Last updated on September 30th, 2022 at 01:50 pm
So, you want to know, “Why Are Biceps Called Guns?”
It seems like just about every other body part is simply referred to as an abbreviation of the actual word.
The trapezius muscle is referred to as traps, triceps are tris, quadriceps are quads, hamstrings are hammies, etc.
Okay, admittedly the legs are often called wheels, but I guess this is because the legs take you from A to B.
However, when it comes to calling the biceps guns it is somewhat a mystery.
So, allow me to explain the possible reasons why biceps are called guns.
Table of Contents
Why Are Biceps Called Guns?
In truth, there is no exact answer as to why biceps are called guns, but rather theories. The most common of these is that guns or weapons are referred to as armoury, and often arms too, e.g. take up arms. The New York Times also used a baseball analogy as far back as 1929. It was said that a player’s arm was his gun or his wing. Basically, the way in which a pitcher releases the ball is similar to a bullet being fired from a gun.
1. The Biceps Weapon Theory
As I’ve mentioned, there is no real exact answer to why biceps are referred to as guns.
In truth, it seems as though it was a saying that caught on and now we all use it, possibly without realising why.
So, in effect, you’ll only ever hear theories, as opposed to getting a straight answer.
With that being said, there is one theory which potentially makes a lot of sense.
This comes down to how guns and weaponry in general are referred to.
Guns are basically armoury, and they are frequently called arms.
Therefore, you could say that guns are called arms, and arms are called guns.
There are also many other sayings that appear to use “arms” when referring to weapons.
If someone has a gun they are armed.
If you go to war, you take up arms.
So, this theory means that there is no direct correlation between biceps and guns, but rather just a play on words.
2. The Biceps Baseball Theory
Another theory as to why biceps are called guns takes us all the way back to 1929.
In fact, many people view this as the original source and the actual reason biceps are guns.
An article written in the New York Times spoke about baseball, and more specifically pitchers.
The article stated, “A player’s arm is his gun or his wing. A good gun means that the possessor has a strong arm.
There are undoubtedly a number of reasons why a pitcher’s arm is referred to as his gun.
Firstly, he is “armed” with a baseball and getting ready to unleash it.
Secondly, this could also mean that the speed at which the pitcher releases and delivers the baseball is reminiscent of a bullet being fired from a gun.
Funnily enough, a baseball commentator actually used this analogy all the way back in 1911.
When referring to a particular player the commentator exclaimed, “He’s peggin’ ‘em baseballs down to second base like they was shot out a gun.”
So, once more, this has more to do with the speed and trajectory at which a baseball is being “fired” across the field.
3. The Biceps Cannonball Theory
The final theory is that a well-developed and rounded bicep looks similar to a cannonball.
With that being said, the same can also be said for your shoulders.
So, the term cannonball is often used interchangeably when referring to either biceps or shoulders.
The simple fact that biceps are frequently called cannonballs takes us back to the “weapon” and “armoury” theory once more.
Cannonballs are obviously fired from a cannon, which is of course a type of gun.
Personally, for me, I believe that the phrase is all about weaponry.
Plus, the fact that the words “arms” and “guns” can be used interchangeably and still have the same meaning.
Awesome Cannonball Biceps
4. Do You Want Bigger Guns?
As we’re on the subject of biceps and guns it’s only right that I introduce you to one of my favourite bicep specialization workout programs.
The program was created by bodybuilder Lee Hayward.
Lee actually claims that you can increase the size of your guns by up to 2 inches in 8 weeks.
Admittedly, I didn’t see this type of bicep growth in that time, although I think this has more to do with my nutrition than training.
However, I did experience some growth and definitely more definition.
What I also liked about Lee’s training system was that it didn’t specifically focus on performing biceps exercises alone.
It’s often said that to add one inch to your arms you need to put on approximately 10lbs in weight.
And of course, this is best achieved through compound exercises and eating at a calorie surplus.
In fact, who knew that the secret “weapon” to massive guns was squats, chin ups, and dips.
If you want to discover more make sure you check out my review of Lee’s workout program.
So, as you can see, there is no real answer, but rather theories, as to why biceps are called guns.
The most obvious of these is that guns and arms are typically used interchangeably.
So, as an example, a person may be bearing arms or they are armed if they carry a gun.
The weaponry theory can be extended to biceps frequently being referred to as cannonballs, based on their appearance.
Finally, there is a theory that “guns” first came about when describing baseball pitchers and the ferocity at which they released the baseball.
More Biceps Articles
Hi, I’m Partha, owner and founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I am a Level 3 Personal Trainer and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the Register of Exercise Professionals, United Kingdom. I have been a regular gym-goer since 2000 and coaching clients since 2012. My aim is to help you achieve your body composition goals.