Working Out with Biceps Tendonitis (DON’T SKIP BICEPS!)

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Biceps tendonitis is one of the most common gym injuries that can keep you from working out. The ironic part about this injury is however that it is likely not your biceps workouts and exercises that are causing the problem in the first place. In this video, I show you the real cause of biceps tendonitis and give you hope to be able to continue your biceps workouts despite dealing with this issue.

The anatomy of the biceps is an important place to start when discussing the issue of biceps tendonitis. There are two heads to the biceps; one is the short head which attaches to the coracoid process in the shoulder and the other is the long head which attaches to the top of the glenoid or socket of the shoulder.

When there isn’t adequate strength in the rotator cuff muscles, the head of the humerus migrates upward in the socket any time you perform any overhead lifting exercise. Don’t get confused with the term overhead either. It is possible to be descending through a rep as in the bottom of a pullup and have your upper arm travel up over your head. The important idea is that once the arm travels past shoulder height you are potentially going to have a problem if you have an unbalanced rotator cuff.

When this happens without adequate strength in the cuff you will have your humeral head migrate too far upwards. This can cause pinching and impingement of the structures that sit just above the humeral head and just below the acromion or roof of the shoulder joint. The tendon of the long head of the biceps gets jammed against the roof of the joint and winds up getting pinched.

When you repeat this process over and over (as you would with any series of sets and repetitions in exercises that place the arm overhead) you will get an eventual breakdown and fraying of the tendon. The first stage of this is usually seen in an inflamed biceps tendon which results in biceps tendonitis. The irony again is that traditional biceps curls are likely not to aggravate the condition. In fact, by stimulating blood flow to the muscle, you may actually help the situation to speed healing by including curls rather than avoiding them when this hits.

What you will want to modify however is the amount of overhead pressing, bench pressing or even the position of your arms during squatting. All of these exercises are much more likely to bother a bad shoulder once it is already inflamed or they are causing the pain in the first place. Make adaptations to your training to continue to workout without having to skip arm day all together.

For a complete workout program that places a high priority on controlling pain while maximizing your gains, be sure to head to and get the ATHLEAN-X Training System. See how working around pain and training smart can not only keep the gains coming but for a long time by training like an athlete.

For more videos on how to build big biceps without getting biceps tendonitis, be sure to subscribe to our channel here on youtube at