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Flex Appeal: Biceps

Flex Appeal: Biceps

Where are my biceps?
What do biceps do?
How do I get strong biceps?
When is the best time to work my biceps?

Strong biceps don't just look good, they can make your life a lot easier too. Your bicep muscles come in handy for everyday tasks like brushing your teeth and buttoning your shirt. Sure, these jobs don't take much muscle strength, but your biceps are essential for other jobs that do take strength. Working with your triceps and shoulder muscles, your biceps lift an armload of schoolbooks or help haul groceries.

Don't worry, strength training won't make you turn out looking like some freaky guy. It's physically impossible for women (especially young women) to develop oversized muscles unless they take health-damaging supplements like steroids. You want to be healthy and strong, not a candidate for those theatrical world wrestling championships! back to top

Where are my biceps?
Your biceps are the two muscles on the front of your upper arm between your shoulder and elbow. You can see your biceps when you flex your arms out to your sides like a bodybuilder. The size of your biceps doesn't determine how strong they are. A girl with small biceps could be stronger than another girl who has big biceps. What's important is that your biceps be able to do their job for you. back to top

What do biceps do?
Biceps are very busy muscles. They're responsible for everything from helping you bend your elbows (how many times a day do you do that?!) to turning the pages of a book. Your biceps also help your back muscles when you pull on things like a door or a dog's leash. If you like playing sports, biceps help you do things like throw a ball, swing a tennis racket, shoot baskets, or row. back to top

How do I get strong biceps?
Your biceps get exercise throughout the day because they're used for so many different tasks. But this doesn't mean that they're as strong as they should be. You tone your biceps by challenging them with resistance training, like weight lifting. Any exercise that bends and straightens your arm will do the trick. Try these resistance training exercises designed specifically to strengthen your biceps: standing curls and concentration curls. Or you can always use your own body weight to do push-ups.

Whether you work your biceps while standing or sitting, the goal is to isolate this muscle, so that it's the one doing the work. You'll get the best results if you use resistance, such as dumbbells, a body bar, or stretchy rubber bands. Start with a light weight—1 pound is plenty for most girls getting started—and gradually increase the weight or resistance as you get stronger. back to top

When is the best time to work my biceps?
It's best to save exercises that work the smaller muscles, such as biceps and triceps, until the end of your workout. That way, these muscles are fresh to help out with more challenging exercises that require more muscle strength, such as push-ups and pull-ups. And don't forget to work the opposite muscle group. In this case, that's the triceps. back to top

Last Modified Date: 2/28/2001
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