Stretching is an important aspect of health and fitness because it helps to loosen up tight muscles for optimal function, and development/appearance.
So today we show/explain how to stretch the biceps properly with the help of Jeff Cavaliere MSPT, CSCS, who’s famously known for his YouTube channel Athlean X. Cavaliere trains many of the best athletes in the world and he really knows how the body works.
But he also regularly shares some of the best general fitness information on the internet too which is why he has over 9 million subscribers.
So here’s a breakdown where he explains why the biceps need to be stretched plus how not to do it, and a demonstration of proper technique…
Why It’s Important To Stretch The Biceps
The biceps are typically in a flexed/shortened position for most of the day whether we’re talking on the phone, texting, or being on the computer which are great points that he made.
Hardly though, are our biceps in a fully stretched out position and this can potentially limit your strength and capacity for maximum growth in the muscle. (If you weren’t stretching them before, then you will now).
How Not To Stretch The Biceps
Cavaliere is not a fan of stretching biceps by holding your arm out in front of you in a supinated position and pressing down on your wrists.
He explains that we tend to naturally fight the isometric force of the intended stretch by pulling back and bending the elbows. Also, the function of the bicep is to supinate the forearm so it’s not relaxed, therefore you can not stretch it as effectively as possible.
So to stretch the biceps properly you have to pronate your forearm where it’s most relaxed.
Biceps Also Function At The Shoulder
The biceps also flex the shoulder and bring the arms up in front of us in addition to bending the forearm. So, Cavaliere explained that we need to get extension of the shoulder. You can do this by lifting your arm back behind you to adequately stretch the long head (outer) of the bicep (will still stretch the short, inner head as well).
Here’s a step-by-step instructional for how to stretch the biceps the right way…
Before you begin, make sure you have an immovable object that you can grip and use for stretching.
- The first step is to pronate the forearm so that your bicep is fully lengthened. So, your palms should be facing down.
- Then, you’re going to reach behind you and grab onto something that won’t move. Your arm should be fully extended.
- Next, you want to flex your tricep to disengage the biceps which will allow for a maximum stretch in the muscle.
- Now, step a little bit forward using the same side leg and rotate your body slightly toward the bicep being stretched, at a slight angle. The angle will allow you to stretch the bicep and shoulder capsule area even more.
- Stretch the biceps but not too aggressively!
If you really think about the function of the biceps and how it’s attached anatomically, Jeff Cavaliere’s advice for how to stretch the biceps makes total sense. This method is not only safer but you’re definitely getting more out of your efforts.
And stretching the biceps is, in fact, important for maxing out your biceps growth, development, and function because a tense and tight muscle is not as effective!
Here are a few other effective stretch techniques as well…
Seated bent-knee bicep stretch
- Sit on the floor with knees bent and place your arms behind you with your hands flat on the floor and fingertips facing away behind your body.
- Scoot your butt forward until you feel a stretch in your biceps, and hold for 30 seconds.
- Turn slightly to the left and then slightly to the right for a more pronounced stretch in the biceps long (outer) head.
It’s important to note that this variation involves supination of the forearm. However, it is also a great way to stretch the biceps near the shoulder and it allows the biceps to relax as well.
Important tip: Only move forward enough to feel a good stretch in your biceps. Never overdo the stretch as this places a lot of stress on the shoulder.
Here’s a video example…
Bicep wall stretch
- Find a wall and stand perpendicular to it.
- Externally rotate the arm closest to the wall so your wrist is facing upward.
- Place your hand flat on the wall about shoulder level and hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat with the other arm. Note: You can also place your arm lower which will be easier for some people to place their hand flat on the wall.
Important tip: There’s no need to force more stretch as keeping your hand flat on the wall should be sufficient. Also, your fingertips should always point down so don’t all your hand to rotate your hand on the wall. Keep your body perpendicular to the wall or turn away from your hand slightly to get a more pronounced stretch.
Here’s a video example…
Squat/half-kneeling bicep stretch
- Stand facing away from a flat, elevated object.
- Place both hands behind your back on object with palms up
- Squat down or get into a half-kneeling position and really feel the stretch in your biceps.
- Hold for about 30 seconds.
Important tip: Bend your knees only enough to where you feel a stretch in your biceps.
Here’s a video example…
Biceps Stretch FAQs
Why do we need to stretch our biceps?
The biceps can become tight due to repetitive daily activities that involve bending the elbows. Therefore, we need to stretch the muscle to maximize its entire length.
A bunched up muscle limits full function and development potential.
Can tight biceps affect muscle growth?
It may affect biceps growth potential to a small degree. A tight muscle is not at its full, functional length, therefore it may affect overall strength and development.
How to tell if you have tight biceps?
An easy method is to observe the degree of bend in your elbow when standing up straight and relaxing your arms.
The more your elbow naturally bends while your arms are relaxed by your sides is a good indication that you probably have tight biceps.
Stretch them out!
Is it safe to stretch your own biceps?
Anyone can do recommended bicep stretches but be careful as to not overdo it. You can tear a muscle by being too aggressive with stretching, so do it just until you feel a good stretch in the muscle.
And that’s it… We hope you enjoyed this incredibly beneficial information on how to stretch the biceps. Tight and shortened biceps can prevent you from achieving full function and development. Not to mention, it can cause shoulder and bicep injury. So do it safely and often.
Now it’s time to do some stretches!