T Nation

Pain in Biceps While Doing Pullups


Hey all:

Over the past two weeks I have been experiencing pain on the opposite side of my elbow where the bicep and forearm connect. Its a slightly sharp pain where I force myself to get through it.

I usually try to 50 - 75 total pullups at least three times a week, sometimes weighted (wherein the reps would be less) obviously that has been stopped. Today for instance I was doing rack pulls (no problem), Bent over rows (no problem), HS rows (no problem) but pullups (big problem). I got through'em but the pain is pretty bad and seems to be getting worse.

I am going to make an appointment with an orthopdedic this week but I am afraid of what they will say. Last time I went which was about 5 years ago the doc wanted to perform arthroscopic surgery because of a "SLAP Lesion." I said fuck it and didnt do it, and have had no problems since. Sometimes I believe surgeons are to quick to perform surgery, and quite frankly the fear of being out of commision for 6 weeks or moreis tough to take. The pain is starting to influence the weight I use during my chest routine as well.

Any help would be appreciated.



It looks to me like you are over-doing the pull-ups, likely causing an overuse injury to the tendons. I would back off on doing so many in a week.


I had a similar-sounding problem once (though I didn't manage quite that number of pull-ups!). When it didn't heal after I backed off, I eventually went to see a physio. She put me on a rehab program of lots of very very light curls, slowly increasing over about 10 weeks. It did the job. And it convinced me that it's worth seeing a professional, if you can find a good one.


It sounds like a tighr pronator teres muscle. When this tightens up it can cause a lot of radiant pain around the bicep aponeurosis. I wrote a thread in t cell about fascia you should check out.


Yeah I definitely have to see someone, I am gonna heed the advice and lay off the pullups all together for a week and go to the doc and hope rest is all I will need. I try to follow the Arnold credo of 50 pullups a workout....I try anyway...Thanks guys


Could you post the link?




Its funny that you mention calves in your post, I am a hard gainer in the calf area, its almost comical the size of my calves. So could you be saying while the pain is in my bicep it could be a totally unrelated part of my body? I appreciate the info thanks!


It could be elbow tendonitis also, I think. I recently had some considerable pain with that. Weighted pullups are one of my favorite workouts, and I've run into this problem twice in the last year. Both times I cut my pullups off after I noticed the "bad pain," and it went away. This link helped:


I know it's a climbing website, but if that's the injury that you have, that information on there is really valuable.


Interesting thanks!


Well I went to the Doc, and he concurred with the previous diagnosis of a SLAP lesion. He did some movements and a couple movements where the pain was severe he then concurred with the SLAP Lesion. I am not satisfied though, he did take an x-ray, but shouldnt an MRI be in order?

I did some research on the net and it seems that many people have Level 1 SLAP lesions, and there seems to be different levels. If it wasnt a big deal I wouldnt go to the doctor, aches and pains come with the territory. I am going back for physical therapy on Monday, but may also seek a second opinion.