T Nation

Anyone Have a Biceps Tear?

I suffered a right distal biceps tear on Christmas eve and had surgery to reattach it on January 2nd. The surgeon said that I should be able to return to powerlifting with no restrictions after around 4 months, but I probably won’t be back to my previous strength levels for around a year.

The mental part has been very difficult. I was doing the 5/3/1 program and I was the strongest I had ever been. Now I’ve lost 20lbs of muscle in just 3 weeks and can’t touch a weight for months. I like to think that I’ll be stronger than ever when I come back, but I have my doubts.

I was wondering if there was anyone out there who has had this type of injury and surgery and what their experiences have been. Any advice on getting through this?

[quote]mkrozewicz wrote:
I suffered a right distal biceps tear on Christmas eve and had surgery to reattach it on January 2nd. The surgeon said that I should be able to return to powerlifting with no restrictions after around 4 months, but I probably won’t be back to my previous strength levels for around a year.

The mental part has been very difficult. I was doing the 5/3/1 program and I was the strongest I had ever been. Now I’ve lost 20lbs of muscle in just 3 weeks and can’t touch a weight for months. I like to think that I’ll be stronger than ever when I come back, but I have my doubts.

I was wondering if there was anyone out there who has had this type of injury and surgery and what their experiences have been. Any advice on getting through this?[/quote]

First off, get to the gym, today! You can still train, and you can still train hard. My partner tore his right bicep close to 7 months ago, and I’d say he is already near 100% returned. What type of surgery did you have to repair it, that is a really big deal!

Hammer your weak points, probably low back, abs and hamstrings like most of us. Squat your ass off, get a SSB bar if you can. If it’s already been a month, I would start doing very light weights with your repaired arm. Do unilateral stuff, my partner would use his normal weights on the good arm and then just as heavy as he could without pain on the rehab arm. Keep eating, work on your conditioning. Sorry to hear about that, but keep your head up and get back to training! You can recover way faster than what the docs are telling you.

Monopoly

Thanks for your comments. The bicep was reattached with a metal anchor through a hole drilled into the bone. I’m wearing a huge metal brace that locks my arm at 30 degrees. The doctor said that I need to wait about 12 weeks before using any kind of weighted resistance or I risk popping the anchor and I’m not willing to take that chance and go through all of this again.

I have a SSB at home, but it’s too hard to load with one arm. I’m doing band GM’s, 45 degree hypers, band leg curls, and split squats for the time being. We’ll see how it goes.

[quote]mkrozewicz wrote:
Thanks for your comments. The bicep was reattached with a metal anchor through a hole drilled into the bone. I’m wearing a huge metal brace that locks my arm at 30 degrees. The doctor said that I need to wait about 12 weeks before using any kind of weighted resistance or I risk popping the anchor and I’m not willing to take that chance and go through all of this again.

I have a SSB at home, but it’s too hard to load with one arm. I’m doing band GM’s, 45 degree hypers, band leg curls, and split squats for the time being. We’ll see how it goes.[/quote]

That is the operation you wanted to have, good for you. From what I have read, that attachment is stronger than our given one, you are now the bionic man :slight_smile:

I’m not a doctor, but I would seriously look into ditching that brace. Your rehab is going to take soooo much longer. Dr’s play things on the SAFE side. I already told you about my partner. I have another friend who tore his water skiing. He had the brace and did the Dr’s suggested rehab. It’s been close to 2 years now and he’s still having problems with it.

In the end, it really boils down to you. How much weight do you want to lose, and how long do you want your rehab to last?

Monopoly

Been there done that bro. I blew my right distal biceps tendon doing atlas stone prior to 5 friggin meets I had scheduled last heavy training day POP, Man got to love the sound of it. LOL

I agree get in the gym NOW. I actually hit a pressing PR the day after I did it just couldnt row for shit LOL, then had surgery and kept hitting it hard. One arm dead lifts, pressing with one arm, GM’s with a safety squat bar and squats the same. GHR, Reverse hyper, one arm farmers, Plyo work for speed anything you can think of. Nail the rest of your body like normal.

Mine was bad had to do the same as you but hey had to take an extra inch off the tendon as it was frayed to hell. I was in my cast 8 weeks, But got out of it and did a strongman comp like 6 weeks post cast ( not he smartest hitting in the world and I dint set any records but I did the whole thing completed every event and came in 10th over all.

Within 6 months I Deadlifted 650lbs in a meet, 8 months 675.

you can come back the hardest thing is dealing with possible limited supination, oh and getting full range of motion back, Then just getting the pressing stability and strength to come back. It takes time but youll be back and stronger and smarter mentally then ever.

I do suggest switching that hand to your over hand on the DL for at least the start, Mine will always be that hand now as the tendon stayed just that much shorter and tighter then the other.

Take plenty of fish oils and EAT UP as well try to not lose to much overall weight and dont be to pissed when your arm shrinks, mine came out about the size of my damn wrist but comes back fast just using it again in everyday life.

[quote]Phill wrote:
Good stuff
[/quote]

Holy crap, good to see you again Phill!!

[quote]NewDamage wrote:
Phill wrote:
Good stuff

Holy crap, good to see you again Phill!![/quote]

LOL, thanks bud Ive been droppin in from time to time now. Busy as heck with work, eating like a horse, getting ready for my next meet in 2.5 weeks, going to attempt 700DL come hell or high water for my third attempt.

[quote]Phill wrote:
Been there done that bro. I blew my right distal biceps tendon doing atlas stone prior to 5 friggin meets I had scheduled last heavy training day POP, Man got to love the sound of it. LOL

I agree get in the gym NOW. I actually hit a pressing PR the day after I did it just couldnt row for shit LOL, then had surgery and kept hitting it hard. One arm dead lifts, pressing with one arm, GM’s with a safety squat bar and squats the same. GHR, Reverse hyper, one arm farmers, Plyo work for speed anything you can think of. Nail the rest of your body like normal.

Mine was bad had to do the same as you but hey had to take an extra inch off the tendon as it was frayed to hell.

I was in my cast 8 weeks, But got out of it and did a strongman comp like 6 weeks post cast ( not he smartest hitting in the world and I dint set any records but I did the whole thing completed every event and came in 10th over all.

Within 6 months I Deadlifted 650lbs in a meet, 8 months 675.

you can come back the hardest thing is dealing with possible limited supination, oh and getting full range of motion back, Then just getting the pressing stability and strength to come back. It takes time but youll be back and stronger and smarter mentally then ever.

I do suggest switching that hand to your over hand on the DL for at least the start, Mine will always be that hand now as the tendon stayed just that much shorter and tighter then the other.

Take plenty of fish oils and EAT UP as well try to not lose to much overall weight and dont be to pissed when your arm shrinks, mine came out about the size of my damn wrist but comes back fast just using it again in everyday life.
[/quote]

I was wondering about one arm pressing or rowing. Wouldn’t that make it that much harder for the repaired arm to catch up? I don’t expect much supination to come back because mine was pretty shredded too. I was thinking about going to a double overhand hook grip.

[quote]mkrozewicz wrote:
I suffered a right distal biceps tear on Christmas eve and had surgery to reattach it on January 2nd. The surgeon said that I should be able to return to powerlifting with no restrictions after around 4 months, but I probably won’t be back to my previous strength levels for around a year.

The mental part has been very difficult. I was doing the 5/3/1 program and I was the strongest I had ever been. Now I’ve lost 20lbs of muscle in just 3 weeks and can’t touch a weight for months. I like to think that I’ll be stronger than ever when I come back, but I have my doubts.

I was wondering if there was anyone out there who has had this type of injury and surgery and what their experiences have been. Any advice on getting through this?[/quote]

I was back to pretty close to 100% at about 6 months.

[quote]mkrozewicz wrote:

I was wondering about one arm pressing or rowing. Wouldn’t that make it that much harder for the repaired arm to catch up? I don’t expect much supination to come back because mine was pretty shredded too. I was thinking about going to a double overhand hook grip.[/quote]

No id argue the opposite. Your body will seek balance dont stop training the other half of you. Keep getting stronger. They have evidence that just the use of the other non injured limb itself can help preserve strength and bring the other one back. A great deal of that is simply neural.

[quote]mkrozewicz wrote:
I suffered a right distal biceps tear on Christmas eve and had surgery to reattach it on January 2nd. The surgeon said that I should be able to return to powerlifting with no restrictions after around 4 months, but I probably won’t be back to my previous strength levels for around a year.

The mental part has been very difficult. I was doing the 5/3/1 program and I was the strongest I had ever been. Now I’ve lost 20lbs of muscle in just 3 weeks and can’t touch a weight for months. I like to think that I’ll be stronger than ever when I come back, but I have my doubts.

I was wondering if there was anyone out there who has had this type of injury and surgery and what their experiences have been. Any advice on getting through this?[/quote]

I ruptured my left distal biceps tendon in May of '05. I had surgery 3 days later and was in a cast for about 12 weeks. My Doctor said not to lift weights for another 4 fking months, but I started working out right after getting the final cast off. Long story short, after just a few months of training I had full ROM and strength back. It (my left arm) looked kind of funny for a while but now you can’t tell anything ever happened (except for two SWEET scars that make me look mean).

My advice (which is echoing what everyone else seems to be saying) is do SOMETHING while you recover. I just sat around and got fat and week and it took me almost 2 years to get back into “shape”.
Good luck

i had a similar experience with surgery to repair a SLAP tear in my right shoulder. i found that i wasn’t able to return to free weights for close to 6 months after the surgery, but i was able to do machines work about 3 months after the operation.

the one thing that killed me the most was i was in so much pain i barely was eating 1k calories per day… ugh, i ended up dropping from about 195 to 165 over the course of my rehab. it’s been almost two years now, and i’m finally back to 210 with my strength going up.

my advice is just try to be active through out the recovery and try to eat enough so you don’t lose too much muscle.

Thanks for all of the advice. I’ve gotten back into the gym and it feels good. I can feel the strength coming back quickly in my lower body.

At my last rehab appointment (4 weeks post surgey), they had me take my brace off and try some curls with no weight. I still can’t do a full curl on my own, but it’s getting there. I’ll try doing more with my left arm and see how it goes.

The therapist told me that the reason they’re playing it safe with me was because the surgeon (who invented this particular reattachment method) said he had never seen a bicep tendon that “shredded” and it would require a little extra time.

Anyway, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now and I’m confident that I’ll bounce back.

How old are you?

When I’m older and I get injured, I’ll probably just run a cycle to minimize muscle/strength loss. Plus, extra T cannot hurt for muscle repair.

Just sayin’.

Any threads on here about preventing a distal biceps tendon tear?

I pull over/under like most and use the trick of flexing the triceps of the supinated hand.

How do we prevent these tears when deadlifting?

Learn to pull hook grip. I tore mine in July, just the muscle belly, in a defensive tactics class. I never went to the doctor because I knew there wasn’t much they could do. It’s 100% again now. I just make sure to warm up well and do some soft tissue work and stretch my biceps.

[quote]blake b wrote:
Learn to pull hook grip. I tore mine in July, just the muscle belly, in a defensive tactics class. I never went to the doctor because I knew there wasn’t much they could do. It’s 100% again now. I just make sure to warm up well and do some soft tissue work and stretch my biceps. [/quote]

I used to pull hook grip. I can’t do it anymore now that my lifting heavier weight. I don’t know many guys who are very strong that lift with a hook grip.

I just had something similar happen, but I believe I only tore part of the tendon. I still have full ROM, but my stength seems to be shit (I haven’t tried lifting with weight at all) I was deadlifting with 545 (675 max, so relatively light). and on my second rep as i started tightening my arms for the lockout I felt popping, starting at the inside of my elbow and moving its way outward on my supinated left hand.

I spoke with a doctor today and he believes that with the amount of strain I put on that particular tendon I would probably have to have surgery to be able to reach full strength again. It’s kindof ironic that this happens right after I start getting smarter about the pressure I’m putting on my body and trying to go more high-rep to put on some muscle before what was going to be my next comp. Any thoughts or advice? This is my first injury of this type and any tips would be greatly appreciated. I figure that this will give me an excuse to get my squat absolutely ridiculous and end up with some tree trunks for legs.

[quote]blake b wrote:
Learn to pull hook grip. I tore mine in July, just the muscle belly, in a defensive tactics class. I never went to the doctor because I knew there wasn’t much they could do. It’s 100% again now. I just make sure to warm up well and do some soft tissue work and stretch my biceps. [/quote]

Hook grip as in both palms turned in? Would you really do that during a PL meet too or just training? Eeesh…I honestly don’t know if I can hold 300lbs that way without wraps. I recently experienced some bicep tendonitus and am trying to be really careful so i don’t have to come onto this thread and say, “Ohhh, can I play here? I tore my bicep too!”

Yes, with both palms turned in. I can go up to about 345 using a plain double overhand grip, no straps. Using a hook grip, I can go a little bit higher (405ish). My limiting factor in the hook grip is I have cubital tunnel syndrome in my right hand and. That is where the ring and pinky fingers are affected much the way carpal tunnel affects the whole hand. It is a nerve issue that has caused a loss of strength in those fingers.When I hook grip, those fingers just slip off and my forefinger and middle finger are the only ones supporting the weight. I believe Brad Gillingham pulls around 800# and he uses the hook grip. The hook grip is the grip OLer’s use when they are pulling heavy weights from the ground for the clean and jerk and the snatch. Once you get past the pain (after a couple of weeks), it feels like a very solid grip.