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  1. #1
    MikeEnRegalia's Avatar
    MikeEnRegalia is offline Senior Member
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    Biceps pain while doing pull-ups

    Ok, so here's what happened. Last week I got my power-rack, and when I had set it up I tried to do pull-ups. To my surprise I was able to do them - hadn't tried them in a couple of months.

    So I did sets of 2-3 three pull-ups in a medium wide parallel grip throughout the following two days. Must have been about 10-15 sets, in a sort of greasing the groove style. Those sets felt heavy to me, but I was nowhere near failure.

    Well, last weekend I tried to do pull-ups again, and my biceps began to hurt. It wasn't burn or fatigue - it was a sharp pain that first manifested in the fully contracted position (chin above the bar). It soon got worse though - but not during the pull-ups, but afterwards. It's not a brutal pain, but really annoying, and it radiates from the biceps through the elbow along the forearms. It subsides after about half an hour, but quickly returns when I do pull-ups again. It doesn't occur when I do low-intensity movements involving those muscles, like for example australian pull-ups.

    I'm not really sure what to make of this ... could it be the onset of tendonitis? My obvious guess is that I shouldn't do pull-ups for a while until I can do them without aggravating this problem, but I'm curious about what this could be specifically, and how long I should try to take it easy, and whether it's safe to occasionally do some pull-ups and see where I'm at.

    BTW: the pain was initially worse in the right arm, but ultimately occurred in both arms, so I'm reasonably sure it's not an injury.

  2. #2
    badly_dubbed's Avatar
    badly_dubbed is offline Senior Member
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    slight muscle tear/pull.

    just because theyre not used to the exercise, it will go away, leave out the chins for a week or so

    i used to get it in my rotator cuff, but it went away eventually
    "Today’s technological age is enjoyed by the fattest, laziest humans in the history of humanity." -Mark Sisson

  3. #3
    Apex Predator's Avatar
    Apex Predator is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEnRegalia View Post
    Ok, so here's what happened. Last week I got my power-rack, and when I had set it up I tried to do pull-ups. To my surprise I was able to do them - hadn't tried them in a couple of months.

    So I did sets of 2-3 three pull-ups in a medium wide parallel grip throughout the following two days. Must have been about 10-15 sets, in a sort of greasing the groove style. Those sets felt heavy to me, but I was nowhere near failure.

    Well, last weekend I tried to do pull-ups again, and my biceps began to hurt. It wasn't burn or fatigue - it was a sharp pain that first manifested in the fully contracted position (chin above the bar). It soon got worse though - but not during the pull-ups, but afterwards. It's not a brutal pain, but really annoying, and it radiates from the biceps through the elbow along the forearms. It subsides after about half an hour, but quickly returns when I do pull-ups again. It doesn't occur when I do low-intensity movements involving those muscles, like for example australian pull-ups.

    I'm not really sure what to make of this ... could it be the onset of tendonitis? My obvious guess is that I shouldn't do pull-ups for a while until I can do them without aggravating this problem, but I'm curious about what this could be specifically, and how long I should try to take it easy, and whether it's safe to occasionally do some pull-ups and see where I'm at.

    BTW: the pain was initially worse in the right arm, but ultimately occurred in both arms, so I'm reasonably sure it's not an injury.
    Tendonitis is my guess- where you're describing the pain is an area that frequently gets sore when people start doing bicep work. Kinda weird to get it from pullups though- you must not have been using your biceps pretty much at all.

    Ibuprofen, ice/heat alternating, and rest.

  4. #4
    MikeEnRegalia's Avatar
    MikeEnRegalia is offline Senior Member
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    I might have set up my arms for this problem by having focused mostly on lat pull-downs last year - maybe I'm simply overloading the muscles/tendons because I built the strength in the lat so I can pull off the pull-downs (pun intended), and am now putting too much a strain on the arms.

    I guess I'll simply have to try to resist the temptation to do chins for a week, like you said. Too bad that I just got this power rack - now it sits there in my room, tempting me to work out. ;-)

  5. #5
    MikeEnRegalia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Apex Predator View Post
    Tendonitis is my guess- where you're describing the pain is an area that frequently gets sore when people start doing bicep work. Kinda weird to get it from pullups though- you must not have been using your biceps pretty much at all.

    Ibuprofen, ice/heat alternating, and rest.
    I haven't done any biceps work at all in the last year - but I did close grip lat pulldowns (supinated grip) a lot, which involve the biceps quite a lot. Maybe it's simply the move from lat pulldown to actual pull-ups that's putting too much strain on my arms. I'm still quite heavy (220lbs at 6'0''), and like I said above I was really surprised that I could even do one complete pull-up.

    Thanks for the suggestions!

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    Apex Predator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEnRegalia View Post
    I haven't done any biceps work at all in the last year - but I did close grip lat pulldowns (supinated grip) a lot, which involve the biceps quite a lot. Maybe it's simply the move from lat pulldown to actual pull-ups that's putting too much strain on my arms. I'm still quite heavy (220lbs at 6'0''), and like I said above I was really surprised that I could even do one complete pull-up.

    Thanks for the suggestions!
    Sounds about right. For whatever reason, that pain is by far the most common pain I hear about as a result of "getting back into the gym". For whatever reason, those tendons seem to really get inflamed easily by any "overwork". Still, it usually happens after an "arm day", not just some pullups. If it doesn't clear up in a few weeks, have an MD take a look, just to make sure we aren't overlooking something.

  7. #7
    dado's Avatar
    dado Guest
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    this guy tore his bicep muscle when he was trying to lift a car in a snowstorm, and now there is a piece of his muscle missing. don't be that guy.

    rest it, bro!

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