Anatomy of the Arm Muscles: Biceps, Triceps, Rotator Cuff, Chest, Back, Shoulders, and Forearms

Here is a brief overview of the anatomy of the arm muscles. The upper body has tons of muscles including the back, chest, shoulders, rotator cuff, biceps, triceps, and forearms.

Back Muscles

The back muscles are the muscles that attach from the spine and ribs to the shoulder blade and/ or to the humerus.

The major back muscles of the scapula and shoulder are the latissimus dorsi (aka the lats), teres major, trapezius, and the rhomboids.

The back muscles pull the shoulders and the shoulder blades backwards.

Learn more about the back muscles

Rotator Cuff Muscles

There are 4 muscles that make up the rotator cuff. The muscles are the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis.

The rotator cuff muscles all have individual actions, but they work together to dynamically stabilize the shoulder.

Learn more about the Rotator Cuff Muscles

Shoulder Muscles

The Deltoid is the major shoulder muscles and it has 3 sections. It has a front, side, and rear portion. Often in weight lifting circles you'll hear the deltoid referred to by its part-- anterior deltoid (front), middle deltoid (side), and posterior deltoid (back).

Whenever you move your arm, some part of the deltoid muscle will be working.

Learn more about the deltoid muscle

Chest Muscles

There are 2 main muscles that make up the pectoral region. They are the pectoralis major and the pectoralis minor.

The pectoralis major is the big superficial chest muscle that goes from your ribs and sternum all the way out to the shoulder.

The pec minor is located underneath the pec major and it goes to the shoulder blade to stabilize the scapula and move the scapula.

Learn more about the pecs

Biceps Muscles

Biceps literally means 2 heads. There is a long head and a short head-- the long head start off a little further up on the shoulder blade compared to the short head.

Both bicep muscles help to bend the elbow, turn the palms face up, and stabilize the shoulder.

Learn more about the Biceps Muscle

Tricep Muscles

Triceps literally means 3 heads. There is a long head, medial head, and lateral head. The long head starts of higher up on the shoulder blade. The medial head is on the inside of the arm and the lateral head is on the outside of the arm.

All of the tricep muscles work to straighten the elbow.

Learn more about the Triceps Muscle

Forearm Muscles

The Forearm muscles can be divided into two groups: front and back.

The muscles on the front of the forearm are the flexor group, and they bend the fingers and wrist.

The muscles on the back of the forearm are the extensor group, and they straighten the fingers and extend the wrist.

Anytime you hold onto any object, your forearm muscles will work together to grip and stabilize the wrist.

Learn More About the Forearm Muscles

Conclusion of Anatomy of the Arm Muscles

This is just a brief overview of the arm muscles.

When performing upper body workouts try to emphasize the big muscles like the back, chest, shoulders, and arms.

But don't completely neglect the little muscles like the scapula stabilizers, rotator cuff, and forearm muscles.

Yours in Health,
Dr. Charles PT/PT

Return to the Home Page from Anatomy of the Arm Muscles

Turn Your Body Into a Fat Burning Furnace
Guys get lean! Ladies Get Skinny! Learn how to lose weight fast and keep it off permanently by turning your body into a fat burning furnace.