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Brachioradialis: Learn Your Muscles

You may not have ever heard of the brachioradialis, but I would just about guarantee that you’ve seen it before. You can easily notice the brachioradialis on people who have nicely developed forearms. But this muscle isn’t just for show. It helps bend your elbow, rotate your forearm, and flex your wrist.

Location

brachioradialis

Thanks to Niel Asher Education for the image.

According to the Flash Anatomy Muscles Flash Cards, the origin of the brachioradialis is on the “proximal two-thirds of the lateral supracondylar ridge of the humerus and lateral intermuscular septum.” To me, that is a really complex sentence so we’re going to break it down.

When you look at the picture to the right, that little red dot is on the lateral supracondylar ridge of the humerus. This is the technical way of naming the top, inside edge of the external bony nub at the bottom of your upper arm bone.

The other point of origin is the lateral intermuscular septum. This helps divide your arm so it has a front and back. If you look at the picture, the person’s palm is facing forward. From this position, the point of origin would be a couple of inches above the elbow on what now feels like the outside edge of your arm.

The insertion of the brachioradialis is on the outside of the lower part of the radius, just above a place called the styloid process.

Function

The main function of the brachioradialis is to flex, or bend, the elbow. Also, muscle-joint-pain.com says that the brachioradialis “assists the extensors of your hand to bend your wrist backwards.”

Additionally, the brachioradialis pronates and supinates the forearm. This means that it turns your palm to face upward or downward. A common way that we use this muscle is by turning a corkscrew.

Common Dysfunction

According to muscle-joint-pain.com, the brachioradialis “gets overworked by excessive gripping motions and can induce pain that is commonly interpreted as tennis elbow pain.” So, if you’ve got a pain in your arm while you’re uncorking your wine, you may have injured your brachioradialis.

You might also feel pain while:

  • turning a screwdriver,
  • shaking someone’s hand,
  • sipping some coffee, or
  • turning a doorknob.

Restoring or Maintaining Health

If you feel like you may have injured your brachioradialis, contact your doctor. He or she can order the appropriate imaging, medicine, and therapy necessary for a smooth recovery.

For anyone searching for Pilates exercises or yoga poses to help strengthen only this muscle, I have to say that I’m not sure such a thing exists. Although this muscle performs elbow flexion, it’s not the only muscle to perform this action. The biceps also bend the elbow, but it does stand to reason that any exercises for the biceps would also help the brachioradialis.

An example of how you could strengthen the brachioradialis is when you lower down and hold Chaturanga Dandasana. To find a stretch, try Reverse (or Upward) plank, which is also known as Purvottanasana.

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.

Do you have any other suggestions for strengthening or stretching the brachioradialis? 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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