Skip to main content
​Long Bicep vs Short Bicep: Understanding the Differences

​Long Bicep vs Short Bicep: Understanding the Differences

Posted by Leonard Shemtob on Jul 09, 2024

When it comes to building bigger, stronger biceps, many people wonder if the length of their biceps plays a role in their muscle growth potential. Some believe that having short biceps is better for strength and aesthetics, while others argue that long biceps are more advantageous.

In this article, we'll explore the differences between short and long biceps, their advantages and disadvantages, and which one is better. We'll also explore some of the best supplements to support your muscle-building journey.

By the end of this guide, you'll have a better understanding of your own biceps type and how to optimize your training routine to maximize your muscle growth and achieve the arms you've always wanted.


Short Summary

  • Definition and Differences: Long biceps and short biceps refer to the shape and length of the bicep muscle, impacting arm appearance and performance.
  • Identification: Methods to determine whether you have long or short biceps, including visual cues and specific measurements.
  • Training Techniques: Tailored exercises and workout strategies for optimizing the growth and strength of long or short biceps.
  • Benefits and Drawbacks: Pros and cons of having long versus short biceps in terms of aesthetics and functional strength.
  • Genetic Factors: Genetics play a big role in determining an individual's biceps length, but proper training and nutrition can help optimize muscle growth regardless of biceps type.
  • Best Supplements: Explore top supplements that support your muscle-building journey, enhancing both long and short-bicep growth.
  • Top Recommendation: Try Anafuse, our top-recommended muscle-building supplement, to effectively increase muscle size for both long and short biceps.


Long Head vs Short Head Bicep Muscle Anatomy Long Bicep Vs Short Bicep

Anatomy of the Biceps

To understand the differences between long and short biceps, it's essential to first grasp the basic anatomy of this prominent arm muscle. The biceps brachii, often simply called the bicep, is a two-headed muscle on the front of the upper arm.

It consists of a long head and a short head, both originating from the scapula (shoulder blade) and attaching to the radius bone of the forearm. In simple terms, the biceps brachii is a muscle with two points of attachment. One end connects to the shoulder, while the other end attaches to the elbow joint.

Long Head: The long head of the biceps originates from the supraglenoid tubercle of the scapula (shoulder blade), away from the shoulder joint. It runs down the arm and contributes to the muscle's length. This head is typically more visible when the arm is extended.

Short Head: Originating from the coracoid process of the scapula, the short head runs alongside the long head and contributes to forearm supination (rotating the palm upwards).

The length of the biceps refers to the length of these two heads. Some individuals have longer biceps, with the long head being more prominent, while others have shorter biceps, with the short head being more pronounced.


How Do You Know if You Have Short or Long Biceps

Determining whether you have long or short biceps can be done through a simple visual assessment. Here are some key indicators to look for:

With Your Elbows Flexed

Flex Time! Bend your elbow at a 90-degree angle, like you're giving a strong "high five."

Finger Frenzy: Now, place your fingers between the contracted bicep muscle and your forearm.

The Verdict:

  • One Finger: If you can only fit one finger comfortably, you likely have long biceps.
  • Two-Finger: If you have two to three fingers space, you might have short biceps.
  • Three or More Fingers: This is less common, but if you can fit three or more fingers, it suggests a shorter bicep tendon and potentially shorter biceps muscle bellies.

Other Indicators

Muscle Peak: When you flex your biceps, observe the height of the muscle peak. If the peak is high and pronounced, you may have short biceps. If the peak is less defined and the muscle appears to bulge more along the length of the arm, you may have long biceps.

Muscle Fullness: Long biceps tend to create a fuller, more rounded appearance when flexed. Short biceps, on the other hand, may appear more compact and dense.

Genetics: Biceps length is largely determined by genetics. If you have family members with similar arm characteristics, you may share the same biceps type.


Advantages and Drawbacks: Long Bicep vs Short Bicep

Advantages of Long Bicep

Aesthetic Appeal: Long biceps often create a sleek and elongated appearance, enhancing overall arm symmetry.

Range of Motion: Long biceps may have an advantage in exercises requiring full extension of the arm, such as overhead presses and straight-arm pulldowns.

Potential for Greater Muscle Definition: The elongated shape of long biceps may allow for more distinct muscle definition, especially in competitive bodybuilding or aesthetic-focused training.

Drawbacks of Long Bicep

Risk of Overextension: Due to their length, long biceps may be more prone to overextension injuries, especially during activities that require sudden or excessive stretching of the arm.

Functional Limitations: In some functional movements, such as lifting heavy loads or certain sports activities, the elongated shape of the long biceps may not provide as much leverage or power as shorter, thicker muscles.

Challenging Peak Development: While long biceps may naturally exhibit a peak, achieving and maintaining a pronounced peak can require targeted training strategies and consistency.


Advantages of Short Bicep

Peak Appearance: Short biceps often create a more pronounced peak when the arm is flexed, enhancing arm aesthetics.

Strength in Contraction: Short biceps may excel in exercises emphasizing peak contraction, such as concentration curls and preacher curls.

Strength and Power: The compact nature of short biceps may provide greater leverage and power in movements that require forceful contractions, such as lifting heavy weights or performing explosive exercises.

Reduced Risk of Imbalance: Short biceps, when balanced with other arm muscles, may help reduce the risk of muscle imbalance and associated injuries.

Drawbacks of Short Bicep

Less Visual Fullness: The shorter muscle belly may not create the same overall size and fullness as the long biceps. Short biceps may create a more compact, dense appearance when flexed, which some individuals may find less aesthetically pleasing compared to the fuller look of long biceps.

Limited Range of Motion: Short biceps may have a reduced range of motion compared to long biceps, which can affect performance in exercises requiring full extension.

Potential for Imbalances: Like long biceps, short biceps may also be prone to muscle imbalances, especially if one arm is significantly shorter than the other. This can result in uneven muscle development and potential injuries.


Which is Better: Long Biceps or Short Biceps?

When it comes to the debate between long and short biceps, there is no definitive answer as to which one is inherently better. Both types have their own advantages and disadvantages, and the "better" choice ultimately depends on individual preferences and goals.

If your primary goal is to achieve a high, pronounced muscle peak and have the potential for greater strength in certain exercises, then short biceps may be advantageous. The enhanced muscle peak can be aesthetically pleasing, and the shorter muscle length may provide better stability and control during heavy lifts.

On the other hand, if you prioritize a fuller, more rounded appearance and want to maximize your range of motion during exercises, then long biceps may be more beneficial. The greater muscle fullness can contribute to an impressive overall look, and the longer muscle length can lead to increased muscle activation during certain exercises.

It's important to remember that your biceps type is largely determined by genetics, and you can't change it through training. However, you can optimize your training strategies based on your biceps type to achieve your desired results.

Regardless of whether you have long or short biceps, proper form, progressive overload, and consistent training are essential for building bigger, stronger arms. Focusing on compound exercises like pull-ups, rows, and barbell curls, along with targeted isolation exercises, can help you maximize your muscle growth potential.

In the end, the "better" biceps type is the one that aligns with your individual preferences and helps you achieve your specific goals. Neither long biceps nor short biceps are inherently better than the other. 

The "better" choice depends on personal goals, functional needs, and aesthetic preferences, highlighting the importance of understanding and optimizing individual muscle characteristics.


Best Supplements for Bicep Development

1- AnaFuse by Vital Alchemy

AnaFuse by Vital Alchemy

Vital Alchemy, a well-known company in the muscle-building supplement industry, has recently introduced Anafuse, a new product designed to help individuals achieve their bulking goals. Anafuse is a dual-agent bulking stack that aims to help users add muscle mass and maintain it.

The supplement features a blend of recently discovered anabolics that work together to create a synergistic effect, potentially leading to significant muscle growth without the typical side effects associated with certain substances. Anafuse combines various factors necessary for adding lean, hard muscle mass to one's frame, offering a complete formula in a single product.

Key Benefits

  • It increases lean muscle mass.
  • It reduces body fat.
  • It enhances muscle endurance.
  • It boosts muscle hardness.
  • It boosts strength.
  • It promotes muscle pumps.
  • It speeds up your muscle recovery.

Key Ingredients

  • Epicatechin
  • Ajuga Turkestanica
  • HICA
  • Eriobotrya Japonica
  • Vitamin D3
  • Quercetin

Customer Reviews

 Anafuse

“This stuff is top notch. I’ve used it a few times now and saw results every time. A clean diet, a solid plan and anafuse will definitely elevate your gains vs not taking it.”

-KyleB


 Go to

“When it’s time for me to get in shape, this is one of my go to supplements!”

-Ray


 Strength

“I know I'm late for the party but I know for a fact Anafuse added that extra 40 pounds of lift so could add that extra muscle, some supplements add muscle but do get you strength, some give you strength, that's what Anafuse does I know for certain, I will cycling it for sure for now on because it works.”

-Gary


2- AlphaBulk by Olympus Labs

AlphaBulk by Olympus Labs

Olympus Labs offers a supplement called AlphaBulk, which is marketed as promoting muscle growth and fat loss simultaneously. AlphaBulk features α-Cedrene, an anabolic agent dosed at a clinically effective level. α-Cedrene has been shown to enhance muscle mass and strength while also promoting fat loss.

Working together with α-Cedrene is α-Ionone, known for its role in muscle protein synthesis and as an anti-catabolic and lipotropic agent. AlphaBulk utilizes innovative Liquigel capsules to ensure maximum benefit.

Key Benefits

  • It increases muscle protein synthesis.
  • It promotes lean muscle growth.
  • It enhances strength output.
  • It increases fat oxidation.
  • It boosts lipolysis.
  • It supports exercise performance and recovery.

Key Ingredients

  • α-Cedrene
  • α-Ionone
  • Tectochrysin PhytoFUSE
  • Urolithin B

Customer Reviews

 Alpha Bulk

“I recently purchased Alpha Bulk two weeks ago and all I can say is WOW!!!! The only up downside about the pills are the taste, I’m taking 3 pills daily on an empty stomach. I like to train that way. They give me more endurance and can get out an extra rep or two before failure. No size yet, I’m only two weeks in. I ordered 2 bottles to run so I’m hoping to get a bit vascular full size.”

-LaMichael W.


 Quality supplement

“I’m using this a in my pct and it’s been 3 weeks and I haven’t lost any weight.”

-DJ


 Stellar Pumps and Vascularity!

“About 3 weeks in and man the pumps in the gym are incredible. Feel like Alphabulk really is starting to bring out my physique. Noticing it feels better when I am in a caloric surplus. Also I am just now seeing the strength increases. Each week the weight and reps are going up on my bench and squat. Excited to see how 8 weeks treats me.”

-Tony H.


3- AlphaBuild by Olympus Labs

AlphaBuild by Olympus Labs

AlphaBuild is designed to enhance muscle-building potential and improve the body's ability to burn fat. It targets multiple pathways to promote muscle growth and fat loss. 

This includes inhibiting Myostatin, enhancing mitochondrial function, improving energy production and exercise performance, increasing insulin sensitivity, and amplifying the signaling molecule Cyclic-Adenosine Monophosphate (cAMP). In simpler terms, AlphaBuild formula helps build muscle, increase strength, improve vascularity, and burn fat.

Key Benefits

  • It increases ATP production.
  • It enhances muscle protein synthesis.
  • It boosts vascularity.
  • It improves anabolic signaling.
  • It supports lean muscle growth.
  • It enhances fat oxidation.
  • It increases lipolysis.
  • It improves overall exercise performance.
  • It supports straight output.
  • It accelerates your muscle recovery.

Key Ingredients

  • Epicatechin PhytoFUSETM
  • Epicatechin
  • α-Ionone
  • Abscisic Acid
  • Chromium Picolinate

Customer Reviews

 Loving it so far..

“I started it last Saturday. Did chest yesterday. Massive pump. Enjoying so far, full review coming soon.”

-Josh S.


 Alpha build

“Been using for little over a week seem to be working as advertised so fa far very happy with this supplement”

-Al P.


 Alpha Build

“So far so good!”

-Tracy G.


4- Colossal Muscle by Hard Rock Supplements

Colossal Muscle by Hard Rock Supplements

Colossal Muscle by Rock Hard Supplements is a natural anabolic designed to help add significant muscle and increase strength. It features two effective ingredients, one of which was part of a 10-week study that showed notable increases in muscle mass and strength. 

To date, no other supplement company has combined these two ingredients in these doses. Colossal Muscle aims to build muscle, increase strength, enhance endurance, and boost protein synthesis.

Key Benefits

  • It supports your muscle-building journey.
  • It enhances your protein synthesis.
  • It prevents muscle breakdown.
  • It boosts endurance.
  • It helps increase your strength and power.
  • It accelerates fat loss.
  • It improves your overall performance.
  • It helps improve your focus.

Key Ingredients

  • 20-Hydroxyecdysone
  • Uzbekistan Ajuga turkestanica

Customer Reviews

 On second bottle

“First bottle was great - took a little to see the resutlts but then they hit and you are like yes im loving it! just started my second bottle - thanks!”

-HK


 COLOSSAL

“This hard rock product is awesome. My strength increased rapidly and extreme pumps during the sessions. ********** muscle gain!”

-STEPHAN


 Quality product

“So i have almost finished my first bottle of this stuff and I can honestly say that it does work. I have noticed some size increase but what I have definitely noticed the most is strength increase. I recommend this product and I will definitely be using it again.”

-Zv


5- AlphaDefy by Olympus Labs

AlphaDefy by Olympus Labs

AlphaDefy is an advanced formula designed to enhance muscle growth, promote fat loss, and optimize athletic performance. AlphaDefy activates multiple PPAR pathways—PPAR-Alpha, PPAR-Beta, PPAR-Delta, and PPAR-Gamma—critical for metabolism and muscle growth. 

It stimulates brown adipose tissue (BAT) and engages various metabolic routes to elevate energy expenditure, unlocking the potential for simultaneous muscle growth, fat loss, anabolism, and metabolic optimization.

The synergistic blend of key ingredients in AlphaDefy supports a comprehensive approach to body recomposition. It targets metabolic pathways to promote fat loss, enhance muscle growth, and improve overall metabolic health.

Key Benefits

  • It supports your metabolic health.
  • It helps reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.
  • It boosts energy and endurance.
  • It boosts muscle regeneration.
  • It accelerates fat loss.
  • It helps improve your muscle performance.
  • It boosts your overall body health.

Key Ingredients

  • Garcinia Mangostana L. (peel) Extract
  • MitoBurn™ (L-β-Aminoisobutyric Acid)
  • Artemisia Iwayomogi Extract
  • Genistein
  • Selective Fat Ignition System

Customer Reviews

 Increasing in the right areas - beta tester

“Muscle preservation in a caloric deficit was the most notable effect for me, personally. Everything tightened up, vascularity increased, and nutrients were shuttled right where they needed to be.”

-Owen Z.


 Impressive results added to my stack

“I added this to the dad *** transformation stack and dropped another 7 lbs in about 10 days on my cut. Also starting to see some definition too.”

-Joseph S.


It works

“It’s dose work .. I added to the Chisel and I sweat more and can feel my metabolism working faster.. lost 4 pounds the first week.. probably just water but feeling tighter”

-Blaquekat


FAQs: Long Bicep Vs Short Bicep

Q: What determines whether someone has long or short biceps?

A: Bicep length is primarily determined by genetics. Long biceps have a muscle belly that extends further down the arm, while short biceps have a shorter muscle belly that may appear fuller when flexed.

Q: How can I identify if I have long or short biceps?

A: You can identify your bicep type based on visual cues when your arm is relaxed and extended. Long biceps will have a more elongated appearance, while short biceps will appear fuller and more compact.

Q: Does having long or short biceps affect my performance?

A: No, both long and short biceps allow for powerful elbow flexion, a key movement for many exercises. They don't impact your bicep function, but they can influence the appearance of your bicep.

Q: Can I train to change my bicep type?

A: No, your bicep type is determined by genetics. However, you can train your biceps to achieve your desired definition and size regardless of whether you have long or short biceps.

Q: Which bicep type is better?

A: There's no "better" type! Both long and short biceps have their own unique aesthetic appeal.

Q: Does being tall mean I have long biceps?

A: Not necessarily! Although height and limb length can influence the overall appearance of your arms, bicep length itself is mainly determined by genetics. This means someone who is tall can have short biceps, and someone who is shorter can have long biceps.


Wrapping Up

So, you've learned about long and short biceps, and hopefully discovered your own bicep squad! Remember, the type of biceps you have is all about genetics, not a reflection of your fitness potential.

The key takeaway? Focus on training that works for you! Focus on compound exercises like rows, pull-ups, and barbell curls, along with targeted isolation exercises. 

With proper nutrition, adequate rest, and targeted supplementation, you can achieve impressive results and build strong, healthy arms regardless of bicep length.

Here are some final thoughts:

  • Genetics play a role, but training rules: You can't change your bicep type, but you can definitely sculpt and define them through exercise.
  • Training Specificity: Tailoring your workouts to emphasize your bicep type's strengths can optimize muscle growth and strength gains.
  • Remember, there is no inherently "better" biceps type. Both short and long biceps have their own advantages and disadvantages. 

Sources:

https://flexfitnessapp.com/blog/bad-bicep-genetics

https://julienquaglierini.com/en/2020/02/comment-s...

https://majesda.com/blogs/short/is-short-or-long-b...

https://fitnessvolt.com/long-bicep-vs-short-bicep

Written and Sponsored by Leonard Shemtob

Leonard Shemtob is President of Strong Supplements. Leonard has been in the supplement space for over 20 years, specializing in fitness supplements and nutrition. Leonard appears on many podcasts, written over 100 articles about supplements and has studied nutrition, supplementation and bodybuilding. 

Leonard's articles have been published in many top publications around the web. Leonard enjoys weight training, playing basketball and yoga, and also enjoys hiking. In his free time he studies and works on improving himself. For more detailed information, visit his official blog.