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In order to achieve bigger and stronger upper arms, it’s important to focus on exercises that target the coracobrachialis muscle.
This muscle is responsible for arm flexion and adduction at the shoulder joint, making it a key player to stabilize the humerus.
The following are 10 of the best coracobrachialis exercises that you can do to help build mass and power in this area.
Table of Contents
10 Best Coracobrachialis Exercises
Be sure to consult with a medical professional before attempting any of the following stretches and strength training exercises.
1. Coracobrachialis Stretch
Stretching the coracobrachialis muscle can help increase its blood supply from the brachial artery.
- Begin by standing next to the back of a chair.
- With your arm straight, grab simply the edge of the backrest with your palm facing upwards.
- Keep your arm extended and rotate your body away from the chair until you feel a nice stretch.
- Hold it for 1-2 minutes before switching to the other arm.
2. Low Chest Fly With Resistance Bands
To begin this movement:
- Anchor a band to a secure spot and wrap it around your inner elbow.
- Stand with your chest up and scapula in a neutral position.
- Bend your lower arm so that it makes roughly a 90-degree angle with the upper arm.
- Step forwards and sideways so that your elbow is angled at 45 degrees.
- With your palm open and facing toward you, aim your middle finger at your opposite eye.
- Then, pull your arm upwards until your inner elbow is close to your nose.
- Slowly lower back to the starting position and repeat for 10-12 reps.
- Switch arms.
3. Light Dumbbell Bench pressing
Avoid using heavy loads when performing this exercise to minimize shoulder pain.
- Grab the dumbbells with an overhand grip.
- Retract your shoulder blades and lie back on the bench.
- Plant your feet into the floor and flair your elbows at about a 45-degree angle with the dumbbells at about low to mid-chest height.
- With your arms extended, slowly lower the dumbbells toward your chest.
- Go down as far as you can comfortably go, then reverse the motion
- Repeat for 10-15 reps.
Chin-ups are used to target the coracobrachialis, back, biceps brachii, and brachialis muscles.
This makes it excellent not just for the shoulders, but for performing flexion at the elbow joint too.
- Grab onto a pull-up bar with your palms facing you and hands about shoulder-width apart.
- Tuck your elbows in, keep your legs straight and squeeze your glutes.
- From here, pull yourself up in a straight line towards the bar.
- Keep your chest up high and go up until it is a few inches away from the bar.
- Then reverse back down to the lowest position with your arms straight.
- Do as many reps as you can with good form.
Dips are an effective way to strengthen both the coracobrachialis and the long head of the triceps brachii.
Both of which are vital for stabilizing the shoulders.
- For this one, you can use either a dip machine or set up two chairs with the backrests facing each other.
- Grab the handles slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Fully extend your elbows, cross your legs, and retract your shoulder blades.
- Lean slightly forward then slowly yourself down.
- Stop once your upper arms and wrists from a 90-degree angle.
- Reverse the motion and re-extend your elbows at the top.
- Perform 8-12 reps.
6. Low Chest Fly With a Cable Machine
- Set two cable pulleys to the lowest setting and attach d-handles.
- Grab both of them and step forward with a staggered stance.
- Get a slight bent in your arms with palms facing the ceiling.
- Simultaneously elevate your hands upwards and inwards to about mid-chest height.
- Stop and squeeze when your knuckles are close to touching each other.
- Slowly return to the start and repeat for 15-20 reps.
7. Light Barbell Bench Pressing
Just like with the dumbbell version, be sure to avoid heavy loads when benching with the purpose of targeting your coracobrachialis.
This will help to avoid injury since it is such a small muscle.
- Begin this exercise by lying on a bench.
- Place your feet flat on the ground and retract your shoulders.
- Grab the bar with an overhand grip.
- Unrack the bar and lower it in a controlled manner until it is touching your lower pecs.
- Then, push it back up until your elbows are fully extended.
- Repeat for 8-12 repetitions.
8. Wide-Grip Push-ups
- Place your hands on the floor about 1.5x wider than your shoulders.
- Step back with your feet to assume a push-up position.
- Protract your scapula.
- Lower yourself until you are a few inches above the ground.
- Reverse back up until your arms are straight and do 10-15 more reps.
9. Coracobrachialis Palpation
Palpation is a great way to assess the level of tightness in your coracobrachialis.
Watch the YouTube video below to learn how to properly palpate your coracobrachialis.
Consult with a professional before attempting to palpate yourself.
10. Seated Coracobrachialis Stretch
Due to the coracobrachialis inserts being such a small muscle located in the medial border of the humerus, it can be hard to effectively target.
That’s where this stretch comes in.
- Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the ground and wider than hip-width.
- Flair your elbows out and press your palms against your outer knees.
- Lean your torso forward and rotate your head to the left and your right anterior delt towards the ground.
- Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds before rotating in the other direction.
How Often Should You Do These Exercises?
Ideally, you should aim to do these exercises and stretches three times a week.
If this is not possible, once a week should still be enough to help maintain flexibility and strength in your coracobrachialis muscles.
Start with 1-2 sets of 8-15 reps for the exercises and hold each stretch for 20-30 seconds.
Remember to always listen to your body and increase the reps or sets slowly as you get more comfortable with the movements.
As always, if you experience any pain while doing these movements, check in with a medical professional.
What Is the Coracobrachialis Muscle?
The Coracobrachialis is a small, deep muscle located in the upper arm near the shoulder joint.
It originates from the coracoid process at the front of the scapula and inserts into the humerus between the deltoid tuberosity and pectoralis major.
(The coracoid process is made up of three muscles including the short head of the biceps brachii, pectoralis minor, and coracobrachialis)
The Coracobrachialis muscle is responsible for adduction and shoulder flexion of the glenoid cavity and glenoid fossa.
It also assists in stabilizing the shoulder joint and helps to keep it in position while moving.
When strengthened, this muscle can help to increase the strength and stability of the humeral head and glenohumeral joint (shoulder).
It may also reduce pain associated with overuse injuries.
Other Benefits of Strengthening It
Having strong coracobrachialis muscles can help you stay in proper alignment and keep your shoulder joint from drifting forward into an overstretched position.
This helps improve posture and encourages correct form when performing exercises that involve the shoulder.
Your coracobrachialis muscle will also benefit from an increase in nerve supply signaling from the musculocutaneous nerve.
Coracobrachialis Muscle FAQs
What Exercises Work the Coracobrachialis?
The following exercises work the coracobrachialis: chin-ups, dips, and wide-grip push-ups.
Chin-ups work the coracobrachialis as they require you to pull yourself up using your arms and back muscles.
Dips are performed by pushing yourself up from an elevated surface, making sure to keep your elbows close to your body, which works the coracobrachialis.
Wide-grip push-ups engage both your arms, deltoid and pectoralis muscles, in turn working the coracobrachialis muscle as well.
How Do I Activate Coracobrachialis?
To activate the coracobrachialis, press your thumb in between the meat of your bicep and tricep, close to the armpit.
From here, press your arm against your body and squeeze.
This should make the coracobrachialis pop out.
Can You Isolate the Coracobrachialis?
Since it is such a small, deep muscle, the coracobrachialis can be difficult to isolate.
To help target it, one exercise that can be used is a resistance band, low to high, cross-body fly.
Be sure to keep your arms bent and palms facing inwards.
Doing them unilaterally (one side at a time) will make it easier to focus on getting the mind-to-muscle connection with your coracobrachialis.
How Do I Stretch My Coracobrachialis?
To properly stretch the Coracobrachialis, start by standing tall with your arms down at your sides.
Extend one arm straight out to the side and grab onto the backrest of a chair with an underhand grip.
From here, rotate your body away from the chair until you feel a complete stretch.
Hold it for 30-60 seconds before switching sides.
Start Exercising Your Coracobrachialis!
If you want more flexibility in your humerus, the coracobrachialis is a muscle you should focus on.
In this article, I’ve listed 10 different exercises that will help you target and tone this muscle.
So what are you waiting for?
Get started today!
And be sure to let me know how it goes.