Besides having 6 pack abs, big biceps are what most women find sexy and desirable in a man. So it’s no surprise that guys like to work their arms hard in the gym in hopes they grow and get much bigger. But this hard work can come at a cost, especially when you start to experience elbow pain while doing bicep curls in the gym.
It is no myth that if you want to build big biceps doing curls is the way to go. They are a must if you want thick, huge arms but in the process it is not uncommon for many people to suffer some sort of discomfort in their elbow area. So what are the main reasons for this and what actions can you take right now to stop it and avoid injury?
Before we jump into the top 3 reasons for your elbow pain, it is important to identify which specific exercise causes you the most grief and discomfort. This will help narrow down which potential injury you may have or steps you can take to stop your pain and still continue with bicep curls.
You should also know the exact location of your elbow pain. If it is mostly on the lateral/outside of your elbow, then there is a good chance it is a tennis elbow injury and not just some kind of random pain.
One Arm Cable Bicep Curls
This exercise involves attaching a single grip, one arm pulley to a low pulley mechanism. Most people do this exercise while standing but it can also be done while sitting or lying flat on your back. Do you experience elbow pain while doing this exercise? If so which part of your elbow hurts the most, outside or inside?
Standing Barbell Curls
By far this bicep exercise is the best for building mass on your biceps. Most people use a straight bar for this exercise although an e-z curl bar can be used as well. Again, you need to know the location of your elbow pain when you curl the bar. Is the pain on the outside or inside of your elbow? Is the pain when you curl or when you are on the negative movement?
Sitting One Arm Dumbbell Bicep Curls
This exercise is the most dangerous when it comes to causing elbow problems. The reason being is that most people don’t keep their elbows in by their side, close to their body. As a result, your elbow can reach dangerous angles and cause damage to the attaching tendons and ligaments.
And if you have elbow pain while doing bicep curls here, then you could very well have an injury but before we say for sure you have injured your elbow you may want to examine your form and technique.
Form and technique is one of the 3 reasons why you could possibly have elbow pain when doing bicep curls. The proper form and technique for any standing bicep exercise is feet shoulder width apart, chin tucked in, standing straight with your core muscles engaged and then curl the weight. If you notice your body rocking or you have to swing the weight to get it up then this could be the cause of your elbow problems. Not to mention that having bad form will cheat you out of gains on your arms.
The second reason why your elbow hurts on biceps day at the gym is that you are using too much weight. The strain and pressure that is put on the small tendons, flexors, muscles and ligaments from your elbow all the way down to your fingers when you are holding a dumbbell that is too heavy can cause injury. Sure everyone is out to lift as much as they can and impress everyone at the gym but at what costs?
I recommend you slowly increase the weight you curl as this will give your tendons, ligaments and muscles time to adjust and become stronger. You can’t just jump 10lbs on every set.
The third and final reason for your elbow problems when you are doing biceps is that you actually have an injury to your elbow. It is not uncommon for guys who workout in the gym to develop small tears in their elbow extensor tendon overtime. Many people go months without even noticing that they have an injury but when you do bicep curls, especially with dumbbells, this is when you feel the pain on the outside of your elbow the most.
This sort of injury is called tennis elbow. This injury is characterized as pain and tenderness on the outer part of the elbow that gets worse performing any sort of gripping, squeezing or pulling action. For example, bicep curls!
What physically happens to your elbow is that small, micro tears start to develop in your extensor tendon. When you grip, squeeze or pull on anything, the tendon pulls apart even more which is why you feel pain. If you do indeed have tennis elbow, then no matter what adjustment you make to the weight you lift or changes in your form or technique you make, your elbow pain will not go away until you seek treatment.
Tennis elbow is a painful elbow condition that usually gets worse with time if you choose to ignore it. If you search for advice on the internet on how to best treat it, you will find a bunch of information, some of it good and some complete garbage.
As someone who had tennis elbow, let me tell you my experience. Make sure you avoid the following: elbow braces, cortisone shots, prp injections, acupuncture, anti-inflammatories, shock wave therapy and topical muscle creams. Sure they may work to help with your pain and symptoms but they are not the long term solution and permanent fix for your tennis elbow.
What will work to stop your elbow pain from doing bicep curls and help you recover from tennis elbow fast is a 5 step program that you can get instant access to right now. If you have a water bottle, broomstick and/or can of soup in your cupboard, then you have all of the necessary items to start healing your injury right.
If you are someone who wants to continue to go to the gym as you recover from tennis elbow then this solution is perfect for you. For more information on how you can get started right now with you recovery from home, click here for a sneak peak of the program I am referring too. Good luck!