A complete guide to arm muscle anatomy and workouts

Saad Shafqat Aug 02 2015
muscles

When it comes to bodybuilding, the most popular exercise is related to the arms. Because, let’s face it, who doesn’t want to have buffed up arm muscles that can be flaunted everywhere?

For better understanding, we have broken down the workouts and components of effective arm muscle exercise for your assistance. However, in order to understand the mechanics and physiology behind the exercises, we will describe the anatomy and the components of the musculature of the arms first.

ANATOMY OF THE ARM MUSCLES

A regular arm extends from the shoulder joint to the joint at the elbow. It is divided into two compartments – the anterior compartment and the posterior compartment.

Anterior compartment of the arm

The anterior compartment of the arm comprises of three muscles; the bicep brachii, the coracobrachialis and the brachialis. Innervations are through the musculocutaneous nerve.

  1. Bicep Brachii: The main function of this muscle is the rotation of the forearm. Apart from that, it also helps in flexion of arm at the elbow and shoulder region.
  2. Coracobrachialis: It flexes the arm at the shoulder region.
  3. Brachialis: This muscle serves as the main flexor of the elbow.

Posterior compartment of the arm

The posterior compartment consists of a single muscle, the triceps brachii. As the name suggests, this muscle comprises of three heads; the long head, lateral head and medial head. It is responsible for extension of the arm at the elbow.

EXERCISES RELATED TO THE MUSCLES OF THE ARM

When it comes to training the arms, there is a plethora of exercises you can perform. We have picked out a few selective exercises which will help you in training your arm muscles. For your convenience we have classified the exercises for both the biceps and triceps, which are rather easy to perform.

Biceps

Dumbbell curls

Grab a pair of dumbbells in each hand, at arm’s length. Without moving your upper part of the arm, bend the elbow and move the weights as close to the shoulders as you can. Squeeze at the top, then slowly release the tension and return back to the starting position.

Hammer curls

Grab a pair of dumbbells, at arm’s length, palms facing your thighs. Without moving your upper part of the arm, bend the elbow and move the weights as close to the shoulders as you can. Squeeze at the top, then slowly release the tension and return back to the starting position.

Preacher curls

Grab an EZ bar. Keeping an approximate six inch gap in between the arms, place them on a sloping pad with elbows slightly bent. Without moving your upper part of the arm, bend the elbow and move the weights as close to the shoulders as you can. Squeeze at the top, then slowly release the tension and return back to the starting position.

Chin-ups

Using a shoulder width underhand grip, grab a chin-up bar and hang yourself at arm’s length. Squeeze your shoulder blades, pulling yourself up as your chest coincides with the bar. Now slowly lower down to the starting position.

Triceps

Close-grip bench press

Grab a barbell with an overhead grip (shoulder width apart). Hold the bar with straight arms above your sternum. Lower the bar straight down on to the sternum, pause, and then push it back up again using your triceps.

Rope triceps press

Attach a rope onto a cable station. Hold it with an overhead grip whilst bending your arms in the process. Arms tucked next to the sides, push the rope/bar down until your elbows are locked. Squeeze at the end, then slowly release the tension and return back to the starting position.

Lying dumbbell extensions

Lie on a bench with a pair of dumbbells, the palms towards the face and hands straight. Bending the elbow, lower the dumbbells until the forearms are not parallel to the floor. Pause at this position and then return to the starting position.

While exercises are effective, knowing a little bit about the anatomy of your body can help you do wonders with it.

Saad Shafqat

Saad Shafqat:

Saad is a Dentistry student with a passion for football. When he isn't busy studying, you can find him at the gym or at the football field. He has written for various blogs and websites and plans to continue to do so.