Weakness in Biceps after chest workout

by Matt

About a month ago, as i was lifting weights I started to notice a tightness in my left elbow.

It went away for about a week or so until I lifted chest again. This time the tightness in my elbow came back. It felt like my biceps tendon was throbbing. Then the next time I went to lift biceps I noticed my arm was progressively getting weaker and weaker by the exercise.

After my workout I noticed my left arm shrunk from 15.25 inches to 14.5 inches, and I was unable to make my left biceps muscle hard.

I didnt lose any strength in turning my palm to face up, and I can still feel the tendon is intact.

I did not feel any pop or notice any swelling or discoloration. I am lifting about 50% less than I could previously and I feel a general weakness in the area.


Joshua Answers:

Hi Matt.

Hmmm. My first response is that you should go see a doctor, but let's investigate.

1. Do you have pain, when lifting or otherwise?

2. Any numbness or tingling in your hand or anywhere else in the arm?

3. Any symptoms other than 'tightness'?

4. When you say weakness, what does
that mean, exactly. Describe in detail.

5. Overall health.

6. History of injury.

7. Anything else of interest going on?

8. Do you have a sense of what is the cause of this?

9. Why exactly are you lifting 50% less. I know, weakness, but what exactly is happening in your experience? Details details details.

10. Is there a specific chest lift that caused this, or is it from overall lifting, or?

Please reply using the comment link below. Do not submit a new submission to answer/reply, it's too hard for me to find where it's supposed to go.
And, comments have a 3,000 character limit so you may have to comment twice.

Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert

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Mar 20, 2010
PART 2 - Weakness in Biceps after chest workout
by: Matt

1. Not anymore, all I notice is a loss of strength in biceps exercises (dumbbell curls, preacher curls, hammer curls, etc.)

2. No

3. When I noticed the pain at first, I had a throbbing pain in my elbow for about 4 hours after my chest workout (bench press, dumbbell incline press, dumbbell flys) the throbbing subsided and I started to feel tightness in my elbow along the tendon that runs on the radial side of my arm.

4. My lifts have gone down considerably. Preacher curls went from approx 110 pounds to approx 50 pounds. dumbbell curls went from approx 45 dumbbell curls to 30's.

I wasnt able to flex my biceps at all for a while, it just seemed like there was no muscle was there, since then I am able to flex again.

5. I am in great health overall, 21 years old 5 feet 8 inches, 170 pounds.

6. No previous injuries at all

7. No

8. I am guessing that it was something to do with my bench press, I normally bench upwards of 250 pounds, sometimes up to 300.

9. As described earlier with the weights, I just feel like all the strength is gone out of my biceps. It has not affected any other workouts (chest, triceps, back, shoulders.) when I do work out biceps I don't feel a fullness in them anymore, all I can feel is tension in the tendon running along the thumb side of my elbow.

I dont have pain after workouts anymore, and I think the tension is just me feeling the pressure of the weight on that tendon instead of on the biceps, in other words, they are not getting worked out at all.

10. I think something to do with bench press but I am unsure

Thanks for your help!

Mar 28, 2010
PART 3 - Weakness in Biceps after chest workout
by: The Tendonitis Expert

Joshua Comments:

Well....it doesn't sound like a rip/tear, but I'm going to leave that to you to determine.

1. On loss of strength: If there is any kind of problem that the nervous system decides is dangerous, it WON'T let you contract muscle past a certain point. Doctors like to think this is nerve damage, and sometimes it is nerve related, but mostly in my experience it's just your body refusing to allow you to hurt yourself.

Ironically, the nervous system isn't all that intelligent. Often once it decides that there is a danger, it is REALLy stubborn about changing it's mind. Add to this that the way the nervous system protects you is with tightness and pain, which basically create the scenario it is trying to avoid.

Like I said, bless it's heart, it's not that smart.

2. Either you tweaked something and the nervous system thinks you're in danger. Or, long story short, you're magnesium deficient and you're now stuck in spasm.

Or things just got too tight, got tweaked, and you're somewhat magnesium deficient.

3. The biceps and the brachioradialis cross the elbow joint and connect on your forearm (on bone). Look up an anatomy picute, poke around your arm, and see if you can tell which one it is.

It's likely they're both super tight, but poke around and see what there is to see.

4. Along the lines of #2, if you're 'stuck', we have to unstick you.

Read my Magnesium for Tendonitis page and follow the link at the bottom of it that goes to the Magnesium Dosage to find out what kind and how much.

Start massaging the biceps and forearm. Firm static pressure for a minute or so at a time. Bend the arm to shorten the muscle, then add static pressure to several places.

Something about static pressure tells the nervous system to release.

Then, bend the arm, firmly grip the biceps, and keep the hold while you -gently- and -slowly- straighten the arm. Just go a few inches, or until you feel some stretch. Don't force it, don't go to far, just keep doing that -gently- over and over.

And, magnesium is key on a chemistry level. If your muslcles are short on mag, they're not going to operate well.

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