Brachialis muscle

The brachialis (brachialis anticus) is a muscle in the upper arm that flexes the elbow joint. It lies deeper than the biceps brachii, and makes up part of the floor of the region known as the cubital fossa. The brachialis is the prime mover of elbow flexion. While the biceps brachii appears as a large anterior bulge on the arm and commands considerable interest among body builders, the brachialis underlying it actually generates about 50% more power and is thus the prime mover of elbow flexion.[1]

Deep muscles of the chest and front of the arm, with the boundaries of the axilla. (Brachialis visible at bottom right.)
Position of brachialis (shown in red).
Originanterior surface of the humerus, particularly the distal half of this bone
Insertioncoronoid process and the tuberosity of the ulna
Arteryradial recurrent artery, brachial artery
Nervemusculocutaneous nerve (C5-C7) and radial nerve (C5, C6)
Actionsflexion at elbow joint
Latinmusculus brachialis
Anatomical terms of muscle


The brachialis originates from the anterior surface of the distal half of the humerus,[1] near the insertion of the deltoid muscle, which it embraces by two angular processes. Its origin extends below to within 2.5 cm of the margin of the articular surface of the humerus at the elbow joint. Its fibers converge to a thick tendon, which is inserted into the tuberosity of the ulna[2] and the rough depression on the anterior surface of the coronoid process of the ulna.

Blood supply

The brachialis is supplied by the Muscular branches of brachial artery and the recurrent radial artery.[3]

Nerve supply

The brachialis muscle is innervated by the musculocutaneous nerve, which runs on its superficial surface, between it and the biceps brachii.[2] However, in 70-80% of people, the muscle has double innervation with the radial nerve (C5-T1). The divide between the two innervations is at the insertion of the deltoid.[4]


The muscle is occasionally doubled; additional slips to the supinator, pronator teres, biceps brachii, lacertus fibrosus, or radius are more rarely found. (A "slip" in this context refers to an accessory or variant part of a muscle that has an unusual trajectory in growth relative to the normal fibers' direction of growth.)


The brachialis flexes the arm at the elbow joint.[2] Unlike the biceps, the brachialis does not insert on the radius, and does not participate in pronation and supination of the forearm.[2]



The brachialis muscle[5] and brachial muscle[6] can be considered as the anglicized variant of the Latin expression musculus bracchialis.[7] In classical Latin bracchialis means of or belonging to the arm,[8] and is derived from classical Latin bracchium,"arm".[8] The expression musculus brachialis is used in the current official anatomic nomenclature Terminologia Anatomica.[9]

Additional images

See also


This article incorporates text in the public domain from page 444 of the 20th edition of Gray's Anatomy (1918)

  1. Saladin, Kenneth S, Stephen J. Sullivan, and Christina A. Gan. Anatomy & Physiology: The Unity of Form and Function. 2015. Print.
  2. Drake, Richard L.; Vogl, Wayne; Tibbitts, Adam W.M. Mitchell; illustrations by Richard; Richardson, Paul (2005). Gray's anatomy for students. Philadelphia: Elsevier/Churchill Livingstone. p. 662,672. ISBN 978-0-8089-2306-0.
  3. "Brachialis." UW Department of Radiology. University of Washington, Nov. 2005
  4. "Brachialis Muscle." Kenhub. Kenhub, Aug. 2001
  5. Dirckx, J.H. (Ed.) (1997).Stedman’s concise medical dictionary for the health professions. (3rd edition). Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins.
  6. Anderson, D.M. (2000). Dorland’s illustrated medical dictionary (29th edition). Philadelphia/London/Toronto/Montreal/Sydney/Tokyo: W.B. Saunders Company.
  7. Triepel, H. (1910). Die anatomischen Namen. Ihre Ableitung und Aussprache. Mit einem Anhang: Biographische Notizen.(Dritte Auflage). Wiesbaden: Verlag J.F. Bergmann.
  8. Lewis, C.T. & Short, C. (1879). A Latin dictionary founded on Andrews' edition of Freund's Latin dictionary. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  9. Federative Committee on Anatomical Terminology (FCAT) (1998). Terminologia Anatomica. Stuttgart: Thieme
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