T Nation

Forearm Pain When Curling


Like the subject says, when I do bicep curls, specifically with a EZ-curl bar, I get cramping in my forearm which I feel is limiting my ability to add more weight to the bar. I get some burn in my biceps but, the cramping in my forearm is far more painful and usually is what limits my reps because I have to put the weight down and let my arm loosen up again and massage it a bit.

I've tried wider grip and close grip on the bar and both still lead to the cramping. I do weighted chin-ups and I don't get this kind of cramp.

Any explanation or tips would be greatly appreciated.


i have the same issue when i recently switched from dumbbell curls to ez bar curls

which is confusing because the ez curl bar is marketed as relieving wrist issues and making gripping the bar easier ? in me it's the exact opposite, i do feel it less in the biceps and my grip is constantly sliding around no matter how i orient my hands on the bar

and this results in my ez curl weight over 25% less than the combined weight of dumbbell curls


Have you tried a barbell with rotating handles? It's the only kind of barbell curl that doesn't hurt my wrists.


I've never used that type of bar. Although, I don't know if the gym I go to has one like that. I'll dig around.


Wrist wraps might help too or just get your forearms stronger.


How would a wrist wrap help in curling upward? I thought they're basically for helping grip when arms are dependent on mainly vertical lifts. ie. deadlifts, bent over rows, dumbell shugs.


yes i got that problem too, the last time i did curls/reverse curls with an ez curl bar, the outside of my forearms (from the elbow to the start of the little finger) was really really really painful, like soreness but 10 times the pain, it lasted a week and a half and i could barely push anything without pain, it wasn't painful at all tho while i was doing the exercise

i can still feel some pain (2+ weeks later now) but nothing major


I found that this happens to me when, after the set, I put the barbell back on the rack thats higher than waist level.

Instead i just leave the barbell on the ground in between sets. For some reason when I pick it up off the ground there is no strain on my forearms at all.


I used to get this...I actually felt a little pain the other day when I was doing bb curls.

I basically stopped doing curls when I originally had it because it hurt so much. You can lower the weight. I find curling isn't so much about the weight, but keeping the mucsles contracted throughout the set and having a slow controlled eccentric.

Dumbbell curls never gave me any forearm pain. Incline curls are a good exercise.

If it still hurts just give it a rest. You won't die if you don't curl and you can still build your arms through chin-ups/rows etc.


Yeah, it's weird. I do weighted chin ups, I'm up to an additional 30lbs. on a belt doing 3x8, and besides my arms being tired, they're not in any pain. Doing curls with an EZ bar, the pain in my forearms is so bad I have to fight with myself to finish the set or just put the weights down so that my arms will stop hurting.

Also, I put the bar on the floor between sets, not on a rack, so that wasn't my problem (to the above post).


Hey BoS, is the pain in the Brachioradialis you are talking about? In the picture where the palms are facing down, that is where I've been having a nagging pain for about a month now.

I think I injured myself doing preacher curl or some other type of bicep curl. I've been icing my forearm after each workout and it has helped somewhat, but I still have some discomfort there.

I thought the pain might be from bicep tendonitis, but after looking it up online, I found that I did not have those symptoms.


Used to have that. Pretty sure its caused by movement of your wrists when you curl.


its overly tight pronators in the forearm. place your hand on a table with finger tips pointing toward your body. use this position to stretch the pronators which will be on the inner forearm. while stretching, massage the inner forearm to maximize the amount the pronators are stretched. curls suck.


Yeah, curls are for pussies.


I know someone said wrist wraps. You can also use atheltic tape (pick this up anywhere.. walgreens, walmart). I like this more than wrist wraps, but it is mostly personal preference.


Well listen to your body - it is important and you will prevent many injuries. It is not giving you pain for no reason. Fighting through pain can often cause more inflammation and make things worse. Stay away from the bb/ez curls for a week or two and see if it makes any difference.


According to your pictures, I think that I'm experiencing the pain in the same area. During the curls this area gets really tight. It feels like my forearm is stiffening up a lot during the lift. I quickly set the weight down, rub my arms and the tight feeling goes away, but more or less, it's hard to focus on the bicep with this forearm cramping coming in to play. I guess I'll stick to improving my chin-up or see if my gym has that rotating handle curl bar. Like everyone is saying, that pain shouldn't really be that bad and I certainly don't need to screw up my arm more by messing with it.


Hi, first post so I searched for this problem as I too have been having it. Unlike most of the above who seem to have trouble with the EZ bar, mine is when doing db curls and for some reason it is only my right forearm.

From looking at the image above it is in the brachioradialis muscle but quite far down (just above where you would feel your wrist when trying to find your pulse), the pain is so bad I have to drop the db's 2-3 reps before my biceps are fully exhausted.


Hey guys...the worst thing you can do is to fight through "bad pain". Take a few days off or a week or two. I haven't lifted in like 3 weeks with possible golfers' elbow. Tendonitis in the elbow is serious if you let it go and try and work through the pain. Best to stretch and ice n stuff and get rid of the pain. Otherwise you could wind up with something more long term.

My pain is in the brach. in my left arm which is starting to go away. Hurts when i try and do pullups(but not chinups). My right arm hurts just under the elbow on the inside(which I think was Golfer's elbow). So take my advice, if there is pain that last beyond a few lifting sessions, TAKE CARE OF IT, before you are forced to take weeks off to nurse an injury.


Throw in some zottman and reverse curls to strengthen your weak spot. Also, throw in some stretching after you're done. Granted, don't do any of these things if the muscle is inflamed or irritated, step #1 is to let it recover.