I am doing Biceps Barbell Curls. When I do them my hand is really sore around the Brachioradialis area.

I have been doing this exercise for months now. I started having these problems last week.

What should I do?

  • Do you feel sore during or after exercising? What have you changed (weights, reps, sets, speed, anything else)?
    – Baarn
    Oct 23 '13 at 11:58
  • 1
    First question I have: is that all you are doing? What else is in your regimen other than the curls? Oct 23 '13 at 12:20
  • Dang, wanted to ask that, too. I knew I forgot something.
    – Baarn
    Oct 23 '13 at 12:49
  • Chest press and pull ups with my hands facing me. @Baarn, I haven't changed the weights or any of those. And both during and after.
    – Naor Hadar
    Oct 23 '13 at 12:59

If the pain is sharp, you may have developed some tendinitis. Sometimes it originates from the elbow and radiates down the forearm, other times it radiates up the biceps. In either case the solution is the same:

  • Reduce intensity on the exercise causing pain, see if you can find an alternate variation that doesn't cause pain.
  • Increase volume on the opposing muscles.

An alternate form of curl that is easier on your elbows is the hammer curl. It's worth doing while you are rehabing the elbow. If you were only using the empty bar for curls before, you can load with dumbbells that below that weight.

You will need to increase the pressing work. Particularly because you have both chin-ups and curls in your routine. You should be able to press more than you curl, but keep the reps in the 15-20 range. This has the benefit of moving more blood through the joint and flushing out the inflammation.

If you alternate flat bench, incline bench, and overhead press you will hit everything from different angles. 5 sets of 15-20 reps of any pressing movement a day for 5 days in a week with relatively light weight will be a good place to start with the rehab.

If you are weighting your chinups this is a time to do strict body weight. Additionally, if you can I would switch to pull ups (palms away) while you are rehabbing, and then alternate chin-ups and pull ups afterwards. If you can't do strict pull ups yet, do 4 sets of 8 pull up negatives (just a slow controlled descent). The different orientation will help the weaker muscles in your forearm to catch up and work your grip differently than the barbell curl and chin ups do.

  • I am on a diet to get my fat low so this is what i do: chest press - 3X6 chin-ups - 3X6 curls - 2X10 If i am willing to change curls to hammer curls, should i change the reps and range too?
    – Naor Hadar
    Oct 23 '13 at 13:35
  • During rehab you want lighter weights and very high reps (15-20 is ideal). The purpose of the high reps is to flush blood through inflamed areas, and also helps get oxygen to speed the repair of the muscles. After you are done with the rehab, you can go back to the rep ranges you are used to--just incorporate more triceps work to complement all the biceps work in your routine. Oct 23 '13 at 14:55

Sounds like you need to work out your Brax and possibly lighten the weight.

In my experience when doing barbell curls/concentration curls I would get an intense sharp pain from my brax to my elbow (yours may be to wrist). This is because I transitioned too soon into heavier weights thinking it would help define my biceps oppose to higher volume lighter weights which really would define my biceps.

My sister is a personal trainer and advised I incorporate some hammer curls into my routine. I did an alternating hammer curl style, just 4 sets of 20 with a lighter weight, maybe 25lb DBs...really works your bi's and forearms increasing your muscular endurance and strength overall.

I would firstly do that (incorporate hammer curls into routine), then take the same weight in hammer curls and start there with your barbell curls, or as close as possible maybe a little heavier, see if the soreness goes away, should improve after a week or two of hammer curls.

  • Even with easy weight I feel sore.. :\ I didnt change the weight.
    – Naor Hadar
    Oct 23 '13 at 13:01
  • Soreness is good, pain is bad. As long as you're not experiencing pain, I would say you're working your brax along with your biceps effectively. Based on the number of sets you mention in a comment below - 3 x 6 curls, I assume the weight is heavy. You should decrease weight, and increase reps to build the strength you need to do the heavier weights...plus if you didn't change the weight, how do you know you still feel sore? Lighten up your weight, increase reps and volume, build strength to get into heavier weights...
    – Hituptony
    Oct 23 '13 at 13:49
  • I feel mainly pain not sore my bad. I will try to decrease weight and see if it helps.
    – Naor Hadar
    Oct 23 '13 at 13:53
  • Well number 1, if it's pain, it is probably widely recommended to rest that muscle group. I never rested my biceps in my previously mentioned experience, I just lightened up, and incorporated the hammer curls and it helped tremendously. Hope this helps!
    – Hituptony
    Oct 23 '13 at 13:56

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