Worried -- Bicep Injury

I’m pretty worried right now. Last night I was doing Arnold presses with 90-lb dumbells. The set went fine, but when I went to lower the weights to the floor, one at a time (I’ve done this thousands of times in my life), something bad happened. I was lowering the right side dumbell first, and I guess I tried to control the descent too much, and as my hand neared the floor, palm up, I felt a strain in the inner part of the arm where the bicep meets the forearm – I’m pretty sure it’s the bicep tendon (the boney thing you can feel with your finger which runs vertically in the gap between your bi and your forearm). Well, ever since, it hurts like hell to lift anything with that bicep (especially in a hammer curl position, but all use of it hurts), even my jacket, for example. I iced it last night, I’m taking advil, etc., but I’m really worried. I have a feeling I didn’t tear the muscle, since I can still bend the arm and can flex the bi somewhat, but if hurts to try to lift anything.

Any idea what I might have injured? Did I just bruise the tendon or something? Would I be in more pain than this if I actually tore the bicep or tore cartilage? Thanks for any input.

I’m no expert, but it sounds like you strained your brachialis where the muscle meets the tendon. Keep icing it for another day or two. Stop working it in the gym, but don’t stop moving it completely. It is important to keep it moving (pain-free, no added resistance) to increase blood flow to the area and speed the healing process. In the gym, don’t do anything that hurts it.

Why would you take this concern to an Internet forum before taking it to a doctor?

Oh, believe me, if it’s not noticeably better in a few days, I’ll be seeing a doctor. It’s not the easiest thing to do quickly due to business at work, but if it doesn’t get better soon, I will.

Thanks Patman. I’ll keep icing it. I hope you’re right.

ya see a doctor immediately, i waited one week before going to the doctor for my calf tear (i was hoping it wasnt serious) and by doing so i tore it even more… doctor said i could have shaved probably a month off my injury by going earlier.

g’luck cya

could be brachiradialis, brachialis, or even strained a tendon. Keep up the ice and anti-flams. see a doc or OT soon.
The long and short of it is, you have injured yourself so its time to fix it.

Yeah, I should have mentioned:

Get yourself to a Physical Therapist.

So Damici, get that checked out yet?

Just curious.


Same thing happened to me months ago. I suffered for a couple months until I found a cure in (where else?) TMag! Check out Issue 114 and “Eccentric Exercise: A Solution to Tendonitis” by Peter Blanchonette.

The approach, with biceps tendinitis (which is a pain right where you describe), is to use progressive eccentric phase movements. Sit at the preacher bench with a DB that is JUST heavy enough that you feel a LITTLE bit of pain when lowering it in a controlled manner. Do 2 sets of 15, twice a day, every day. As you become pain-free with tht weight, use a slightly heavier DB.

I wasn’t able to do 2x/day, and because I was forced to skip some days and was an absolute wimp about a recurrence, I think I slowed my progress. It has taken me 5-6 weeks to work up to a 30-pound DB for 2x10 reps. I’ll say this, though: the very first day AFTER I started this exercise, some movements that caused me pain didn’t anymore.

I limited my back work when I first started, or found exercises that did NOT, for some reason, trigger the tendinitis. Movements with palms forward/up–like bent-over rows or seated rows (not maximal loads, obviously)–were do-able without that sharp pain. I concentrated on leg work. I have jumped back into regular workouts in the past two weeks, and the arm is working as expected. I’m doing NO direct bicep work except the rehab at the preacher bench. Maybe a little more soreness afterward, but I no longer feel the sharp pain.