What’s Underneath… Arm Muscles (Anterior)

The first gross anatomy lecture I ever had taught me about the anatomical position which is important to know from the outset of learning anatomy. It basically means that whenever you talk about the position of anything in the body, you describe it with the below orientation in mind; a person standing upward, facing forward with their arms straight and hands by their hips, palms and toes always facing forward.

Image taken from Teach Me Anatomy (1)

What are the main anterior muscles of your upper arm?

When we talk about the arm, we’re only referring to what’s between the shoulders and elbows; the forearm is then what’s below the elbow. There are muscles on the anterior (front) and posterior (back) of the arm, but I’m going to separate the two groups into two separate posts. The anterior side of the arm consists of:

The Biceps Brachii

The biceps is no new term to anybody, and it’s the muscle we most like to focus on growing in the gym. This muscle has two heads, the long and short head, and even though it sits on top of our humerus, it doesn’t have any attachment to the bone itself. The long and short heads both originate from the scapula and insert into our radius.

The function of this muscle is to ‘supinate’ or turn the forearm where the palms face you. My way of remembering the meaning of supination was by imagining the way my forearm turns when I want to hold a bowl of soup! It also flexes the arm at the elbow and shoulder. (1)

Image taken from Teach Me Anatomy (1)

The Brachialis

This muscle is found beneath and more distal (lower) than the biceps. It does attach to the humerus bone and inserts into the ulna. It also causes flexion at the elbow. (1)

The Coracobrachialis

This muscle is also found underneath the biceps, it also originates from the scapula and inserts into the lower portion of the humerus. This muscle too flexes the arm at the shoulder and causes slight adduction (movement of the arm toward our torso). (1)

My favourite bicep workouts:

Image taken from LIVESTRONG (3)

Biceps curl with dumbbell

View full instructions here.

Seated curls

View full instructions here.


  1. Teachmeanatomy.info. (2019). The Anatomical Position – TeachMeAnatomy. [online] Available at: https://teachmeanatomy.info/the-basics/anatomical-terminology/anatomical-position/ [Accessed 17 May 2019].
  2. Mayo Clinic. (2019). Slide show: Weight training exercises. [online] Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/multimedia/weight-training/sls-20076904?s=5 [Accessed 18 May 2019].
  3. LIVESTRONG.COM. (2019). Workouts for Different Parts of The Biceps | Livestrong.com. [online] Available at: https://www.livestrong.com/article/455570-different-workouts-for-different-parts-of-the-bicep/ [Accessed 18 May 2019].

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