Beast Arms & Abs - Part 1
A Universal Desire
If you were to ask an exercise novice which areas of their under-developed physique they forever dream of bettering; two parts would crop up more often than most—arms and abs. A thick set of guns underneath a short-sleeved shirt is a red-hot look. And the ultimate fitness statement? That’s right, a hardened midsection which you’ll unhesitatingly let-loose on a splendid summer’s day. Now if you were to also ask a serious bodybuilder the same question, unsurprisingly, the answers will not differ much. A fantastic set of arms and abs have, and always will be in huge demand.
As a beginner, how do you get off to the right start in your quest for achieving ripped arms and abs? Or for those experienced lifters, what can you do to switch things up when your progress is at a standstill? This guide is designed to take you through all the crucial steps needed to develop these muscle groups. You will gain full knowledge and the confidence required to effectively tear up those muscle fibres when training, so that you can watch them grow back bigger and stronger.
The Muscle Groups
In order to understand how to successfully train these muscles and achieve the physique you’ve always desired; it helps to have a familiarity of how each muscle group is made up, and the role they play within the body. Let’s begin by taking a glimpse into the world of arms. The two dangly limbs that hang at the side of your body are unique and essential to everyday functionality. Commonly known as the biceps and triceps, the upper arm muscles are actually made up of more than one muscle each. We will start by looking at the most flexed-in-the-mirror of them all.
This upper arm muscle group is positioned above the elbow joint and is forward facing when standing in a natural position. Although most people think of the biceps when wanting to build big arms, it actually only makes up one-third of the upper arm and is, therefore, a lot smaller than the—not as admired—triceps muscle.
The biceps muscle group has the central purpose of flexion at the elbow, pulling and curling, and is therefore imperative to daily life and exercise.
The biceps are made of the biceps brachii and the brachialis. The chief muscle is the biceps brachii, which lives up to its Latin meaning, a two-headed muscle of the arm. Due to the two heads not being the same length, they are separately known as the long and short bicep heads. The brachialis is not as popular but still has a pivotal role in flexion of the elbow. It sits just below the biceps brachii.
Located at the back of the upper arm and making up a massive two-thirds of it, the triceps are key to getting bigger arms. While the biceps need just as much attention, don’t fall into the trap of giving them precedence. Triceps are also known as triceps brachii, which is Latin for ‘three-headed arm muscle’; the reason being—you’ve guessed it—there are three muscle heads that make up the triceps; namely they are the long, medial and lateral heads. They form connections from the Scapula and Humerus, down to the Ulna.
The central role of the triceps brachii is to straighten the arm (elbow joint extension). While the triceps are contracting, the biceps will be relaxing, and vice versa. Therefore, it can be said that the biceps and triceps are antagonistic muscles.
The Abdominal Muscles
Having a well-defined set of abdominal muscles can be extremely pleasing to the eye, and is something that most bodybuilders will strive to achieve. In fact, for those serious about exercise, it’s almost a prerequisite to having a good physique. But the core muscles have a far more important role than merely just their visual presence. They provide a robust pillar of support to your frame and act as the link between the upper and lower body. Having strong abs forms a base for all movement and activity your body engages in.
The abdominal muscles are made up of four main muscle groups, which are as follows:
- Rectus abdominis – more commonly known as the renowned ‘six-pack’, this group of muscles are positioned between the ribs. The primary role is to aid with movement between the pelvis and ribcage. A highly illustrious bumpy feature gives the rectus abdominis its nickname.
- Transversus abdominis – this is the innermost abdominal muscle group and is vital for sustaining abdominal pressure and bringing stability to the body.
- External oblique muscles – these muscles allow the twisting motion of the torso and are situated on the sides of the rectus abdominis.
- Internal oblique muscles – positioned just within the hipbone and to the sides of the rectus abdominis, the internal oblique muscles also allow the twisting of the body but work in reverse of the external oblique. So if you rotate the body to the right, you will need the right side of the internal oblique and the left side of the external oblique.
This is part 1 of our series on Beast Arms & Abs – Looking for the full eBook?