When you flex or extend your elbows, do you wonder what muscles act? What is the mechanism on the formation of the bump in your inner arm when you flex your elbow? Do the biceps and triceps muscles simultaneously contract? Well, these are some of the questions that this discussion will answer from your local Wesley Chapel chiropractor.

The biceps and triceps muscles are one of the most familiar muscles in our body since they are involved in practically every movement of the arms. They are a small band of muscle fiber compared to other muscles in the body such as the hamstrings and the gluteal muscles. Both the biceps and triceps are located in the upper arm and are responsible or the extension and flexion of the elbow. The biceps muscle is located at the inner portion of the upper arm while the triceps muscle is located at the outer portion of the arm.

Contracting the biceps makes the elbows bend while contracting the triceps makes the elbows extend. Since they are situated opposite from one another in the upper arm, when the biceps contract, the triceps relax and vice versa. This mechanism of the two muscles makes them opposing muscles or antagonist and partner muscles.

As the biceps shortens or contracts, the opposite triceps muscle elongates or relaxes, which allows the elbows to bend. This is the reason that you form a bump or a contracted biceps as you flex your elbows. On the other hand, when the triceps shorten or contact, the biceps elongates and relaxes. You can also see the action of the two muscles by palpating the upper arm. When you flex your elbows, the biceps are harder and the triceps are relaxed. In the same line, when you extend your elbows, the triceps are hard while the biceps are soft or not contracted.

Since they are opposing muscles, both cannot contract simultaneously: one must relax for the other to contract. These mechanisms of the biceps and triceps muscles allow for better control of movements.

The Significance of the Action of the Biceps and Triceps Muscle

Knowing how the two muscles contract helps in assisting those who want to work out. There are certain isolation exercises for you to develop either the biceps or the triceps muscle. Bicep curls using weights will effectively help you gain more muscle mass in your biceps muscle while triceps extension will make the triceps stronger and more flexible. Nevertheless, you can also perform compound exercises to help train both muscles simultaneously.

One compound exercise for the upper arm is a combination of push and pull movements using exercise machines such as elliptical trainers. Moreover, you can also perform stabilizing exercises to improve the muscles’ role in body stabilization. A good example of a stabilization exercise is performing push-ups. When you “push-up”, your triceps contract and when you lower your body, your biceps contract. Furthermore, when you do pull ups, your biceps and triceps also work simultaneously in an opposing manner.

Both the triceps and biceps muscles are essential muscle groups that aid in the movement of the upper arm. Developing the two may increase the muscle strength and subsequently the overall functioning of the arms.