Written by Jack Boardman
Develop Your Arms Around The Elbow
Bodybuilding can often be a matter of working for symmetry, for both beginners and advanced weightlifters. One of the many positives of weightlifting, bodybuilding and health and fitness is that if you identify a health issue or weakness, you can actively address it with immediate action. A common question is how to make the area around the elbow bigger. With little muscle definition, on a skinny arm, the elbow can appear particularly knobbly. But even for more seasoned weightlifters, the area around the elbow may be underdeveloped or below the elbow and your forearm may be lacking symmetry if you have well-built shoulders and upper arms.
To develop the general area you need to focus on several different muscles located on the back of your arm, the front and your forearm. This may seem obvious, but if you’re not sure which muscles are worked by which exercises you could be putting the time in at the gym and missing the area you’re aiming for.
To develop your forearms, the pronator teres is the muscle along the underside of your forearm that turns your hand so that the palm faces down. To exercise this, you should focus on wrist curls with your elbow stationary and palm facing upwards.
The brachioradialis covers the top and outer part of your forearm and flexes your arm at the elbow. To exercise this, do the opposite to the pronator teres by performing wrist curls with your palm facing down. The flexor carpi ulnaris and extensor carpi ulnaris also make up your forearm.
The long head of the triceps is the largest part of your triceps and is found running down the back of your arm. The bulk of your muscle on the back of your arm is closer to the shoulder. Many recommend that, in order to develop the lower part of your arm, you should pay particular attention to the tricep long head, which, unlike the medial and lateral heads, attaches above the shoulder. The long head stretches when your arm is raised overhead.
One suggestion is to pay attention to the brachialis and brachioradialis muscles. Your brachialis muscle is located in your upper arm and flexes the elbow joint. The biceps brachii are not the strongest flexor in your forearm. This is where the brachialis comes in as it is closer to the joint axis and lies deeper than the biceps brachii.
To develop the brachialis, you should perform curls with your palm facing down. A good place to start is to look at adjusting the width of your grip and the angle of your lift when curling. When performing barbell curls, use a wider grip if it is your inner arm that is lacking.
Here is a list of recommended exercises to develop the area around your elbows:
- Added weighted dips
- Overhead extensions
- Close grip bench
- Cable pull-down extension
- Lower reps
- Close grip benching and extensions
- Single dumbbell wrist curl
- Wrist flexion/extension