Biceps Stretch

Written By: Chloe Wilson BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy
Reviewed By: SPE Medical Review Board

6 Biceps Stretch Exercises: Improve flexibility, range and function

Biceps stretch exercises can be a really useful part of an upper body work out.

Whether you are recovering from a shoulder injury or are looking to increase your strength and flexibility, bicep stretches can really help.

Stretches help keep your biceps flexible and supple so they can work effectively.

When done as part of your warm up and cool down programme, bicep stretches can make your workout safer, more effective and reduce the chance of developing delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).

And if you are recovering from a shoulder problem such as biceps tendonitis, then biceps stretches can help to reduce pain, increase flexibility and help get you back to full function.

How To Stretch Your Biceps

There are lots of different biceps stretch exercises out there – here I share with you my top 6, the ones I have found to be most effective for stretching the biceps muscles without the risk of injury. 

Try them out and pick your favourite two or three, or alternate between the different biceps stretches, whatever works best for you.

The bicep muscle runs between the shoulder and the elbow on the front of the upper arm. You can find out more about biceps anatomy and function in the shoulder muscles section.

1. Chair Biceps Stretch

This is a great biceps stretch to stat with and can be done pretty much anywhere.

Biceps Stretch In Chair
  • Sit upright on a stool or dining chair

  • Lift your arms out to the side, up to shoulder height, palms facing upwards 

  • Slowly bring your arms back behind you until you feel a stretch in the upper arm

  • Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat 3 times

Variations: 1. Repeat this biceps stretch with your thumbs pointing down to the floor to change the angle of the stretch
2. You can also do this exercise standing up if you prefer

Top Tip: Don’t let your back arch

2. Seated Biceps Stretch

This seated biceps stretch is a great way to control and progress the stretch, with the whole body anchored so that you can really target the biceps muscles.

Seated Biceps Stretch
  • Sit on the floor with your legs out in front, knees slightly bent, feet flat on the floor

  • Place your hands behind you, fingers pointing away from your body

  • Gently slide your butt forwards, away from your hands, until you feel a stretch in the biceps

  • Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat 3 times

Progression: To increase the biceps stretch, slide your butt slightly further forwards between each stretch

3. Hand Clasp Bicep Stretch

The hand clasp is a really simple yet effective biceps stretch.

Hand Clasp Biceps Stretches
  • In standing, interlace your fingers together behind your back

  • Press your shoulders down and draw your shoulder blades together

  • Press down through your hands towards the ground and slowly lift your arms back until you feel the stretch

  • Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times

Top Tip: Don’t let the shoulders roll forwards as you take the arms back

4. Biceps Stretch With Strap

With this biceps stretch, the strap works as an anchor and helps you stretch both sides at once.

Biceps Stretches With Strap
  • Stand holding a strap, belt or stick behind you, palms facing back, hands hip width apart

  • Keeping your elbows straight, raise your arms behind you as shown, feeling for a stretch in the front of your shoulders

  • Hold for 10 seconds and repeat 10 times

5. Wall Biceps Stretches

This a great exercise for stretching the different parts of the biceps muscles by changing the position of the hand.

Wall Biceps Stretches: A great way to stretch the biceps
  • Stand next to a wall, feet shoulder width apart

  • Place your arm and the back of your flat against the wall behind you

  • Straighten your elbow and slowly slide your hand up the wall, aiming for shoulder height

  • You should feel a stretch in your upper arm and across the front of your elbow

  • Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times

Progressions: 1. Turn your hand so your thumb is against the wall and repeat
2. Turn your hand so your palm is against the wall and repeat
3. Increase the stretch further by bringing your hips/body closer to the wall

6. Doorway Biceps Stretch

This doorway stretch gives a really good, strong biceps stretch.

Doorway Biceps Stretch: A simple yet effective way to stretch your biceps
  • Stand in an open door way and place your hand on the door frame/jam at around shoulder height

  • Step forwards until your elbow is straight, keeping hold of the door frame

  • Slowly twist your whole body round away from the arm you are stretching, feeling the biceps stretch increase

  • Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times

Why Do Biceps Stretches Help?

Biceps stretches can be really beneficial as part of your upper body workout or if you are recovering from shoulder pain. When you stretch a muscle correctly, the muscle fibres gradually lengthen.

Biceps stretches help to:

  • Increase Flexibility: in the biceps muscle
  • Increase Range Of Motion: at the shoulder and elbow
  • Reduce Tightness: and tension in the upper arm
  • Increase Blood Flow: to the biceps muscles so they are ready for action
  • Increase Effectiveness: of biceps function
  • Improve Function: and performance at the shoulder
  • Reduce The Risk Of Injury: e.g. muscle strain and biceps tendonitis

Stretching is also thought to release endorphins which can help to reduce pain and improve mood.

What Else Can Help?

Bicep Stretches can help to improve shoulder flexibility and function and reduce the risk of injury. They can be beneficial after a shoulder injury, if you are looking increase your upper body strength and as part of your warm up/cool down regime, especially if you are using weights.

Tightness in the biceps can lead to weakness and inflammation and may result in biceps tendonitis.

Biceps stretch exercises often work best when combined with other exercises to strengthen the upper arm and shoulder such as:

You can find loads more shoulder and arm excises to go alongside the biceps stretch exercises in the Shoulder Exercises section.

Page Last Updated: 15/06/2022
Next Review Due: 15/06/2024


Related Articles

Common Shoulder Pain Causes

Shoulder Problems
May 24, 2022

Upper Arm Pain: Common causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment options

Diagnosis Charts
March 29, 2022

Shoulder Rehab Exercises

Rehab Exercises
February 2, 2022