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Brachialis: Learn Your Muscles

The brachialis may be hidden beneath the biceps, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important. This muscle is crucial for bending your elbow. That makes it essential for activities such as feeding yourself. Here’s more about this deep muscle.

Location

brachialis and biceps muscles

Thanks to Ground Up Strength for the image.

The origin for the brachialis muscle is on the lower half of the anterior surface of the humerus. When you look at the picture on the right, you can’t quite see the origin well because it’s beneath the biceps muscle. However, the origin of the brachialis is roughly beneath the bulge of the biceps.

The insertion of the brachialis is the tuberosity and coronoid process of the ulna. The ulnar tuberosity is a landmark on the anterior of the ulna, toward the top of the bone. The coronoid process is the bony landmark just above the ulnar tuberosity. Both of these points are very close to the elbow joint.

Function

The main function of the brachialis is to flex the elbow joint. Specifically, this muscle brings your forearm toward your upper arm. This is common in activities like eating. The brachialis works to help bring a bite of food toward your mouth.

Common Dysfunction

According to Yoganatomy.com, brachialis dysfunction isn’t terribly common. “However, rock climbers will sometimes overwork this muscle resulting in tendinitis or even in a tear of this muscle.” You might suspect you have brachialis tendinitis or a tear if you have pain at the insertion point.

Also, some people might experience flexion deformity. This means that the elbow cannot fully straighten.

Restoring or Maintaining Health

If you believe you have injured or torn your brachialis, contact your doctor. He or she can order the necessary imagine, medicine, and therapy to help you heal as quickly as possible.

However, if you’re looking for suggestions on yoga poses or Pilates exercises to help keep your muscle strong and healthy, I have some suggestions. To strengthen the brachialis, you want to practice exercises where your elbow is bent like in Jack knife (with your elbows bent for support), Crow pose, or Dolphin pose.

You can also strengthen this muscle when your elbow attempts to bend against resistance. This action is found when your bring yourself closer to your legs (like in Padangusthasana) or when you bring your leg closer to yourself (like in Utthita Padangusthasana).

To stretch the brachialis, practice exercises where the arms are straight such as Plank, Reverse plank, Downward facing dog, or Upward facing dog.

More Information

I consulted The Concise Book of Muscles by Chris Jarmey. Recently, the book was revised and is in its third edition. I love this book as a quick go-to guide for easy to understand anatomy.

For those who are more interested in technical terminology and smaller muscles, I recommend Flash Anatomy Muscles Flash Cards. Any time a client comes to me with pain, I use these flash cards.

Also, I consulted David Keil’s article on the brachialis at Yoganatomy.com.

What’s your favorite way to strengthen or stretch your brachialis? Let us know in the comments below.

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About Sarah Stockett

Hi, I'm Sarah! I'm a certified Pilates and yoga instructor with a passion for pain relief. I believe you can use simple exercises to relieve your aches + pains. AND, I believe I can teach you how.

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