T Nation

Bicep Tear Prevention

Hi guys and gals

The past few months I’ve been doing many heavy rows with a bit looser form and my back has improved signifacntly.Now when I talk about loose form usually that’s how as bad as it will get

On top of that,since I wanna improve my forearms,I want to try adding wome arm wrestling stuff,which basically is top end curls

Do I run serious risk of tearing a bicep?
For those that had such experience,did you felt any discomfort or pain before it happened or it just did?
Any ways to prevent it(light curls ect)

My program at the moment looks like this:
Max effort upper variation or ohp for reps
Secondary press
Tricep extension
Heavy row or row for reps
Top end curls
Neck work
(I do rear delt work on the beginning of my workout and I might add some after my rows too from time to time)

Its pretty rare to see people tear biceps with an overhand grip. I don’t see where you would have an issue. Just make sure you’re using your back and not your biceps to move the weight. If you’re really concerned, you could always do two weeks of lighter rows and one week heavier. I usually do a few weeks of the 350 method with barbell rows and one week where I try and hit a too set of five with a couple of back down sets

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The first question should be “how do bicep tears occur?”

Once that is learned, the rest will follow.


My concern is with the arm wrestling stuff.For example is adding table curls after my rows dangerous in the regards of tearing a bicep?The reason I mentioned rows is to emphasize that my bis will already be a bit tired

Status-post distal biceps tendon rupture with surgical repair here. The warning sign (that I misinterpreted and therefore ignored) was chronic pain located deep under my brachioradialis muscle. I assumed–incorrectly–that the pain was forearm tendinitis of some sort. The moment the tendon ruptured (causing the same pain I’d been experiencing all along, x 100), I realized that I had been suffering from biceps insertion pain all that time.

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You are right on that one.Any articles or vids you can point me to would be great.Or if it’s too simple that you could explain it here it would be greater lol(I’m also googling it myself in the meanwhile too)

Gotcha. I don’t see the issue still so long as you properly warm up first. I wouldn’t start with any kind of in front of the body curls imo. Going too heavy too fast on those will pull shit in your bicep and fuck with your elbows (in my experience). After a good bit of rows I don’t see why you would tear anything. If you start feeling really fatigued in your joints or tendons especially where the bicep connects at the bottom, I would back off. And if size is the goal, weight isn’t really an issue. Just get in there and squeeze the shit out of your arms and forearms.

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What @EyeDentist said is what I was talking about with the tendons btw. Just watch out for that and do necessary prehab to avoid it.

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Gotcha (also realized i was writting gotcha wrong all this time)
Yeah I plan on going on the lighter side for at least a month before I lift anything below 8 reps

Sometimes I feel pain here,after I push extensions heavy for a long time,but whenI scale back it disappears(now I an more careful of the amount of heavy extensions I do btw).I guess it’s irrelevant to the bicep though

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I tore mine using a mixed grip (supinated on my injured arm) on high rep deads. I fortunately video taped it so my mistake was obvious. I bent my elbows on the last few reps. As far as any warning, there was none and virtually no pain, just something I would describe as a weird electrical or digital pulse up my arm and a sudden shot of nausea. Long story short, it was an incredibly stupid mistake, and I’ve never had an issue with rows before or since. I now use a hook grip on deads out of caution.

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If the only biceps/forearm work you do is those partial-ROM “top end curls”, then you’re allowing your biceps to be weak in the fully stretched position, which could predispose them to tears on bigger movements when the bis are working in that stretched position under heavy loads. Some full ROM work is always important in terms of structural health.


An internet diagnosis is about as reliable as a dure thing stock tip.

Get it looked at.

I had something similar. Thought for years it was carpal tunnel. As s chef, it happens.

Saw an ART guy and he fixed it in two sessions. Was just scar tissue from a childhood injury…

Did I mention to get it looked at?

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@stronkfak, that is an odd depiction of the anatomy. To my eye, it seems to be suggesting that the distal biceps tendon melds with the forearm flexors. I think that’s misleading. The insertion of the biceps tendon is on the radial tuberosity, as depicted here:

Here is a link to the orthopod website page on distal biceps tendon ruptures:

If you speak about the picture I posted,I haven’t had any pain in 3 months or so,and it wasn’t anything sharp either,so I letted it to the side.Is it even worth looking up a minor pain you didn’t have for months?

This is where a good program is key.

A world class arm wrestler from Quebec in the '80 used to swing from rings over his pool. Explained that it kept the ligaments healthy by “stretching” them.

Again, good program

Errr, yay.

Mine was about 30 years old.

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Very informative read,thanks @EyeDentist

You are probably right,better safe than sorry.I’ll look for a good orthopedic doctor around my area and have a visit in the next few weeks

I might even be able to do such exams for free at the hospital,so I’ll do my research

I have to respectfully disagree. I don’t think the biceps should ever be worked in the “fully stretched” position at the elbow (ie, with the arm ramrod straight). In this position, the distal biceps insertion is mechanically vulnerable in that a hard contraction of the biceps produces a significant shear force at the insertion, thereby putting it at risk for dis-insertion. You can see what I mean in the pic on the right:

@stronkfak, I just realized the pic you included was depicting (but failed to label) the bicipital aponeurosis. Mystery solved.

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