammer curls increase the strength of the brachioradialis, add to the peak of your biceps, and increase forearm development. The straight-bar biceps curl also helps to really engage your forearm muscles, but the forearm muscles are generally engaged with all biceps exercises.
The Two-Minute Ascending Biceps Workout
The workout demonstrated below can really add striations and power to your biceps and upper arm. I have designed this program to be effective and safe so you can get a quick workout done within two minutes and still see muscle-building results. This program is extremely intense and you will earn the benefit of powerful arms to improve your athletic prowess.
Use a dumbbell in each hand and do one set of biceps curls for 5 repetitions, then follow this immediately with a set of 4 repetitions, then a set of 3 repetitions. Repeat this until you reach zero. Then use the straight short bar to do a set of only 5 repetitions. Then go back to the ascending model until you reach zero. Follow this with a set of hammer curls with my ascending technique as discussed earlier and demonstrated in the video.
Use a dumbbell weight that allows you to effectively control the motion of the weight with proper form, as this workout employs a lot of repetitions. This program is designed to safely develop your biceps and forearms when done consistently and properly three times per week, along with your daily aerobic and cardiovascular training.
Balanced biceps are essential when developing a symmetrical and powerful physique. Basic anatomy is also important in providing us with an understanding of where the muscles attach and how they function. The ascending muscle-building technique I have designed can be used for several designated body parts.
“The two major principles, to assist in achieving the body you want are unyielding commitment and focused consistency.”
Proper form and technique are the cornerstones to getting the benefits of this unique exercise plan. The two major principles, to assist in achieving the body you want are unyielding commitment and focused consistency. This will really get you to the next level of fitness. Keep on exercising! Exercise is life!
Photos courtesy of Shutterstock.