When someone asks you to “make a muscle,” what do you do? If you’re like most lifters, you roll up your shirt sleeve and flex your bicep. For some reason or another, the biceps have garnered the reputation as THE show muscle of the adult male human body, and most of us are only too happy to hone in on tricking out our peaks as much as possible.
But if you fall into the cult of biceps worshipers, you just might be missing out on the full potential of your arms.
In fact, if there is one principle of training arms that all men should heed, it’s this: triceps are more importasnt than biceps.
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Three > Two
The basic reason you should focus more energy on triceps than on biceps comes down to simple math. With three muscle heads, compared to two for biceps, the triceps should comprise at least 60% of your total arm volume. Depending on your specific genetics for muscle fiber composition and muscle shape, tris might climb even higher on the relative mass scale.
What’s more, triceps have tremendous power potential, meaning that if you develop them to their fullest, you will improve your bench press, military press, and every other upper body press.
While it’s true that stronger biceps help with back training, it’s’ also true that your biceps are one of the smallest muscles on your body. This means that …
Biceps Are Sucseptible to Overtraining
Small muscles generally don’t need as much stimulation as larger muscles, and that is certainly true for biceps. We hit them hard with pulldowns, rows, upright rows, and even deadlifts.
Adding tons of direct work after all of THAT pumping can lead to overtraining in a flash, and it’s not hard to see the effects in some lifters. Ever notice guys that walk around the gym with their elbows bent at a perpetual angle rather than mostly straight?
You can bet those lifters do lots of curls on top of their back work, and it’s pretty safe to say that their triceps are not as strong as they should be. That’s a sure path to not only smaller arms, but likely injury, as well.
Strive for Balance
Truthfully, it may be a bit of an overstatement to say that triceps are more important than biceps, since every body part is vitally important to a vibrant and healthy physique. Still, the basic sentiment holds true.
If you want to build big, pliable, injury-free arms, then you need to focus on your triceps and guard against overtraining your bis. Your tape measure and your training poundages will thank you.