The biceps brachii, sometimes known simply as the biceps, is a skeletal muscle that is involved in the movement of the elbow and shoulder. It is a double-headed muscle, meaning that it has two points of origin or "heads" in the shoulder area. The short head of each biceps brachii originates at the top of the scapula (at the coracoid process). The long head originates just above the shoulder joint (at the supraglenoid tubercle). Both heads are joined at the elbow. The biceps brachii is a bi-articular muscle, which means that it helps control the motion of two different joints, the shoulder and the elbow. The function of the biceps at the elbow is essential to the function of the forearm in lifting. The function of the biceps brachii at the shoulder is less pronounced, playing minor roles in moving the arms forward, upward, and sideways. Although it is generally considered to be doubled headed, the biceps brachii is one of the most variable muscles in the human body. It is common for human biceps to have a third head originating at the humerus. As many as seven heads have been reported.
Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
In Depth: Biceps brachii