T Nation

Shoulder/Bicep Issue

Hello to whoever is knowledgeable among you on this issue. I’ll try to make this short and sweet…

I swam competitively for most of my life, and I started lifting weights when I was only ten years old as part of my swim program. Around the age of 18, I became more interested in lifting for its aesthetic benefits, and I worked myself quickly into a state of overtraining. I overtrained to the point where I could not sleep more than 2 hours in a row without waking up; my calf muscles would frequently crap when I pushed off the walls; and my joints ached constantly unless I had a pump. During this state of overtraining, I completed a set of clean and jerks and felt something… shift in my shoulder. I never had a shoulder injury in all my years of swimming and lifting under my father’s tutelage, but after that I had a lot of trouble with that shoulder. After a significant amount of rest, I recuperated from overtraining, but the shoulder issue remained. I could still do pull-ups and bench press, but my bicep seemed like it was really easy to damage. For example, if I pulled too hard while I was in the water, or someone grabbed my right hand and pulled suddenly on it, I would immediately feel a loosening of my bicep, followed a little while later by (1) an inability to get a good contraction of my right bicep, (2) tension in my brachioradialis, and (3) a looseness in my shoulder capsule that made it extremely difficult to stabilize during exercises like the bench press or pull-up.

I’m twenty-five now, and the problem still persists to some degree. A few years ago, I read Poliquin’s discussion on the importance of external rotator cuff work, and I only started putting that into effect for the last nine months. Already I have seen significant increases in my pull-up and bench strength, but I still am having problems with my right bicep. Even when it hasn’t’ been pulled in awhile, it is still difficult to get a good contraction in the muscle, and even harder to get my bicep to grow. My left arm is around 19.25" flexed, and my right arm is a quarter inch smaller, but the bicep on my right arm is pathetic. My right arm is mostly triceps lol.

I’m just wondering if anyone has heard of an issue like this before. If so, any advice would be helpful. I do know that i could use more direct bicep work in my current regimen - I’m one of those weird guys who absolutely hate working biceps - but even when I do, my right bicep just doesn’t seem to want to grow. Also, I should point out that my front delt/pec tie in seems to have grown far down over the bicep than on my right side, which may explain some of the difficulty flexing.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Just a guess here but the biceps tendon could have been badly injured and now you have less strength and scar tissue… I would tell you do see a good sports med guy or gal and see if they tell you you should have some therapy on it. You need to be evaluated to get a diagnosis.