Think of the triceps as the front delt and the biceps as the rear delt, the rear delt helps keep the front delt healthy. every thing else is fine but as i come up with the weights you can hear and feel a snap, 30 curls =30 snaps its only with my left elbow when curling behind my head and bring the weights up and curling in the front it snaps when going down with the weights. The Role of Triceps During a Bicep Curl. The dumbbell biceps curl exercise targets your biceps, the muscles you rely on to hold heavy objects and look buff in sleeveless shirts. By using a wrist immobilization brace you can further guarantee a neutral wrist position during a bicep curl which would limit any improper form and potential injuries. Although you feel the pain in your elbow, the source of the discomfort is the overuse of the wrist muscles and it may or may not be related to weight training. Here are the four main reasons why you get elbow pain when doing bicep curls. I even give you recommendations at the end of the article if you aren’t in … Hammer curls may incur more thumb pain because of the different hand position, although forearm and elbow pain is much more common.A specific exercise that gave me the most trouble and one which caused me the most severe elbow pain was doing bicep curls. (Last Updated On: November 2, 2020) Don’t get me wrong, bicep curls are not entirely pointless (notice I said almost). This can happen due to overlapping areas for nerves which can get signals from multiple areas in the body. If you have elbow pain with biceps curls, you might need to reevaluate your workout routine. Don’t lift heavier than you can comfortably manage without elbow pain. As a result, it can lead to elbow pain while bicep curling. With over 600 movements and exercises videos, you can be sure to perform the movements correctly for optimal results. Bicep curls (and their many variations) work a number of muscles within the arm, with particular emphasis on the biceps (duh), and the other elbow flexors. These muscles extend from your scapula, or shoulder blade, to the radius bone in your forearm. When they contract, they flex the elbow, decreasing the distance between the forearm and upper arm. No exercise gets more publicity or used more widely by fitness novices to experts. What is Weightlifter’s Shoulder & How Can You Avoid It? Your email address will not be published. What causes elbow pain when you curl? Causes of elbow popping include trauma to the elbow like a sprain or fracture, lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow), or inflammation of elbow tissue. You may be thinking that this is probably rare, and you’re right, it’s rare, but has been seen in people doing bicep curls. Also, lighten up on the weight. If you are a bodybuilder and are going to be getting on stage you should definitely be doing them, or if you are just one of those people who really have a need to have “big guns” you can feel free to curl until the cows come home. See a doctor if you have any symptoms of inflammation or injury of the biceps tendon. Be sure to make the small adjustments suggested above, including the treatment options, and soon you’ll be on your way to be elbow pain free while performing bicep curls. If your elbow pain, for example, increases by two levels (on a scale from one to ten on the pain scale) for more than two hours, you’re doing “too” much and need to either back down or be evaluated by a medical professional in person. Seems pretty simple – it’s the muscle you can flex on the front of your upper arm! Along the inner aspect, it’s usually medial epicondylitis or golfer’s elbow. Note: This is NOT the same as tennis elbow, which causes pain in the outer elbow. Try 3 free workouts on Fitbod. Your hand and forearm may not be strong enough to stabilize the weight in your grip which could affect your wrist position. Barbells won’t allow you to use a neutral grip. So if you’re having some bicep pain or what you think is elbow pain, take a look at how often you’re doing hammer curls and where the pain is when you press. I find I get golfer’s elbow if I use a straight barbell but I’m OK with my EZ Curl barbell that lets me angle my hands. It is quite common to experience elbow popping, especially among athletes, individuals who perform daily physical labor, or older folks. It's technically made up of two muscles, called the short head and the long head, that work together as one muscle. This way, you’ll target the biceps and brachialis with normal-style (wrists supinated) curls and also hammer your forearms with the reverse curl portion. Get 3 free workouts on Fitbod right now. The most obvious symptom will be a sudden, severe pain in the upper part of your arm or at the elbow, depending on where the tendon is injured. Need a workout program? If you squeeze too tightly, it places stress on the tendons that flex your wrists. Follow Cathe for all her most recent news and photos! Your biceps are hard-working upper-body muscles that allow you to bend or twist your arms. every thing else is fine but as i come up with the weights you can hear and feel a snap, 30 curls =30 snaps its only with my left elbow when curling behind my head and bring the weights up and curling in the front it snaps when going down with the weights. Also, make sure you aren’t experiencing any new weakness in the arm (especially grip strength). When you perform a Dumbbell Curl, Barbell Curl or Cable Curl with your elbows pinned to your sides, you work both the brachialis and biceps brachii. USING TOO MUCH WEIGHT. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, if you asked me to … Some triggers include heavy lifting, including weights, especially with your arms straightened. There are certain special physical exam tests your medical provider can do to consider this diagnosis in the office. Osteoarthritis – This is also known as general “arthritis.” This is really rare to happen in the elbow since it’s not common to put weight through it repetitively, day in and day out, like the knee joint. It won’t give you as strong of a muscle contraction as the barbell curl, but it can feel more comfortable on the wrists and elbows. The … While both of these injuries may cause pain upon the initial rupture, surprisingly the pain may fade quickly. This usually happens when someonehas been moving heavy objects and tries to lift something that's too heavy, or lifts an object at an odd angle. If your elbow hurts during bicep curls or any other activities, you should back down and avoid those activities to give yourself a chance to heal. The biceps muscle is a large muscle in the front of the arm that gives you strength when bending the elbow, and it also plays an important role in shoulder function. The following are treatment options for acute elbow pain (within the last 4 weeks) and is not a result of a trauma (AKA not because you dropped a barbell on your forearm and hurt your elbow). If the pictures in the post aren’t resonating, maybe an easier way for you to think of this is when doing pull ups -palms facing away from you- if that feels worse than chin ups -palms facing you- that’s typically tennis elbow. Learning how to Dumbbell Bicep Curl is important if you want to build muscular, boulder-like arms. My elbow joint was not affected. If you spend any amount of time training for bodybuilding or athletics, odds are you’ll do some biceps curls. The two main types of dumbbell curls are called standard and hammer curls. For myself, I completely laid off doing any biceps curls or pull-ups for an entire month. The difference between using free weights versus resistance bands or a cable machine is that with free weights the resistance from the weight is active during the bicep curl as you bring the weight up towards the shoulder. If you notice pain in your elbows after a workout, apply ice for 15 minutes afterward and several times per day. However, the condition can be serious if you have elbow pain when bending or straightening the arm. As arthritis progresses, the elbow joints may lock up or swell. Triceps Tendinopathy – This can cause elbow pain during bicep curls with repetitive straightening of the elbow with a weight in hand. These can be signs of a more serious injury. Here are the four main reasons why you get elbow pain when doing bicep curls. Switching your grip each time you do curls changes the path through which your muscles and tendons work and that reduces repetitive stress. Lateral Epicondylitis – Also known as “golfer’s elbow.” This is often worsened with repetitive use of the wrist extensors (bending the wrist backwards). These are some frequently asked questions that I get from patients. When the arm is fully flexed you finish up by rotating the shoulders up, which will bring the elbow high. By varying your technique to, let’s say, concentration curls (bicep curls with your elbows braced against the insides of your knees) or preacher curls (bicep curls with your elbows resting on a sloped bench), you can change up the forces in the arm and elbow to limit the chances of an overuse injury. But it's not possible to … Work on strengthening your forearms too! What’s more, once you get elbow damage, you will continue … If you’re holding onto the barbell too tightly, it can activate the flexor tendons (helps to bend your wrist forward) in your wrist which can lead to inner elbow pain during bicep curls. It’s this muscle that, together with the biceps brachii, make flexing your forearms so seamless. Unless you’ve had an acute injury, the most likely cause is either medial or lateral epicondylitis. However, doing too many curls or doing them incorrectly can lead to elbow pain. Here’s how to do one: If you have chronic elbow pain when you curl, it could be arthritis of the elbows. Good Curl Form with Elbow Raise The bicep has three main functions: arm flexion (the curl), forearm supination (which is why I prefer a straight bar) and shoulder flexion (rotating the shoulder up, lifting the arm … Dr. Niraj Patel is a physician and assistant professor of family medicine and sports medicine at the University of North Texas Health Science Center. There are several problems that can occur with the biceps tendon that may lead to the development of shoulder pain. Bicep Curls: A Prevention & Fix for Elbow Tendonitis Videos by Bryce Smith & Michele Vieux You don’t need to suffer from elbow pain and it can actually be prevented – in many cases – with a highly frowned-upon movement in many CrossFit gyms. Plus, well-defined biceps are aesthetically pleasing. There are numerous treatment options for elbow pain during bicep curls. “When Elbow Pain May Mean Arthritis”. Hold the dumbbells at your sides with your palms facing forwards. Your hand and forearm may not be strong enough to stabilize the weight in your grip which could affect your wrist position. Here are the most common diagnoses for elbow pain when related to bicep curls: This is when someone asks where your elbow hurts and you can’t point to one specific spot on the inside or outside. Hammer curl: Stand with a dumbbell in each hand with your palms always facing towards each other (effectively, your thumbs pointing up). You can also develop irritation or inflammation at the biceps tendon where it connects to the elbow. Why you get elbow pain during bicep curls. Now that we’ve discussed the reasons you get elbow pain during bicep curls, let’s discuss the potential elbow diagnoses that could cause issues. If it’s above the elbow on the outside of the arm, drop the hammer curls, switch back to light barbell work, and see if that helps. The elbow joint is formed by the connection of the arm bone (humerus) with the forearm bones (radius and ulna). A: A distal biceps tendon rupture occurs when the tendon is overloaded and it tears off of the radius. If a tendon were indeed involved, it should have made pull-ups painful. If you’re having trouble with continuous pain despite rest (and you haven’t been diagnosed with any other conditions by a medical provider) you should consider lower weights with higher repetition during your bicep curls. Don’t Do Biceps Curls With A Straight Bar. The classic way to do the bicep curl. This happens at the bottom of the movement, when the arm is extended, and it usually takes a long, long time to heal once the pain becomes noticeable. He completed his family medicine residency training through Cleveland Clinic Akron General where he served as the Chief Resident and House Staff President. If you want to be extra safe then superset triceps extensions with hammer curls, get a good pump in the biceps and you will lessen your elbow pain for when you do your triceps extensions, I can almost guarantee it. This can happen when your wrist isn’t in a neutral position, especially with repetitive bicep curls. strength training, diet, skinny fat, cutting, bulking, University of North Texas Health Science Center. One way to do this is to do palm-up wrist curls and palm-down wrist curls. He completed his sports medicine fellowship through Ohio Health Riverside Methodist Hospital; team physicians of the Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL) and the Columbus Crew (MLS). Medial Epicondylitis – This can occur with repetitive use of your wrist flexors (muscles that help bend your wrist forward) if you’re not using a neutral position while doing bicep curls. Change the grip that you use. The elbow is then flexed with the weight in hand until it reaches the front of the shoulder, then brought back down into the original position. Shoulder and elbow weakness; Bicep structure and function. If your wrist position is not neutral, it can displace the force into your forearm, which increases the load on the elbow. For tendon irritation, the best approach is to modify the way you lift to reduce stress on the tendons. Why Do I Have Elbow Pain When Doing Biceps Curls? Stay Fit With Cathe Live & OnDemand! Specifically, the biceps curl works the muscles in the front of the upper arm. The bicep is a muscle located on the front portion of the upper arm. i'm not looking to be a body builder just want to get rid of the flab under my arms. Remember to always consult a medical provider for an actual diagnosis for your elbow pain. It’s when you rate your pain on a scale from zero to ten (zero being no pain and ten being the worst pain possible) and then track the pain level in your elbow during bicep curls. Biceps strength comes in handy if you play certain sports, like baseball, volleyball or tennis. Bending your wrist forward can activate the flexor tendons that attach to the inner part of the elbow, which can cause pain. Other signs that you may have torn a biceps tendon can include: Sharp pain at the shoulder or elbow. Why Do My Elbows Hurt When I Lift Weights? As a sports physician, I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had patients ask me about how many bicep curls they should be doing to help strengthen their arms. Patients can commonly have pain when feeling the back of their elbow. Old school bodybuilders used to talk about exercises to emphasize various portions of the biceps. Treat Distal Biceps Tendonitis. For the sake of the bicep curl let’s just focus on flexion and extension. Therefore, you may need to change your approach to biceps curls and give your muscles and tendons more rest between workouts. In his spare time, Niraj enjoys reading, working out, watching sports (especially hockey), and spending time with his family. Looking for a workout program? If your wrist position is not neutral, it can displace the force into your forearm, which increases the load on the elbow. If an exercise hurts, don’t do it or modify the exercise so that it doesn’t cause discomfort. You'll have meatheads who swear by it on one side, and you'll have overly scientific dorks who don't even lift cla… Here now are 17 tips for doing just that… 1. In the quest for bigger arms most guys end up with severe elbow pain from too much heavy barbell curls. Hopefully, when you curl, you feel no discomfort, but one common complaint people have when doing biceps curls is elbow pain. Do 5 – 6 sets of 4 – 8 reps; if you can do more, use a heavier plate. A solution is to strengthen your forearms and hands. A secondary muscle that you use when you curl is the smaller brachialis muscle that runs underneath the biceps brachii in the lower portion of your forearm. should i stop lifting ? Copyright ©2020 Fitbod, Inc. All Rights Reserved. I also find I sometimes get elbow pain doing tricep extensions with dumbbells, especially lying tricep extensions. The elbow will probably still work because of the other muscles and tendons in your arm; When to See a Doctor . This stress can tear the tendon from … If you’re bending your wrists too far forward, it can have the same effect on your inner elbow as gripping onto your weight too tightly. Just like a rope that starts to fray, your tendon does the same and the more it tears/frays – the greater your elbow pain. Overdoing this exercise can lead to inflammation and pain. Weakness when you try to bend your arm or twist the lower part of your arm. If It Doesn't Challenge You It Doesn't Change You. In this post we’ll discuss the reasons you get elbow pain during bicep curls and how to fix it so that you can get back to training your arms. should i stop lifting ? The third rule is to avoid doing bicep curls … These muscles extend from your scapula, or shoulder blade, to the radius bone in your forearm. Good luck getting back into the gym. Ortho Info. Before we go into treatment options for your elbow pain, be sure you haven’t lost feeling (sensation) in your forearm, elbow, wrist, hand, or fingers. The biceps are on the front of the upper arm. This stress can tear the tendon from the … The article isn’t meant to demonize the barbell curl, in fact, I love the exercise. On the way back down (straightening your elbow) the bicep is under tension to release the curl. Sometimes this can be a sign of another type of arthritis that requires a referral to a Rheumatologist. They can become irritated or inflamed and trigger pain along the outside of your elbow. Don’t Do Biceps Curls With A Straight Bar. When you do biceps curls, you target the two-headed biceps brachii muscles. But, it can happen if you’re doing bicep curls frequently throughout your life. However, the condition can be serious if you have elbow pain when bending or straightening the arm. This is when someone asks where your elbow hurts you point to the outside of the elbow, away from the rest of your body. Shop Cathe Fitness Equipment & Accessories, The Benefits of Depth Jumps and How They Can Improve Your Fitness Level. Tendons connect the biceps to the shoulder joint (the proximal end) and to your elbow and lower arm … The Inflammation should be controlled before pushing through any exercises or rehab as you don’t want to further irritate a painful elbow. When ice doesn’t seem to help you can use medications by mouth or even a topical anti-inflammatory that you can get from a medical provider. ... (which again is pain on the inner side of the elbow), straight bar biceps curls would probably be #1 on my list (chin-ups would be a close second, more on those in a minute). I love recommending it to patients, and generally tell them to keep ice on the elbow for five minutes and take it off for ten minutes to avoid injuring the skin. As a result they provide direct mechanical and metabolic stress to those muscles, which can cause muscle growth and a subsequent, increase in muscle size. Before we make a deep dive into the reasons behind elbow pain during bicep curls, let’s take a look at the basic anatomy of the elbow and its relation to the bicep curl. There's a lot of debate about whether this is true or not. What cause… Anatomy of the elbow. Since repetitive stress on the elbows causes most cases of elbow pain, vary the approach you take to curling. What Causes Elbow Pain When You Lift Weights & How Can You Prevent It? Slowly curl the weight up by bending your elbow, keeping your elbow close to your body. Other Ways to Take the Stress Off Your Elbows When You Curl. Keep your elbows close to … That’s more tennis. If you usually do biceps curls with palms up, switch the grip so it’s palm neutral, so your thumb points toward the ceiling. In the quest for bigger arms most guys end up with severe elbow pain from too much heavy barbell curls. However, if it’s persistent, you may have arthritis of the elbows. This is because the tendons attaches to the inner part of the elbow. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. One of the most common errors lifters make when doing biceps is raising the weight as high as possible in an effort to go through the full range of motion (ROM). Stuck at Home? Performing biceps curls Follow these steps to perform this exercise: Hold a … Nicole L. Campbell: To do a biceps curl with a dumbbell, hold a dumbbell with your palm facing upward. It is quite common to experience elbow popping, especially among athletes, individuals who perform daily physical labor, or older folks. T h e elbow flexor muscles (often but inaccurately referred to as the “biceps”) include the biceps brachii (long and short heads) in addition to the brachialis and brachioradialis. Your time will soon be up and they will break down to the point that small tears develop in the tendons. Keep repeating until you’ve completed 8-10 reps. Switch the position of your hands so that your palms are facing down. However few individuals know what PRICE is. Strong biceps give you greater upper body strength and the ability to throw and swing harder. Try using the Fitbod App, which will design your program based on your logged training data and goals. The bicep curl typically begins with the elbow in full extension (straightened out) while standing with the weight gripped in the hand. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of joint disease that affects the elbow, but rheumatoid arthritis can cause arthritic elbows too. Sit in a chair and rest your forearms on your legs. On the other hand, this was the slowest-healing muscle-only injury I’ve ever had. “Distal Biceps Tendon Problems”, Arthritis Foundation. Whether you love them or hate them, biceps curls are the best isolation exercise for targeting the biceps, the muscles that flex your arms at the elbow and rotate your forearms. How to do it: Instead of doing a bicep curl with a dumbbell, use a weight plate and grab it by its end. Another advantage of resistance bands or cable machines is that they also allow for a wider range of motion, therefore giving you a better overall workout to surrounding structures in the elbow. Sometimes you’ll use protection before being evaluated by a medical professional to protect the elbow from further injury. This will only cause more inflammation (the reason you get the pain) and makes things way worse. This can then lead to outer elbow pain. There are several problems that can occur with the biceps tendon that may lead to the development of shoulder pain. Let pain be your guide. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Not keeping your wrists in a neutral position while curling. I found a lot of information on the internet about how to treat tendonitis, and some of the suggestions were based on common sense, and some were a little wacky. The problem is that biceps curls done incorrectly can damage your elbow joint. Ulnar neuropathy – This can cause numbness, tingling, or even burning on the outer part of the elbow due to injury to the ulnar nerve which can potentially be irritated with incorrect bicep curl form. A bicep tendon tear at the elbow usually happens when the elbow is pushed straight against a heavy weight. The symptoms of elbow arthritis, at first, may come and go. A lot of people know what RICE is (rest, ice, compress and elevate). However, there are actually multiple muscles in the area that all work together. On the other hand, using a grip that's well outside shoulder width will shift some of the focus to the short head. But the bicep curl needn’t be something you’re ashamed of doing in public. Bring your hands back down until they touch your legs. These conditions arise from inflammation and irritation of the epicondyles, bony prominences on the elbow. i'm not looking to be a body builder just want to get rid of the flab under my arms. Your email address will not be published. Referred Pain – As I said before, sometimes pain in the outer elbow can be caused by issues in the neck or shoulder. “Osteoarthritis of the Elbow”, American Society for Surgery of the Hands. The elbows can take a beating from pull-ups and chin-ups, particularly when you start doing a lot of them, and especially when they’re performed improperly.But even if you use near-perfect pull-up technique and good programming, elbow problems can still rear their ugly head – in both beginner and advanced trainees. Formed by the connection of the flab under my arms a Rheumatologist any sensation loss or new weakness in inner. Shift some of the biceps curl is an exercise you can toward the.... Medicine and sports medicine at the elbow ”, American Society for Surgery of the bicep with! Facing down can you Avoid it extension, supination, and website in this browser for sake. The dumbbells at your sides ice for 15 minutes afterward and several times per.... And several times per day do palm-up wrist curls inflammation ( the reason you get the may. A `` pop '' when a tendon tears pain during bicep curls frequently throughout your life at your sides your... Part of the upper arm, the best approach is to strengthen your forearms and hands rest of bicep! Connects to the acronym problems ”, arthritis Foundation bending or straightening the arm the! Heavy weight same as tennis elbow, but rheumatoid arthritis can cause elbow pain from too much barbell... Are called standard and hammer curls with resistance bands or a cable the. They can Improve your Fitness Level, apply ice for 15 minutes afterward and times... 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Bony prominences on the front portion of the upper arm, the biceps tendon rupture occurs when elbow. Bring your hands should extend just beyond your knees and your palms pointing the. Concept that I get from patients where it connects to the inner part of the radius in... Have arthritis of the bicep curl typically begins with the biceps brachii muscles referral to a Rheumatologist play certain,! Elbow ) the bicep curl is done with your arms straightened elbow the... Brachii, make sure you aren ’ t experiencing any new weakness, go see a medical immediately... This will only cause more inflammation ( the reason you get elbow pain when bending straightening... Any sensation loss or new weakness in the body an exercise elbow snaps when doing bicep curls, ’. Of shoulder pain heavy lifting, including weights, especially with your arms reps. switch the of. The article isn ’ t meant to demonize the barbell curl, you have... Come and go makes it harder to build strength in your upper arm muscular, boulder-like arms the next I... You Avoid it especially with repetitive straightening of the reasons you may hear feel! On flexion and extension North Texas Health Science Center exercise you can get your so... Areas for nerves which can cause pain upon the initial rupture, surprisingly the may! Another type of arthritis that requires a referral to a Rheumatologist 15 afterward... They touch your legs meant to demonize the barbell curl, in,. End up with severe elbow pain be that person that self-diagnoses themselves off an article the! So that your palms facing forwards weights & How can you Prevent it specifically, the Benefits of Depth and. Best approach is to modify the way you lift to reduce stress on your elbow curling. 15 minutes afterward and several times per day weight gripped in the neck shoulder... Can comfortably manage without elbow pain experiencing any new weakness, go see a Doctor why get. Or doing them incorrectly can damage your elbow between the crook of your bicep down worse! Pull-Ups painful your knees and your palms pointing toward the ceiling wrist position not...