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View Full Version : How Important are the Biceps?


KuLai
10-04-2008, 08:40 PM
My arm isn't huge. It's a little toned, mostly in the forearm but very little in the biceps. So what I am wondering is if I should work out my biceps. I've always thought that getting more speed off your arm was more important than power. And I have read that the power and speed to hit a ball is going to come from the waist, rotatory cuff, and forearm, and not much about the bicep. But then you can look at Nadal and.. well that kind of speaks for itself. So biceps, how important can they be tennis wise? Should I even bother working them out?

phucng_10
10-04-2008, 08:47 PM
If you play enough tennis with your dominant arm, you'd notice that your dominant arm would look slightly bigger then your non-dominant arm. I would suggest lifting some 20lbs (or some other weight that you feel comfortable with) to build your biceps/forearms.

SystemicAnomaly
10-04-2008, 11:14 PM
You need your biceps to bend your arm. It is also used for supination, especially when the arm is flexed. (Supination is a rotation of the forearm; opposite of pronation). The biceps are not used explosively to generate power the way that triceps, forearm rotators, and other muscles in the body are used. However, there may be some explosive arm bending on various follow-thrus.

You should probably do some triceps work (as well as some shoulder and forearm exercises). Note that Nadals arms are large due, in part, to his triceps -- it is not all biceps). If you do work on your triceps, it is very important to balance it out with biceps work to avoid muscle imbalances (particularly since the biceps & triceps are complementary muscle groups).

When you are working out these various muscle groups some isolated muscle training is ok. However, you should also perform some Functional training or multi-joint (& multi-directional) movement training. Check the following thread for more info on this and for other feedback on your question:

tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=203671 (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=203671)

.

NickH87
10-05-2008, 10:14 AM
I have an obsession with making my arms bigger. I am like 155 lbs and top heavy, like my upper back and shoulders are broad, so I used to have skinny arms. I am working on balancing it with my triceps and biceps.

Gmedlo
10-05-2008, 11:07 AM
For those looking for size: I read a Christian Thibaudeau article where he cited a study comparing arm size in workout programs made up completely of compound exercises (dead, squat, bench, and press IIRC) and the other program the exact same, except with the addition of bicep and tricep work. They found that the bicep/tricep work did not increase muscle size on top of what the compound exercises did.

Stuff like that just shows you how much compound exercises stimulate growth in the entire body. Although this is somewhat anecdotal, I noticed that when I started lifting weights (no bicep work included) my non-tennis arm bicep, which had been 1" smaller than my other, caught up to my tennis arm pretty quickly, and they are now the same size. Same goes for my forearms.

Sleepstream
10-05-2008, 12:45 PM
For those looking for size: I read a Christian Thibaudeau article where he cited a study comparing arm size in workout programs made up completely of compound exercises (dead, squat, bench, and press IIRC) and the other program the exact same, except with the addition of bicep and tricep work. They found that the bicep/tricep work did not increase muscle size on top of what the compound exercises did.

Stuff like that just shows you how much compound exercises stimulate growth in the entire body. Although this is somewhat anecdotal, I noticed that when I started lifting weights (no bicep work included) my non-tennis arm bicep, which had been 1" smaller than my other, caught up to my tennis arm pretty quickly, and they are now the same size. Same goes for my forearms.

I agree. Various pulling movements (rows, pullups, pulldowns, etc) helped my biceps more than isolated training.

I don't find there is too much of a reason for an individual to directly work biceps for tennis unless muscle tears are a problem.

SystemicAnomaly
10-05-2008, 12:54 PM
^^ Good points SS and Gmedlo. (Compound exercises and the functional training I mentioned are pretty much the same thing).

Sleepstream
10-05-2008, 01:35 PM
^^ Good points SS and Gmedlo. (Compound exercises and the functional training I mentioned are pretty much the same thing).

I don't particularly like the phrase "functional training".

All training is functional, but the functions differ between people.

SystemicAnomaly
10-05-2008, 01:59 PM
^ This is true. I think that the term, functional training, is to set it apart from isolated muscle training. The muscles are not really used in complete isolation for most physical activities. Even so-called isolation exercises will recruit some additional muscle groups, especially for free weight exercises. We can consider muscle development exercises as part of a continuum -- pure isolation exercises at one extreme and multi-joint, multi-directional exercises at the other end.