Why Do Biceps And Triceps Grow Slowly? 11 Factors To Consider

Why Do Biceps And Triceps Grow Slowly?

Why Do Biceps And Triceps Grow Slowly? 11 Factors To Consider

Have you ever wondered why it seems like no matter how much you work on your biceps and triceps, they just don’t seem to grow as quickly as you’d like? It’s a common frustration among fitness enthusiasts and bodybuilders alike. While some muscles may respond quickly to training and nutrition, biceps and triceps seem to require a bit more patience and persistence to see results.

In reality, there are several factors that contribute to the slow growth of these muscles. Understanding these factors and how they affect your arm gains can help you develop a more effective training and nutrition plan to help you achieve the results you’re after.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the reasons why biceps and triceps grow slowly, as well as provide tips and strategies for maximizing your arm gains. So, if you’re ready to take your arm training to the next level, keep reading!

Why Do Biceps And Triceps Grow Slowly?

Biceps and triceps are relatively small muscle groups compared to other muscles in the body, such as the back or legs. This means that they have a lower capacity for growth and development. Additionally, biceps and triceps have a lower level of myofibrillar hypertrophy, which is the increase in the number and size of the contractile units within the muscle fibres. Overtraining and lacking proper contraction can also hinder growth. Doing the same old exercises without variation can lead to a plateau and lack of progress, which is why mixing up training with slow negatives, partial reps, and other techniques can help stimulate growth. Poor diet and hydration can negatively impact muscle growth as well, as can genetics. It’s also essential to ask yourself if you’re doing compound movements or not, as they are more effective in targeting these smaller muscle groups. Not using progressive overload and not allowing enough rest and recovery time can also slow down muscle growth. Lastly, poor form during exercises can lead to inefficient muscle activation and limit the effectiveness of the workout.

Now that we know why biceps and triceps grow slowly, let’s look in more detail at the points above and what you can do to help get the most out of your training sessions so that you will see better results…

1. Small muscle group

Biceps and triceps are considered smaller muscle groups in comparison to larger muscle groups such as the chest, back, and legs. This means that they have a lower capacity for growth and development as they contain fewer muscle fibres. For instance, the biceps muscle only consists of two heads (the long head and the short head) and the triceps muscle consists of three heads (the long head, lateral head, and medial head).

In contrast, the back muscle group contains several muscles, including the latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, and trapezius muscles. Due to their smaller size, biceps and triceps are more prone to fatigue and require less recovery time compared to larger muscles. Thus, training them too frequently or too intensely can lead to overtraining and hinder growth. It’s essential to allow enough time for recovery and to mix up exercises and techniques to keep the muscles stimulated and promote growth.

By understanding the limitations of smaller muscle groups like the biceps and triceps, you can develop a more effective training plan to achieve your desired results.

2. Lower level of myofibrillar hypertrophy

Biceps and triceps are also slower-growing muscles due to their lower level of myofibrillar hypertrophy. Myofibrils are the contractile units within muscle fibres that generate force and cause muscle contractions. Hypertrophy refers to the increase in the size of these contractile units. Biceps and triceps have a lower level of myofibrillar hypertrophy compared to larger muscle groups like the back and legs.

For example, the back muscles have a higher level of myofibrillar hypertrophy due to their larger size and the fact that they contain a greater number of muscle fibres. This means that these muscles have a greater capacity for growth and development. However, that does not mean that biceps and triceps cannot grow. By implementing exercises that target these muscles effectively and using progressive overload, you can still achieve significant growth over time.

Slow negatives, partial reps, and other techniques can help stimulate growth in the biceps and triceps, allowing you to achieve your desired results with consistent effort and dedication.

3. Overtraining 

Overtraining is another reason why biceps and triceps may grow slowly. Training these muscles too frequently or too intensely can lead to overtraining, which can hinder growth and even lead to injury. Biceps and triceps are smaller muscles that can fatigue quickly, so it’s important to give them adequate rest and recovery time between workouts.

Overtraining can also affect larger muscle groups such as the back or legs, which can indirectly impact the growth of biceps and triceps. For example, if you train your back muscles too frequently, it can lead to fatigue and reduced performance in bicep exercises that rely on the back muscles as secondary muscles, such as pull-ups or rows.

It’s essential to listen to your body and give your muscles enough time to recover after a workout. Varying your workout routine and including rest days can also help prevent overtraining and allow for optimal growth and development in your biceps and triceps.

4. Lacking contraction

Lacking proper contraction is another reason why biceps and triceps may grow slowly. When performing exercises that target these muscles, it’s important to focus on proper form and ensure that you are engaging the muscles properly. Failure to contract these muscles effectively during exercises can limit their activation and reduce the effectiveness of the workout.

For example, during bicep curls, it’s important to keep the elbow stationary and focus on contracting the biceps to lift the weight. On the other hand, when performing tricep extensions, it’s essential to keep the upper arm stationary and engage the triceps to extend the arm. Ineffective muscle contraction can lead to compensations from other muscles, reducing the load on the targeted muscle and limiting growth.

By focusing on proper form and engaging the targeted muscles effectively, you can promote optimal growth and development in your biceps and triceps. It may also be helpful to incorporate exercises that target the mind-muscle connection, such as isometric holds or slow, controlled reps, to improve contraction and stimulate growth in these muscles.

5. Same old exercises?

Doing the same exercises repeatedly can also contribute to slow growth in your biceps and triceps. Our muscles adapt to the same movements over time, reducing the stimulus for growth. It’s essential to mix up your workout routine and incorporate a variety of exercises to target these muscles effectively.

If you always perform standard bicep curls with a full range of motion, you can switch it up by adding slow concentric reps or partial reps. Slow concentric reps involve lifting the weight slowly, focusing on engaging the muscle throughout the movement. Partial reps involve lifting the weight only through a portion of the range of motion. These techniques can help stimulate growth and provide a new stimulus for the muscle.

It’s also important to include exercises that target different angles and muscle fibres within the biceps and triceps, such as hammer curls or skull crushers, to promote balanced growth. By varying your exercises and techniques, you can challenge your muscles and get the most out of your workouts.

6. Poor diet and hydration

All muscles require proper nutrition to support growth and recovery after workouts. For example, protein is essential for muscle growth, as it provides the building blocks for muscle tissue. Without sufficient protein in your diet, your muscles may struggle to repair and rebuild after a workout.

Similarly, carbohydrates are important for providing energy during workouts, and inadequate carbohydrate intake can lead to reduced performance and growth. In addition to nutrition, hydration is also crucial for muscle growth. Proper hydration supports nutrient delivery to the muscles and helps remove waste products that can hinder growth. Without adequate hydration, muscles may become dehydrated, reducing their ability to contract effectively and limiting growth.

To support optimal growth and development in your biceps and triceps, it’s important to maintain a well-rounded diet that includes sufficient protein and carbohydrates, as well as staying adequately hydrated.

Speaking to a nutritionist or dietician can help you create an individualized plan to meet your goals and ensure that you are getting all the nutrients needed for muscle growth. In addition, drinking plenty of water throughout the day is essential for optimizing hydration levels. Keeping your body fueled and hydrated will support optimal growth in your biceps and triceps and allow you to make the most of your workouts.

Related: Are Dips Effective For Building Triceps?

7. Genetics

Genetics can also play a role in how quickly your biceps and triceps grow. Some people may have a genetic predisposition to developing larger muscles, while others may struggle to see significant growth even with consistent training. For example, some people have a greater number of muscle fibres, which can allow for more significant hypertrophy in response to training.

Similarly, variations in hormone levels, such as testosterone, can also impact muscle growth. Genetics can also impact muscle insertion points, which can affect the overall shape and appearance of the muscle. For example, some people may have a higher bicep peak due to the way their muscles attach to the bones. While genetics may play a role in determining how quickly biceps and triceps grow, it’s important to remember that consistent training and proper nutrition can still help maximize growth potential.

By focusing on proper form, varying your exercises, and maintaining a balanced diet, you can support optimal growth and development in these muscles regardless of your genetic makeup.

8. Compound movements

Biceps and triceps are typically considered “assistance” muscles, meaning they are often worked in conjunction with larger muscle groups during compound movements. These movements involve multiple muscle groups and joints, such as squats or deadlifts, and can stimulate greater overall muscle growth compared to isolated exercises. When you neglect compound movements in your workout routine, you may not be providing enough overall stimulus to promote significant growth in your biceps and triceps.

Exercises such as pull-ups or chin-ups engage the biceps as a secondary muscle group, while exercises such as bench press or overhead press engage the triceps. These exercises provide a significant amount of overall stimulus to the muscles, promoting greater growth potential.

By incorporating compound movements into your workout routine, you can ensure that you are targeting all of the major muscle groups in your body and promoting overall muscle growth, which can help support growth and development in your biceps and triceps.

9. Not using progressive overload

Progressive overload is a principle of strength training that involves gradually increasing the demands placed on the muscles over time. When you consistently lift the same weight or perform the same number of repetitions in your workouts, your muscles may not experience enough overall stimulus to promote significant growth. This is because the body adapts to the stimulus placed on it, and without an increase in demands, the muscles will not continue to grow.

By utilizing progressive overload techniques, such as increasing weight, reps, or sets over time, you can continue to challenge your muscles and promote growth. For example, if you perform bicep curls with 20-pound dumbbells for three sets of 10 reps, you can gradually increase the weight to 25 pounds or perform four sets of 10 reps to continue challenging your muscles.

Constantly pushing your muscles to their limit will enable them to grow and develop more powerfully, specifically in the bicep and triceps regions.

Why do biceps and triceps grow slowly?

10. Not enough rest and recovery

Rest and recovery are essential components of any workout routine, as they allow the body time to repair and rebuild muscle tissue following exercise. When you don’t get enough rest and recovery, your muscles may not have enough time to fully recover between workouts, which can impact their ability to grow and develop.

If you perform bicep curls every day without giving your muscles time to rest and recover, you may experience muscle fatigue and potential injury, which can slow down your overall progress. Similarly, if you perform high-intensity workouts without adequate rest periods, you may not be allowing your muscles enough time to recover and rebuild.

By incorporating rest days into your workout routine and ensuring that you are getting enough sleep, you can provide your muscles with the time they need to repair and rebuild, which can support growth and development in your biceps and triceps. Additionally, taking rest days can help prevent overuse injuries and promote overall workout performance.

11. Poor form

Maintaining proper form is crucial when performing bicep and tricep exercises, as poor form can limit the effectiveness of the exercise and even lead to potential injury. Some common form issues include swinging the weight, using momentum to complete the movement, and not fully extending or contracting the muscle.

When performing bicep curls, swinging the weight and using momentum to complete the movement can take the focus away from the bicep and place it on other muscles, such as the shoulders or back. Similarly, not fully extending or contracting the bicep can limit its overall range of motion and prevent it from experiencing enough tension to promote growth.

Additionally, poor form can also lead to potential injuries, such as strain or tear in the muscle. By focusing on maintaining proper form and utilising lighter weights if necessary, you can ensure that you are effectively targeting the biceps and triceps and promoting growth without risking injury. Proper form includes maintaining a stable posture, using slow and controlled movements, and fully extending and contracting the muscle during each repetition.

Related: Why Are My Forearms Wider Than My Biceps?


Why are my biceps growing slow?

There can be several reasons why your biceps are growing slowly. Some common factors include not using progressive overload, poor diet and hydration, lack of rest and recovery, overtraining, lack of contraction during exercise, and genetics. Additionally, not incorporating compound movements and only doing the same exercises repeatedly can limit overall muscle growth. It’s important to evaluate your workout routine, nutrition, and rest habits to determine potential areas for improvement. By addressing these factors and incorporating proper exercise techniques, you can support the growth and development of your biceps.

Why do triceps grow faster than biceps?

Triceps can often grow faster than biceps due to their larger muscle size and involvement in compound movements such as bench presses and push-ups. The triceps are composed of three heads, which provide stability and support during these exercises. Additionally, tricep exercises such as tricep extensions and dips can effectively target and promote growth in the muscle. On the other hand, the biceps are a smaller muscle group and can be more challenging to effectively target, especially without incorporating proper techniques and exercises. However, with proper training and attention to form, both muscle groups can be developed and strengthened effectively.

Why are biceps so hard to grow?

Biceps are notoriously hard to grow because they are a small muscle group that is heavily used in many upper body exercises, meaning they are often overtrained. Additionally, genetics play a large role in determining the shape and size of biceps, and some individuals may simply not have the genetic predisposition for large, well-defined biceps. Proper form and progressive overload are essential for bicep growth, as well as a variety of exercises that target the muscle from different angles. Adequate nutrition and rest are also critical for muscle growth, as the biceps need time to recover and repair between workouts.

How do you trigger biceps growth?

To trigger biceps growth, you need to stimulate the muscle with enough tension and overload during your workouts. This can be achieved through exercises that target the biceps, such as bicep curls, hammer curls, chin-ups, and rows. It’s important to vary the exercises and use proper form to target the biceps from different angles. Additionally, gradually increasing the weight or reps over time, also known as progressive overload, is important to continually challenge and stimulate the muscle. Adequate nutrition, including enough protein and calories, is essential for muscle growth, as well as sufficient rest and recovery time between workouts.

Why am I getting stronger but not bigger?

It is possible to get stronger without getting bigger because strength and muscle size do not always have a direct correlation. Strength gains can be a result of neural adaptations, such as improved motor unit recruitment and coordination, as well as improved muscle fibre efficiency. Additionally, other factors such as exercise selection, form, and intensity can also impact strength gains without necessarily leading to muscle hypertrophy. If you want to get bigger, you may need to focus on progressive overload, including increasing the weight or reps and eating in a caloric surplus to support muscle growth.

Final thoughts…

By utilizing these tips and strategies, you can continue to challenge your biceps and triceps and promote growth. Additionally, it is important to remember that consistent effort over time is necessary for achieving desired results…so make sure to stay disciplined with your workouts and track your progress!

With the right knowledge and dedication, you will be on your way to building stronger and more powerful biceps and triceps.

Are your biceps and triceps slow to grow and have these tips helped? Let me know in the comments below!

If you enjoy sport and use CBD to help with your recovery in between gruelling workouts, then you are in the right place. Here at Sport CBDs, we train hard and recover the best way possible…

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Until next time, all the best…

Beginners Upper Body Kettlebell Workout


Founder – Sport CBDs

Featured Image AttributionImage by KamranAydinov on Freepik

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