T Nation

Training w/Bicep Tendon Strain


Hello, this is my first post so let me start off by saying thank you for welcoming me to your community and taking the time to read this post, a special thanks to those who advise me. Here are my stats.

5 foot 6 inches
Estimating 12% body fat
Been working out for about four years training for about three months. I started at 135 pounds at roughly the same body fat. (41 lbs of Muscle estimated in that timeframe added)

The reason i'm posting is because i've seem to have suffered a rather annoying left bicep strain when trying out cross fit (nothing against cross fit but I believe the suceptibility to injury is there)

The tendon (or what ever it may be farely sure it's a tendon as it connects muscle to bone) Only causes me pain upon flexion of the left forearm i.e. biceps curls and pulling movements besides the dead lift. I was wondering if someone may try to help me construct a program so that I can allow this strain to heal well still making gains right now I'm doing a program with a lot of frequency and volume basically working half the body One day and then the other half the next but not in an upper lower fashion. It's worth noting that the strain has gone away before and I was able to do exercises such as biceps curls without any pain but the pain has resurfaced. I know it is not tendinitis as I have that in my right arm Lateral epicondylitis. I can deadlifts at 100% without any problems so incorporating that into my routines seems like it would great idea As I can then train back well refraining from other pulling exercises that hurt. I may have some chemical assistance. I know it can be a simple as just avoiding the exercises that cause pain until it heals but I'm wondering if anyone has had a similar injury that they train through in a more optimal fashion thank you for your time.


Im confused about the area of injury, forearm or arm? Pain at the distal biceps insertion or more proximal towards the origin? Time since injury, and specificity of mechanism of injury will also help.

Bicep curls and pulling exercises, please be more specific to which pulling exercises elicit pain so we suggest training methods.


Pain is at the distal bicep's insertion more tender on the lateral side. The injury occurred when doing a "push up immediately followed by a pull up" It happened during the pull up. It seemed to have healed with just a r.i.c.e method at first. I don't remember how it reoccured I don't think it was an acute movement that caused it's reoccurrence Like the original injury. Regular pulling exercises Don't cause severe acute pain when using a slow tempo like 303 but I know if I went with full intensity on the exercise it would definitely cause limiting pain and inflammation. It Is mostly all pulling exercises I think would prevent healing but most pain comes from doing pull up over hand movements rather then like chin up underhand movements.

So pronated grip pulling exercises exacerbate it the most. Least the deadlift but no flexion is Happening there. Also Dumbbell pushing exercises hurt to a lesser extent but barbell pushing excises do not so obviously the stabilization use of the bicep is compromised from this injury a similar feeling is felt with upright rows thanks for your help


Ok, thanks for the more specific input. From your subjective c/o of pain and dysfunction it seems like you are correct in that you may have injured the distal insertion of the biceps attachment onto the radius (keep in mind the brachoradialis also attaches at a point on the humerus above the elbow joint on the lateral aspect). Your complaints with pain seem to be for the following reasons:

  1. The bicep crosses two joints and is maximally stretched with shoulder extension and forearm pronation. This is most likely why you feel more pain with pronated exercises and also DB pressing as db presses tend to get slightly more shoulder extension.

  2. I would stick with the underhand movements you described that are pain free for lifting back and also biceps.

  3. For exercises to promote healing, you may want to begin incorporating some long duration sets at the end of your workout for time stressing the distal aspect of the biceps in a pain free manner. Examples would be using a very light weight and performing db preacher curls for 1-2 minutes straight. Performing this multiple times per week will help improve capilliarization and bring blood flow to the area. For chronic tendinous issues eccentrics are typically the exercise of choice for rehab. However I am not sure how acute vs chronic your injury is at this point. A third option is for some light stretching and soft tissue work with a small smooth object along the distal insertion.


Thanks for advice I will try that hopefully it will heal soon.