Who doesn’t love big guns? A lot of newbies to the gym are seduced by the amazing pics of yesteryear bodybuilders and physique athletes, and big arms is one of their main attractions. The part of the arm which probably they crave the most is the bicep, especially the bicep peak. In fact, for the newbies, the hiring process of the trainer starts first from the way he looks, how big and muscular are his arms, chest, shoulder, back, and legs; and then his qualification and experience.
What’s funny is that there are people writing articles and making videos on which exercises help you build the bicep peak. Firstly, there is no exercise which can build the bicep peak. The size and shape of your muscles is mainly determined by your genes. Regardless of what exercise you perform for your arms, how many sets and reps you do, or what tempo you use to perform the movement, you cannot build the peak in your biceps, if that shape is not in your genes.
No exercise can build a particular size or shape in muscle. Surely lifting heavy, slowing down the tempo, contracting the bicep at the top of the movement, will give you a better contraction of the muscle, and help recruit even more muscle fibers, but that still can’t decide upon the shape of the biceps or triceps, or for that matter any muscle.
There are three main muscles in the arm i.e. the bicep brachii, the brachialis, and the brachioradialis. It is the bicep brachii muscle which we talk about when we discuss the bicep peak. “The bicep brachii is a two-joint, two-headed muscle that crosses the elbow and the shoulder joint called the short head and the long head. The term ‘bicep’ means two heads, and ‘brachii’ means the upper arm. The biceps function to flex (bend) the elbow, supinate the forearm (turn the palm up), and flex the shoulder (tilt the upper arm forward)”, says powerlifter and writer Tim Henriques.
It is the long head of the bicep, which we refer to as the bicep peak. There are exercises that target the long head more, but even then you getting the bicep peak, will depend on your genetics, not the exercises. No concentration curls, no preacher curls, no twisting of the arm at the top of dumbbell curl to contract the bicep, etc. will get you a bicep peak, if the peak is not in your genes. There are people with amazing arm size with no peak, and there are people with hardly any arm size, and still have a better developed long head, which looks like a peak. This is because some people are born with short biceps with a larger peak.
If you observe the top bodybuilders or physique athletes, most of them have amazing and well-balanced arm development, but even then many have developed bicep peak and others don’t, but what matters is the overall size for both triceps and biceps, not just the peak. It is the overall size of the arm which gives it the big look, not the bicep peak. A lot of people may call the peak as the “cherry on the cake”, but then there are great cakes with and without cherries.