Many of us go to the gym to better ourselves physically and mentally. The one dream that every man has, who is serious about sculpting a better physique, is to look like a mean machine (shredding included) thanks to the posters of Mr. Olympians and famous models pasted in every nook and corner of our fitness centers. Having said that, one of the primary goals of any male gym-goer would be to sport 6-pack abs but there are some who may not be really bothered if they don’t sport a beach body.
But there is one thing that nobody would compromise on – ARMS. Yes, you read it right. Everyone (bros included) wants to flaunt those big guns as it makes them look more macho and gives them a sense of pride while wearing body hugging tees. Some of them are so serious about pumping up those biceps, they end up training them every day with several sets (even compromising on performing other compound movements!) And yet, even with nutrition and training on point, some may not achieve the desired size they dream of.
Result? Frustration > Over training > Fatigue > Frustration (a vicious cycle sets in).
So what is it about training the biceps that we must be aware of? Read on to find out about the unsung hero of the biceps – the oft-ignored but most important muscle in your arm – the Brachialis.
Biceps (Biceps brachii – the technical name) is the muscle of the upper arm. It has two heads namely the short head and the long head, which joins to work as a single muscle. Predominantly, several of us center our biceps workout around these two. Seldom we acknowledge the unsung hero who gives the much-needed look for the arm. Although not completely visible, it contributes towards the surface anatomy indirectly as it makes the biceps look bigger. Introducing the Brachialis.
Brachialis derives its name from the word ‘brachial,’ which means “pertaining to the arm.” Although relatively unknown or not much trained, Brachialis performs essential functions such as elbow flexion. Contrary to what people think, the brachialis muscle is actually stronger than the biceps brachii and acts as the primary flexor of the forearm.
As you can see it is located on either side of the heads (short and long) and helps in the flexion of elbow. It crosses the elbow and act as the synergist to the biceps brachii. Hence anytime we flex the elbow or attempt to flex the elbow against a resistive force, the Brachialis will contract.
Target Exercises for the Brachialis
- Hammer curl/Incline Hammer curl
- Reverse curl/Reverse preacher curl
- Cross body hammer curl
- Incline pull ups (Pronated wrist position)
Some of these above exercises are not only beneficial for targeting the brachialis muscle, but actually take off the biceps brachii as much as possible out of the equation, thereby forcing the brachialis to do most of the work. Also, these exercises help you build stronger forearms as well. Hence, there is no specific necessity to perform a wrist curl to develop your forearms (it is actually not recommended to do wrist curls due to the danger of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.)
Going overboard in training your arms can sometimes result in soreness/injuries just like any other body part. Remember that while performing compound movements such as deadlifts or barbell rows, your bicep muscles are already trained. You may not need to separately incorporate the bicep routine during your back days. So think again before you overdo it!
Sometimes there is a less obvious choice that people need to make in order to turn their muscles into canons. Building up the brachialis will crank up the arms’ visual impact. The arms have more potential for being more impressive than we think.
So hit the brachs, and let the golf ball pop out of your arms!
Article Credits – Sairamnath Ananthakrishnan