I started working out when I was 15, simply because I was a scrawny, short kid. I never really knew what I was doing but I was motivated by the pictures of Arnold Schwarzenegger and thought I could sculpt my body just like “Arnie’s”. It wasn’t until many years later that I realized that there was no way I could get that big without drugs, so I accepted what I had to work with and kept working out to gain muscle and size.
It wasn’t until I suffered severe elbow pain while doing bicep curls that I realized how important form and technique was if you are to avoid injury, especially to the forearms and biceps. If you are reading this article, you are probably suffering from this same injury.
Looking back on my injury, there were 3 key elements that lead up to this nagging elbow injury.
First, not keeping my wrists parallel and in line with my forearm when doing bicep curls. In other words, I would allow my wrists to bend downwards towards the floor. This caused the ligaments and tendons in the wrist all the way up the forearm, which lead to your elbow, to endure extreme pressure and strain. Overtime, this lead to small micro tears at the lateral epicondyle of my elbow (tennis elbow).
The second thing I can put my finger on is that I was curling too much weight. I would do 4 sets of 6-8 repetitions as I was trying to add mass to my arms. I would use 55lb dumbbells for my 4th set. It was a struggle to get in reps 4-6.
But what I noticed the most was that when I picked up the dumbbells, I would immediately feel a sharp pain on the outside of my forearm near my elbow. As I continued with the bicep curls, the pain only got worse but I was from the old school of thought, “no pain – no gain”.
And the third element that I believe contributed to my elbow pain, especially while doing bicep curls was using the “EZ” or some people call it the “zigzag” curl bar. I would use a narrow grip when I performed bicep curls but I noticed that my forearms took a lot of the strain. The strange thing was that I still got a good pump on the inside of my bicep which helped build the “peak” that everyone wants.
If you are using this type of bar for bicep curls, I would stop using it and stick with the basic straight bar for bicep curls.
Another thing I would recommend if you are suffering from elbow pain when you do bicep curls is to maybe avoid using dumbbells altogether. The reason being is that when you are curling a dumbbell, your elbow has a tendency to “sway” especially when you are struggling to get in those last couple of reps. This can be extremely dangerous as this can cause your elbow to go way beyond it’s normal range of motion and make you susceptible to a more severe elbow injury or even worse a complete tear of your extensor or flexor tendon at your elbow.
Here are some gym exercises to avoid when you have tennis elbow. It’s important that you try sticking to just barbells and straight bar cable curls for your next couple of bicep workouts to see if your elbow pain subsides.
In the end, I went to a doctor because my elbow and forearm pain got so bad that I couldn’t even squeeze my water bottle to get some water while working out. In the end, my doctor diagnosed me with tennis elbow and that’s when the real nightmare began!
If you are not aware of tennis elbow, it’s actually quite common with individuals who like to workout. This injury is characterized by pain and discomfort on the outside of your elbow. The pain sometimes shoots down your forearm and into your wrist and fingers. Elbow and forearm pain increases when you perform actions that require a tight grip on an object such as a dumbbell or barbell. You may also notice some swelling or inflammation.
Back to the story, my doctor advised me to stop working out for a month, put on an elbow brace, but to make matters worse he recommended a series of cortisone shots and physical therapy appointments!
I spent over $700 on all these so called treatment methods for tennis elbow but they all failed! And I don’t want you to waste hundreds of dollars of your hard earned cash – like I did.
But what did work was an in home treatment system and elbow pain exercises that allowed me to get rid of my elbow pain and still goto the gym.
If you want to stop your elbow pain quickly, continue doing bicep curls at the gym – simply click the button below and watch a short video on how easy it is to eliminate your tennis elbow injury at home in just 5 simple steps!