Forearm pain during preacher curls

  1. ClintCanada
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    Forearm pain during preacher curls


    When I do preacher curls with an e-z curl bar (wide/narrow grip doesn't matter) I get serious pain along most of the length of my forearms. The pain is on the inside of the forearm on side of your pinky finger (not sure if this is beside the radius or ulna). Anyways -- just wondering if anyone else has experienced this and what seems to cause it and what you've done -- have you quit preacher curls entirely ??

    Thanks

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    Yeah I used to get CRAZY painful pumps in my forearms. I figured out that the NO I was using was causing it. When I got them i just had to relax and shake my hands out. Stretching them by extending your arm and putting your hand out as if to accept money, then using the opposite hand to gently push your fingertips down to the ground helped me lots.
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    yes i know exactly what you mean. mine are not the muscle being pumped, i liken it to shin splints when i run during track season. i believe it is the same thing because it doesnt feel like the muscle it hurting, but the actual bone itself. by the way it is the ulnar bone too that hurts me. sometimes when i do it i try to squeeze my grip real tight when i begin the curl and try not to move my wrists at all, meaning i keep them in the same position on the negative and the positive phase of the workout. sometimes though that doesnt even work and i just try and take a week or two off from doing that particular exercise.
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    Be careful that you aren't developing some sort of tendonitis in your arm. If you are, you will have pain at the elbow in the bones to the sides. I developed a tear and didn't realize that was what it was and continued to workout. Took forever to get it to heal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by firefighter2032 View Post
    Be careful that you aren't developing some sort of tendonitis in your arm. If you are, you will have pain at the elbow in the bones to the sides. I developed a tear and didn't realize that was what it was and continued to workout. Took forever to get it to heal.
    thats exactly what it sounds like, tendonitis. if i were u man, id hold on with the biceps exercises for a little while, take some ibuprofen to quell the inflamation and if it doesnt get better go see the doc. listen to firefighter, you don't wanna f*ck yourself up
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    I spent a long time doing rehab on arm. Cortisone shots, physical therapy, enough NSAIDs to kill a horse and then finally found Oratropin. They threatened surgery on more than occassion but I refused after reading so many horror stories.

    No need to push it too far now and screw yourself up for a year when you can take two weeks off now and spend the other 50 weeks working out.

    Btw...you may want to try hammer curls instead and try doing them while laying back on a bench at 45 degrees. I've found they don't aggravate my arm at all and still get a good burn/pump.
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    Thanks for all the input guys . . . some good food for thought -- I'm definitely going to take a couple weeks off, and may avoid the preachers altogether in the future -- stick with dumbells -- hammers, inclines, etc.
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    If its forearm splints when you let go of the weight the pain spikes. Rumor to the cause of that is weak forearms and wrists.
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    Also if you have long forearms it creates a strain on them because of the length the weight is held from the contracting bicep.

    One way to ease the strain is to get those metal wrist hook lifting straps. Hold the bar in the hook and wrap your thumb around the bar to keep it in place. It is easiest to keep the bar from slipping if you are doing standing barbell curls. The metal strip takes the strain off of the wrists and off of the last inch or so of forearm. It has the effect of shortening the length the weight "seems" to be held from the contracting bicep.

    The result is reduced forearm pain w/o reducing the weight used to curl.
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    Quote Originally Posted by datBtrue View Post
    Also if you have long forearms it creates a strain on them because of the length the weight is held from the contracting bicep.

    One way to ease the strain is to get those metal wrist hook lifting straps. Hold the bar in the hook and wrap your thumb around the bar to keep it in place. It is easiest to keep the bar from slipping if you are doing standing barbell curls. The metal strip takes the strain off of the wrists and off of the last inch or so of forearm. It has the effect of shortening the length the weight "seems" to be held from the contracting bicep.

    The result is reduced forearm pain w/o reducing the weight used to curl.
    good idea! i've been using those hooks for heavy deads and shrugs because my grip fails before my working muscles do. i've been gripping the sh1t out of the barbell though when i'm doing heavy curls and i think that its causing the pain in my forearm i've been experiencing. i'm gonna give the hooks a try for curls
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    Sounds like forarm splints. i had those as well. i just took a while off from curling with any sort of bar and stuck to dumbbells. but if you wanna give those hooks a try go for it. hope it works out for ya
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    hooks while curling blah, how are you supposed to get massive forearms?
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    Quote Originally Posted by ITHURTZ View Post
    hooks while curling blah, how are you supposed to get massive forearms?
    i don't think its forearm splints that i have. it feels more like tendonitis (description wise). my forearms and bis are plenty strong to move the weight. its more of an inner pain that can only be described as a tendon pain. i'm thinking just laying off bis will be better than anything.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ITHURTZ View Post
    hooks while curling blah, how are you supposed to get massive forearms?
    Not from curls my man. Remember if you are in severe pain you can't really train.
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    Quote Originally Posted by datBtrue View Post
    Not from curls my man. Remember if you are in severe pain you can't really train.
    lol i didnt even read that quote all the way. yea i don't do curls for my forearms to grow.
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    Yea do hammers like he said, and I do believe it is a tendon this is a very common problem caused by curls. you get enough work on your bis when doing your back workout esp on rows and pullups that you should be ok to drop them for a little while, ive maintained size for over a month and havent done curls but once or twice because of this issue.
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    What does your Grip Training work look like?
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    Does it do it all the time when you preacher curl? It could be nothing, I have been doing wide grip barbell curls a lot lately instead and tried preachers the other day and it felt weird in my forearms, hurt a little but not too bad. Weird pain.
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    Having the very same problem at this moment my self.It is very aggravating and seems in my case to become very bad when im doing heavy barbell work with biceps.everything posted here was informative enough to lead me to beileve my case is tendinitus.trhe reason is that the soreness seems to radiate from the conective tissue rather then the actually muscle fibers..my biceps will be healed from a good workout(and grow)only to still have this feeling deep in the arm.And ive wondered if i were over training but it cant be the case with me cuz everything is dialed in for me and im making good gains.I think i will try only doing my biceps excercises dumbell only...i do have long arms as well-not sure if that effects tendons with some movemens?
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    Do preacher curls with dumbbells instead (one arm at a time).

    I had the same problem-- figured out its due to the angle at which you hold the e-z bar, forces unnatural rotation of the forearm during curls.

    Same reason shoulder press should never be done with a barbell-- unnatural rotation of the shoulder during military press is a very common cause of rotator cuff strain.

    Anything that locks your hands in a certain grip should be exchanged for dumbbells if possible. This also helps prevent underdevelopment of stabilizing muscles.
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    Basically everything you said and you in the response is correct. I have the same problem as you, I get stronger and make gains but still have that dead achy pain deep in my arm... I feel like its bum. its my left arm, and even though it feels weak it always out preforms my right in bench, curls, etc. its quite odd. like he said, locking the hands in one position is bad for all your joints, and free flowing IE dumbells is always better for the joints... lack of forearm work is same as lack of stabilizers, using a barbell to your joints is the same as using certain curls to your forearms. Think, if you used a smith machine to do all your squats then went to free bar, you wouldnt be able to put out the same weight because of lack of stabilizer muscles. same with curls you isolate with the preacher to get bicepts strong and then other exercises hurt your forearms because they arent up to par. try doing more pull up, its a great bicept exercise and the many variations is better than just one type of curl, which is underhanded. mine have actually seemed to go away but do come back if I work bis too hard. Ive found preachers still cause this pain for me, and you can notice that your elbows are forced outwards during the contraction. This is because all the pressure aka the weight your moving is pushing on your forearms and joints, and the natural rotation has to support all that weight. weight is moved by muscles which are connected to tendons and ligaments and such which are connected to the skeletal structure supporting the weight. so when the motion of curling occurs, all the weight is being forces through those tendons, and magnified during the awkward motions that your forearms and elbows go through while making the motion. this puts alot more strain on those tendons in the forearm than they are made for, causing the stretching and pain in that area. this is the tendonitis (sp?) so pretty much, certain exercises cause strain. Find out which ones cause the pain, and which ones dont. Do the ones that dont. If they all hurt, stick with rows and pull ups. my bis grew 2.5 inches doing just those and very little curls. and there are plenty of other lifters who will tell you the same, that pullups plus your back exercises will give your bis plenty of work.

    Anyways if anyone else has anymore information about this, go ahead and post. lets try and make this a good source of information, as this is a fairly common problem as I have heard.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ITHURTZ View Post
    If its forearm splints when you let go of the weight the pain spikes. Rumor to the cause of that is weak forearms and wrists.
    This sounds exactly like what I am experiencing. Its mostly with the the EZ bar during preacher curls. I feel I like the pain is really holding me back. Its a moderately bearable pain as I'm performing the exercise, but the second I put the weight down and release it feels like I was smacked in the unla with a sledgehammer. I've also read that having longer forearms can enhance the pain and as I'm 6'4 with proportional length arms it sucks.

    I really like the preacher curl with the EZ bar as I feel it really isolates the biceps, more so than most other bicep lifts. From what I've read the likely solution is taking it easy on the EZ bar preacher curls "no pun intended" and working out the forearms.
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    Quote Originally Posted by leaver2000

    This sounds exactly like what I am experiencing. Its mostly with the the EZ bar during preacher curls. I feel I like the pain is really holding me back. Its a moderately bearable pain as I'm performing the exercise, but the second I put the weight down and release it feels like I was smacked in the unla with a sledgehammer. I've also read that having longer forearms can enhance the pain and as I'm 6'4 with proportional length arms it sucks.

    I really like the preacher curl with the EZ bar as I feel it really isolates the biceps, more so than most other bicep lifts. From what I've read the likely solution is taking it easy on the EZ bar preacher curls "no pun intended" and working out the forearms.
    Give them a break for 2 weeks. Do you do wide or narrow grip? I find narrow is better for less pain. And do wrist and fore arm exercises as you said. You may not even need them. You may just not give your fore arms time to recover. Once they recover once you may be good from then on.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CountryLiftin View Post
    Give them a break for 2 weeks. Do you do wide or narrow grip? I find narrow is better for less pain. And do wrist and fore arm exercises as you said. You may not even need them. You may just not give your fore arms time to recover. Once they recover once you may be good from then on.
    I've done both narrow and wide grip, the pain is there either way. I've had this issue on and off for a little over a year. I found a EZ bar at my previous gym with a much smaller curve to it. It seemed to help having my palms almost facing up rather than at a 45 degree angle.
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    Quote Originally Posted by leaver2000

    I've done both narrow and wide grip, the pain is there either way. I've had this issue on and off for a little over a year. I found a EZ bar at my previous gym with a much smaller curve to it. It seemed to help having my palms almost facing up rather than at a 45 degree angle.
    Hmmm okay. I know I was finally glad to shake this a while back I think I actually have an older post or two in here. I assume you tuck your elbows properly etc. I think another big issue is wrist orientation. Aka keep your wrists straight an don't "curl your wrists" so to speak.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CountryLiftin View Post
    Hmmm okay. I know I was finally glad to shake this a while back I think I actually have an older post or two in here. I assume you tuck your elbows properly etc. I think another big issue is wrist orientation. Aka keep your wrists straight an don't "curl your wrists" so to speak.
    "I assume you tuck your elbows properly etc." I think you assume too much. I've never really put emphasis on tucking my elbows in. I can see how that would help in leveling out the forearms and removing torque on just one portion of the forearm. I am taking maybe a month long break from preacher curls specificly but I will keep this in mind when I pick it back up.

    To me it feels like the leverage and strain is being placed on the bone (ulna) closest to the elbow. The other day I told myself "no pain no gain" and really did more harm than good as now I have begun to experience the issue outside of just preacher curls. Albeit the pain is tolerable but wasnt there before I pushed myself a little to far the other day. I agree with wrist orientation possibly being a contributing factor, so I usually wear wrist wraps during bicep workouts.

    Thanks again for the input.
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    No problem just giving my experience with this issue because I had it and got rid of it. Opinions are just that; food for thought. I know I hate nagging injuries and I'm sure you do as well. I wasn't trying to saying sucking the elbows in is the only way to curl, but keeping them in line with the shoulders helps keep the force of the weight on the biceps and other supporting muscles and away from the bones.
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    What's up guys. This is a really common problem that a lot of ppl have. It usually doesn't involve your form or forearm strength, it's simply how your body is made. Its all about elbow/arm structure...

    So if you stand in front of a mirror in the anatomical position (arms relaxed/extended by your hips with your palms facing forward and thumbs pointing straight out at either side) you can see there is an angle between your upper arm (humerus) and your forearm (radius and ulna). (Here is a link: sciencephoto.com/image/392527/530wm/C0096507-Anatomical_position,_artwork-SPL.jpg).
    When you look at yourself in this position don't try to straighten your arms. Make sure your arms and wrists are in a relaxed and comfortable position so your thumbs point straight out at either side. Not kinda straight out but actually straight out--almost like you are trying to point your pinkies towards the mirror.

    The further your arm/ forearm angles out from your body, the harder it is to use a bar for curls. Compare the left and middle images in this picture: img.blog.163.com/photo/2kK59_xjLfpn_T1x63QzRA==/4805622277382965448.jpg

    The second image has a sharper angle between the forearm and upper arm. This is valgus of the elbow, more specifically "cubitus valgus." this angle between the upper and lower arm is called the elbow "carrying angle." when your forearm sticks out from the body you have an excessive angle, which is common. Another variation of this would be If your entire arm sticks out from your torso (which is kind of my issue), it dsnt have to only be the relation between your upper and lower arm.

    What this means for barbell curls is that your wrists will break excessively throughout the range of motion. breaking refers to the wrist being in such a position that your wrist flexors (the meaty part of your forearm by your inner elbow) cannot adequately support the weight of the bar so it puts strain and tension on the wrist itself--not on the muscles of the wrist. Muscles support our anatomical structures under strain so stressing a structure instead of the muscle can lead to unnatural and painful stress/tension on tendons ligaments etc. this can lead to inflammation and greater soreness of you don't make the appropriate changes.

    When you find ppl who can do barbell curls in a full range of motion, they almost always have straighter arms than most. This allows them to avoid the pain we are talking about. If someone has an excessive carrying angle and is still able to do bb curls they could have slightly different wrist mobility/structure, could be using a lighter load or could be using a smaller ROM.

    Solutions?
    -use a much wider grip for BB curls
    -use a smaller range of motion with a narrow/medium grip
    -use an ez bar, or even use a wider grip with an ez bar
    -the best solution is to use dumbbells.

    If this has been a nagging problem chances are that there is inflammation so any initial changes you make will still cause pain. Avoid any kind of bar work for a while and then slowly work in barbell variations above (start with light weight). I took a good month or so of doing light DB work before slowly working back to an ez bar, a wide barbell curl and a narrow bb curl with a smaller ROM(making sure I don't fully extend my arms, focusing more on the peak). Anyone who says you NEED barbell curls to build biceps is wrong, you don't. In fact all exercises with barbells have the potential to create problems because a barbell can't conform to us, we are forced to conform to it.

    There could always be other underlying mobility issues. Most ppl have excessively tight forearms so stretching after a grip-intensive workout is never a bad idea. That said, if your form is good and you still get pain, I'd bet a lot of money that this is the problem.
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    Great post Storm. I have found that the "No pain, no gain" motto is completely false. It caused me more injuries than I can count in my younger years. Make sure to recognize pain from fatigue. Fatigue is the goal! It took me more than a year and countless drugs to get rid of my tennis elbow I developed from a gym injury.

    Back to the original post, Sometimes our anatomy just simply doesn't allow us to perform every exercise in the gym. For instance I can't do military press due to my shoulder joints. However, I can do dumbell press just fine. I would suggest maybe grabbing a barbell and putting your back against the wall/pillar/or something firm and see if you have the same issue. If this exercise works for you then avoid preachers for at least a few months.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Axillist
    Great post Storm. I have found that the "No pain, no gain" motto is completely false. It caused me more injuries than I can count in my younger years. Make sure to recognize pain from fatigue. Fatigue is the goal! It took me more than a year and countless drugs to get rid of my tennis elbow I developed from a gym injury.

    Back to the original post, Sometimes our anatomy just simply doesn't allow us to perform every exercise in the gym. For instance I can't do military press due to my shoulder joints. However, I can do dumbell press just fine. I would suggest maybe grabbing a barbell and putting your back against the wall/pillar/or something firm and see if you have the same issue. If this exercise works for you then avoid preachers for at least a few months.
    This is spot on. Pain is very different from an injury....every exercise has a risk to reward ration, which is different for each person. Anyone who claims an exercise is the only way make gains isn't taking individual differences into account.

    When you're doing an exercise you are stimulating muscles and overloading them so they adapt. Whether you're training biceps, shoulders, or legs, it doesn't matter what you use to stimulate those muscles. Your biceps don't care if you're lifting dumbbells, barbells or small children--all they feel is the stimulation. some exercises stress different muscles or have more benefits but there are no universal rules governing exercise selection.

    Axillist you raise a great point--the body is so well connected that seemingly disparate symptoms can often be the result of one underlying issue.... Although I don't know the details, it seems like thoracic mobility could be attributing to your shoulder issues.
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    Good info guys. I agree. I still feel there is no doubt that poor form (individual, not general) and weak muscles or supporting muscles could contribute to or accelerate and pain injury or inflammation. The big issue with diagnosing any issue with the human body is the vast number of differences in the anatomy between and two people. Everyone has arms and legs and bodies but the bits and pieces can be so different it's impossible to have a catch all solution for anyone one problem.

    Ax, I'm sure you've gone over a ton of things with the mil press, and I don't believe it's a necessary exercise, but possible a overly dominantly chest is pulling your shoulders and elbows forward and putting your should joints In an unnatural range of rotation. Just a thought. I have probably one of the worst injuries I could have dreamed of that I am struggling with right now so, I understand that being limited sucks.
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    My general issue seems to stem from hyper flexibility and loose joints. Every joint in my body has a much wider degree of movement than it should naturally. I need to be extremely careful about my range of motion as my joints take great damage from seemingly harmless movements.

    @Countryliftin-Great insight though. Like you mentioned, everyone is different and we need to keep ourselves informed about what is best for our body in particular.

    We need to continually assess and re-asses how particular exercises effect us. Remember that even Doctors PRACTICE medicine. You don't always get it right on the first time! It may take years of trial and error before we figure out the right path. The best solution for any injury is practicing prevention!
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    I took a break from actually doing preacher curls (roughly 3 weeks) and outside of EZ bar preacher curls the pain is gone. Today I started griping the EZ bar almost like a straight bar. Placing the outer most curve of the bar in center of my palm, wrapping my fingers around the curve and performing the exercise. Its a little bit harder to grip that way but if you have bigger hands you should be able to do it. I still have a very minor ache but its much better than what I was experiencing before.

    @CountryLifting When i said "you assume to much" i didn't mean it in a negative way at all, I appreciate the advice. I only meant that I'm sorta a big dummy and to assume I'm doing anything correctly would be a misstep

    @Storm You might be a genius, my arms sick out so far it actual looks absurd when I pose in the mirror compared to what the norm is.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ClintCanada View Post
    When I do preacher curls with an e-z curl bar (wide/narrow grip doesn't matter) I get serious pain along most of the length of my forearms. The pain is on the inside of the forearm on side of your pinky finger (not sure if this is beside the radius or ulna). Anyways -- just wondering if anyone else has experienced this and what seems to cause it and what you've done -- have you quit preacher curls entirely ??

    Thanks
    I used to get the same thing. Started working my forearms and within like two weeks it was gone. After that my curls shot up and I started to get wrist pain at the bottom of dropping my arms downward. I do wrist exercises about once a week and tried using gloves which have both helped. Now I f*ck sh*t up.
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    yah id say you have tendonitis i have it to just work your forearms about 20-30 mins a day for 2-4 weeks then id work em once a week and stay away from barbell,ez bar, and do hammer curls instead of normal curls and id tak it easier on the gym too
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    Quote Originally Posted by leaver2000 View Post
    I took a break from actually doing preacher curls (roughly 3 weeks) and outside of EZ bar preacher curls the pain is gone. Today I started griping the EZ bar almost like a straight bar. Placing the outer most curve of the bar in center of my palm, wrapping my fingers around the curve and performing the exercise. Its a little bit harder to grip that way but if you have bigger hands you should be able to do it. I still have a very minor ache but its much better than what I was experiencing before.

    @CountryLifting When i said "you assume to much" i didn't mean it in a negative way at all, I appreciate the advice. I only meant that I'm sorta a big dummy and to assume I'm doing anything correctly would be a misstep

    @Storm You might be a genius, my arms sick out so far it actual looks absurd when I pose in the mirror compared to what the norm is.
    hahaha i try my best....yea i look foolish when i try to stand in the anatomical position...im glad it feels better but just be careful and try to use more DBs. while it may feel good its likely to flare up faster since youre still recovering
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    Try keeping your wrists supinated and relax your forearms, had the same problem, just got to exsperiment with it.
  

  
 

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