I want you to be able to train and grow your biceps to the size you’ve always wanted!
I want you to feel how good it is to put on that t-shirt and your arms bulge from the seams, and you stand (and walk) proud!
To do that, I need you to be injury free and constantly pushing your biceps and arms in the gym!
But for that to happen consistently, I need you to know the power of bicep warm-ups and stretches!
These two elements ensure you get to your results quicker, safer and without delay!
That’s why I have written this article! I want to be part of your arm growth journey and share everything I have learnt over the past 20 years!
So this article will go through everything I need you to know about bicep stretching and arm warm-ups and cover why you should stretch the muscles, the benefits of bicep warm up, how to do bicep stretches and everything else in between!
Ready? Let’s go!
I’ve lost count of how many times I have seen people in the gym injure themselves by not warming up their bodies and muscles before hitting the heavier weights and exercises.
People forget their bodies are sensitive to exercise, and we all need to prepare the mind and muscles for the work we will force them to do.
The warmup and warm-down aspect of EVERY exercise session should be instilled in stone to ensure you always do it.
I’ve put together the following four reasons why you must warm up your biceps AND body:
Your muscles and heart are key during workouts. So preparing them is essential. Increasing your body and muscle temperature will make them more oxygenated and optimize blood flow. Your heart will also be prepped for the higher work rate so you won’t feel the sudden strain.
Your mind is powerful. The single critical muscle in our body can determine its entire existence (that sounds profound, right?). Warming up gets the brain thinking of the pending workout and can also help you visualise and set targets and goals for the session.
Making sure your body is prepped, increasing temperature, optimise oxygen and enabling muscle elasticity will put you well on your way to reducing the risk of injury in the gym
When your body has optimized blood flow, it has the oxygen it needs and the elasticity. This will minimize any tears and strains.
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I want you to maintain flexibility and strength in your biceps and arms.
So regular stretching, mainly after your workout, is essential. Especially if you are doing an upper-body workout.
Doing this will reduce muscle tension, muscle soreness (delayed onset muscle soreness), improve blood circulation, flush the muscle fibers with nutrients, optimize joint range of motion, increase mobility and further reduce the risk of injury.
But it doesn’t stop there.
Stretching the bicep muscles will promote recovery and address any connective muscle imbalances.
The bicep muscle, AKA bicep brachii, comprises two key muscles, the long-head bicep and the short-head bicep.
But a third muscle impacts the look and function of the upper arm, and that is the brachialis.
A picture paints 1000 words, and understanding what makes up the bicep muscle will help us understand what we are trying to warm up and stretch.
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I don’t want you to perform ineffective stretches that increase the risk of injury.
So out of the 40 stretches that exist, I have narrowed it down to ten based on muscle-stretch optimization and overall benefit.
Here are ten of the best bicep stretches:
Stand with your arm across your chest and gently press it towards your chest with your other hand.
Stand facing a wall and place your palms flat against it, then lean forward to stretch your biceps.
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Hold a towel behind your back and grasp the end of the towel with the other hand, pulling it upwards to stretch the bicep.
Sit on a chair and place your forearms on your thighs with your palms facing up, then gently press your hands down towards your knees.
Hold a resistance band in both hands and slowly raise your arms to shoulder height, then return to starting position.
Loop a yoga strap around your foot and grasp the ends of the strap with your hands, then gently pull your hands towards your shoulder to stretch the biceps.
Stand with your arms extended in front of you, slowly raise your hands to shoulder height and release.
Get into a downward dog position and hold for 30 seconds to stretch your biceps.
Place a foam roller under your upper arm and gently roll it to stretch your biceps.
Get on all fours and alternate between arching your back and rounding it, stretching your biceps with each movement.
A cold muscle is an unprepared muscle for exercise, leading to a higher risk of injury.
Below are seven of the most important benefits you need to know when it comes to stretching and warmups:
#1 Improve flexibility: Your biceps will be prepared and more flexible once you have raised your heart rate, stretched the muscles and increased the body’s temperature.
#2 Prevent injury: If your biceps are ready for exercise and won’t be exposed to sudden demands, there will be less risk of injury.
#3 Increased blood flow: Oxygen and nutrients are our bodies’ lifeblood, so maximizing this is essential.
#4 Reduce muscle tension: Your muscles will likely have muscle tension, primarily if you work out regularly. Stretching and warming up reduce this.
#5 Improves range of motion: A prepped muscle is a ready muscle. Stiffness and muscle tension can lead to injury if not addressed.
#6 Helps the upper body: Your biceps and upper arms are critical enablers for the upper body to perform many exercises. So preparing them for exercise will benefit your chest, shoulders, back and overall upper body.
#7 Increases recovery: Stretching the biceps post-workout has been proven to aid in faster recovery as it encourages the blood flow to damage muscle fibers.
The biceps get tension and tightness for several reasons:
Overtraining: The biceps and upper arm get used daily and were made to help the body be agile. Overtraining the muscles will lead to overuse, manifesting in muscle tension and tightness that can eventually lead to injury.
Posture: Poor upper body posture and muscle alignment will lead to tension and tightness as various muscles will be continuously used to maintain the posture.
Stress: Either physical or emotional, has been proven to cause muscle tension and tightness.
Lack of movement: A sedentary lifestyle or one where you are in a position for extended periods will impact the muscle and cause unnecessary tension.
Dehydration: Dehydration can cause muscle tension, including in the biceps, as the muscles need proper hydration.
Staying active, having good posture, limiting stress, and remaining hydrated will help reduce the risk of bicep tension and tightness.
This article wouldn’t be complete without calling out the science of why you should always warm up and stretch.
So below are two of the leading research articles that validate the benefits of doing this:
Research on warm-ups 1: Performing warm-ups increases muscle temperature and blood flow, which contributes to improved exercise performance and reduced risk of injuries to muscles and tendons.
Research on warm-ups 2: Effects of warming-up on physical performance
Stretching and warmups need not be dark art.
Once you realise it’s a mandatory pre-requisite for your workout, it will become second nature, and you will go into auto-mode to perform them.
That’s where I need you to be when it comes to injury-free. Make the warmup and stretching an automatic “thing” you do EVERY workout.
Now, before you can adopt them, it’s key that you understand the types of stretching for your muscles (and biceps!).
Below are the four types of stretches that you can do:
This is where you focus on a group of muscles by holding a pose for a specific time. An excellent example is stretching your arms overhead. This particular stretch would work your upper body, including shoulders, chest, arms, traps and back.
This is what I would term indirect stretching. An excellent example of this stretch is bending over and touching your toes. You will stretch the hamstrings and calves by doing this and keeping your legs straight.
Probably one of the most common stretching types. Dynamic stretching is where you use movement to stretch and work a specific muscle. An excellent example is spinning your arms out to the sides in a circle. Doing this will stretch your shoulders and biceps.
Probably the most common and advantageous stretching for muscular recovery and injury prevention, PNF stands for proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation). An excellent example of a PNF stretch would be holding a set of dumbbells at the bottom of the movement to stretch your pectorals and hold it for up to 60 seconds.
There are two phases where you should always try to perform stretches; pre-workout as part of the warmup and post-workout to assist and support faster recovery.
But the type of stretching that you do is very important:
Pre-workout (warm-up) stretching: Performing light active, passive and dynamic stretching are all suitable for pre-workout stretching. Doing these as part of a warm-up will release tension and get the blood flowing into the muscles.
Post-workout stretching: PNF stretching is excellent for promoting recovery and getting blood and nutrients into the torn muscle fibers. Holding a weight\band at the bottom of the movement where the muscle is stretched for a specific time (usually up to 60 seconds) is all you need.
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Warm up your arms by performing 20 reps of dumbbell bicep curls with extremely light weights. Using 5kg dumbbells will suffice, and performing the curls with 3 seconds up, 4 seconds down will get the blood in the arms.
Perform standing biceps stretch before a workout by doing wall bicep stretch. Stand facing a wall, flat your palms against it, and lean forward to stretch your biceps. Make sure you keep your feet flat and arms straight, and aim for a significant stretch across the biceps brachii.
If you feel muscle tightness, slowly turn away from the wall keeping your palms facing forward and feel the stretch.
To warm up your biceps and triceps before an arm workout, perform very lightweight dumbbell curls with 5kgs and aim to get 20 reps. Then perform lightweight dumbbell extensions using 5kg for 20 reps per arm. Repeat this once more for a total of 2 sets.
You can perform seated biceps curls or standing. The key part is to extend your arms straight fully and feel the stretch in your biceps.
To warm up your biceps perform two or three light dumbbell curls for sets of 20 reps each. This will increase blood flow to the bicep brachii and overall arm and assist in preventing injury
Yes, there are specific bicep exercises with dumbbells that are very effective in working both the long and short head of your biceps.
The main difference lies in the grip. In a Hammer Curl vs Bicep Curl, the hammer curl helps in developing the brachialis muscle, which can push your biceps up more to provide a peak, while the bicep curl mainly targets the bicep muscles.
Yes, training bicep and tricep same day is a common practice and it is known as a superset workout. By working out both, you can effectively build balanced strength and size in your arms.
Absolutely, there are plenty of effective bicep workouts at home that you can do. All you need is a pair of dumbbells, resistance bands, or even your body weight can provide a challenging workout.
Specific exercises such as short head bicep exercises can help you target this muscle group and help you build well-rounded biceps.
Adding size to your biceps involves consistent strength training, proper nutrition, and recovery. For detailed guidance, you might want to check out this article on how to add 1 inch to your biceps.
Certainly! You can start with bicep workouts for beginners which are designed to help you build your strength gradually and safely.
Fully “armed” and ready to adopt warmups and stretches?
I want you to adopt now the warm-up and stretching approach for at least four weeks so you can witness the difference. Once you do this, I am convinced you will never skip the pre and post-workout protocol.
Start slowly, add the stretches and lightweight starters and see how well your body feels prepped. Once the workout finishes, add a PNF stretch and observe how the trained muscle recovers and feels a few days after,
But I don’t want you to stop there!
I was hoping you could stay in touch with us. So please do contact us with how you are doing, as we want to share your fitness journey with you!
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Let’s grow together!
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