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One of the strong points about my physique has always been my biceps, but unfortunately last week I injured my right one.

Last Friday, I was doing single arm preacher curls with 75lb (34 kg) dumbbells (nothing new for me, have been doing this weight for months). I guess my form was a little off and I felt a really sharp pain in my bicep on the second rep, I dropped the weight immediately.

The pain was not at the shoulder or at the elbow, but in the middle of my bicep.

It hurt to flex or extend my arm, so I left the gym immediately. The second day, I could extend my arm but it hurt to flex. Fast forward a few days and all pain is gone. I re-entered the gym on Monday and did exercises without a pulling motion. Today, I worked back and I was fine for most of the workout, until I attempted a heavy deadlift set (I know, stupid). My bicep is hurting a little when I flex, but not as bad as the original pain.

Obviously I need to rest it more, this just seems like a Grade 1 sprain, and I think I'm going to take the whole week off next week (I haven't taken a break in over a year, it's probably long needed).

My question is, is this just a sprain? And will my bicep now be susceptible to injury/tear more often? Or will it heal back 100% after sufficient rest?

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Just a point of clarification on the difference between a strain and a sprain. – BackInShapeBuddy Jul 11 '14 at 7:52
+1 on @BackInShapeBuddy. – JohnP Jul 11 '14 at 14:25

Muscle strains can be tricky to heal, mostly because people won't take the proper amount of time to let them heal properly.

Given a full healing cycle, then you shouldn't have any more risk of reinjuring the bicep than any other muscle in the body. You note that the pain is in the center of the bicep, which almost precludes any tendon involvement, so it's most likely all muscle fiber. (It's possible that you could have injured the tendon and had referred pain, but we will discount that for the moment).

You don't note any bruising, and you also mention grade, which means that you've at least looked at a chart and compared your symptoms, so we'll go with your thoughts that it's a grade 1. Most treatments are RICE, (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) based, but you're already pretty much past the point where the ice will help, that's more for the 24-48 hours immediately following. Rest is going to be your biggest friend, along with elevation if you notice continued swelling in the area.

Once you start back, I would reduce the loads that you have been doing. 1 week isn't long enough to really start detraining, and easing back at say 60-70% of load should give you an indication of where you are at in healing. You can also consider a bicep sleeve. I'm not a big fan, but I know people that swear by it, and at worst, it won't do any more damage.

I think you're on the right track, so take the time, relax and then ease back into training.

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