Why Your Biceps Are Lagging and How You Can Fix It

Are you struggling to see muscle growth in your arms?

Is the rest of your body continuing to grow, but you can’t get your arms to put on any size?

If so, why?

Alright, so you have skinny arms. Chances are you have a slight medial rotation in your upper arm.

To find this out: take two pencils, hold one in each hand facing upwards, stand, and see if the pencils are pointing towards each other.

If they point inward, this means there’s an inward rotation in the upper part of the arms.


The Problem

The issue is mainly a tightness in the front and anterior shoulder compartments. Particularly in your neck, and a little bit in your pectorals as well.

Even more, this means that there is an unnecessary bicep flexion.

It’s essentially a muscle imbalance.

If your arms were bigger, your bicep would sit almost perfectly into the ball joint of the shoulder. This would allow for the shoulders to lay loose without any medial rotation. The arms will also rest comfortably from the elbow and this will allow for bicep movements to be naturally done with a full extension – the elbow will extend the movement and the top part at the shoulder will properly open up.

This means that complete mechanical movement of the biceps cannot be achieved.

Think of it this way:

The fuller the contraction, the bigger response (growth). A shortness of the contraction created by your medial rotation will result in a shorter contraction. This also comes to a dysfunctional movement all the way down to the wrists. Your shoulder would be dysfunctional, which may even mean your spinal cord and everything else is dysfunctional – meaning, your bicep growth issues could be an even bigger problem than you could imagine.

The Solution

It’s simple – stretch!

You should be stretching your pectorals, deltoids, upper trapezius, neck, and of course, your arms. But stretch from the inside out so put focus on the shoulder and core prior to stretching your biceps.

What this will do is open up the arm for a complete range of motion. The bicep will sit better in the joint and open up the shoulder to wrist to work with correct functioning. So when you lift, your contractions are tighter and longer.

This means both strength and mass gains.

Once you complete the stretching, begin by focusing on performing the movement with the full range of motion. You should also focus on performing the bicep movements with slow repetitions and putting the muscle under tension for longer periods of time. Also perform more volume with higher frequency. This will allow the body to train itself to be used to the more natural movement.

There is an answer to every muscle performance problem. If the rest of your body has not hit a results plateau, then it is easy to narrow down the issue. In this particular case, lagging biceps may be the result of a limited range of motion. This range of motion issue may not be based on improper form of the movement, but rather improper functioning of the arms and shoulders.

Take a step back and see if this could be your problem. The pencil test is a great way to easily figure it out. Stretching before your biceps workout can be beneficial anyway, so it can’t hurt to throw it into your routine. However, make sure you read up on the appropriate stretching movements to perform before you begin your biceps workout.

What Else to Consider

Your limited range of motion may not be something that’s easily fixed. It could be a specific issue with your body that’s resulted from something else. This is not usually the case, but keep it in mind in case you do not see the results you see from this potential solution.

Also, you obviously need to be doing the right exercises to see growth. Some big muscle builders for the biceps include the dumbbell and EZ-bar preacher curls, the dumbbell curl, and the standing barbell curl. You should also not expect to see any great results if you are training with very high or low repetitions. The sweet range to hit would consist of sets to failure with between six and 10 reps.