Are Bicep Curls Bad For The Rotator Cuff? 8 Things To consider & Ways To Fix

L J Kudos
Are bicep curls bad for the rotator cuff?

Are Bicep Curls Bad For The Rotator Cuff? 8 Things To consider & Ways To Fix

If you have been doing bicep curls recently and felt them more in the deltoid area, or if you have just recovered from a shoulder-related injury, you might be wondering if bicep curls are problematic for your shoulders and in particular the rotator cuff.

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the dangers of bicep curls and whether they’re bad for your rotator cuff.

Some people say that doing too many bicep curls can cause injuries to your rotator cuff, while others claim that this is just a myth.

So, what’s the truth? Are bicep curls bad for a rotator cuff? Let’s take a closer look.

Are bicep curls bad for a rotator cuff?

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that attach the shoulder blade to the upper arm bone. These muscles and tendons stabilize the shoulder joint and enable you to lift your arm. As you know, bicep curls are a type of weightlifting exercise that target the biceps muscle. This muscle is located on the front of the upper arm, just below the shoulder. While bicep curls don’t directly target the rotator cuff muscles, they can indirectly put strain on these muscles if they are performed with poor form. If you do bicep curls with too much weight, or if you swing your arms while doing them, this can put stress on the rotator cuff and lead to injuries. It’s important to always use good form when doing any type of weightlifting exercise, including bicep curls, to avoid putting unnecessary stress on your muscles and joints. If you have any pain in your shoulders or rotator cuff, it’s best to consult with a doctor or physical therapist to find exercises that are safe for you to do.

What is a rotator cuff and what are its functions?

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that attach the shoulder blade to the upper arm bone. These muscles and tendons stabilize the shoulder joint and enable you to lift your arm.

The rotator cuff muscles are the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis. These muscles work together to move the shoulder joint. The rotator cuff tendons attach these muscles to the bones in the shoulder. The rotator cuff muscles and tendons help lift the arm and stabilize the shoulder joint.

The reality of the matter…

So, are bicep curls bad for the rotator cuff muscles? Not if they are done correctly with the right form and with the right weight and you don’t have any current or previous shoulder-related problems.

However, like any exercise, if done incorrectly can cause injury and problems, some of the reasons why bicep curls can be bad for the rotator cuff are detailed below.

Bicep curls can be bad for the rotator cuff muscles if…

You try and lift too heavy

If you are doing bicep curls with too much weight, this can put unnecessary stress on the rotator cuff muscles and lead to injuries. It’s important to only use a weight that you can comfortably lift with good form.

I know your ego might get dented from reducing the weight, but better to have that and stay injury-free, than risk an injury that could take months to heal by trying to lift too much.

Whenever you do bicep curls your front deltoid muscles will also be engaged. If you are lifting too much weight, your front deltoid muscles will be doing most of the work and this can lead to imbalance and injury.

If the weight is too heavy, it may cause your shoulders to take over the movement, which may lead to shoulder problems if you have any pre-existing shoulder issues.

To fix this make sure you are curling a weight which you can handle for the desired number of reps and make sure you are only curling the weight with your biceps and not compensating with any other muscles.

You have previous injury or pain in your shoulders

We have all been there…when we try and get back to lifting before the injury has healed sufficiently and in doing so, end up causing more damage than before.

If you have any previous injuries or pain in your shoulders, it’s best to consult with a doctor before doing any type of weightlifting exercise. They will be able to advise you on what exercises are safe for you to do and how to modify them if necessary.

Additionally, if you experience any pain while doing bicep curls, it’s important to stop immediately and consult with a medical professional.

Trying to lift through the pain barrier can only lead to further injury and is not worth the risk. You should know in yourself if something doesn’t feel right and you need to rest and seek medical help, or if you can push through the exercise.

To fix this – Make sure you are fully healed and have done sufficient rehab on the injury before you embark once again on lifting weights.

Are bicep curls bad for the rotator cuff?

You have weak shoulder muscles

If your rotator cuff muscles are weak, this can put you at greater risk of injury when doing bicep curls. This is because the rotator cuff muscles work to stabilize the shoulder joint and if they are weak, they won’t be able to do their job properly.

Furthermore, if your rotator cuff muscles are not strong enough, you might start using other muscles to help when doing bicep curls. This can result in imbalances, injuries and cause postural problems.

To fix this – Make sure you are strengthening your rotator cuff muscles with exercises such as external rotation, internal rotation, and shoulder shrugs. You should also be stretching these muscles to maintain flexibility.

Related: Why do I feel bicep curls in my joints?

The leverage point is too great

The bigger the weight, the greater the leverage and this can put unnecessary strain on your rotator cuff muscles, as well as your entire back. If you are doing bicep curls with too much weight, it’s important to be extra careful not to swing the weights or use momentum to curl them.

You also need to think of the exercise as a set of imaginary scales with the centre point being your elbow joint. If the weight you are trying to curl is too heavy, your shoulders will have to work extremely hard to maintain stability which will increase the chances of getting an injury because the balancing point is very one-sided.

This isn’t normally a problem, but when doing bicep curls take this into account, as this will compromise your form.

To fix this – Use a weight which allows you to maintain good form and focus on controlled movements. You should also be using a full range of motion, meaning that your elbow joint should go through a complete range of motion when doing the exercise.

You have poor form

If you have poor form when doing bicep curls, this can put strain on your rotator cuff muscles and any number of other muscles depending on how bad your form is.

This is because when done with bad form, the exercise can place unnecessary stress on joints and muscles that are not meant to be doing the work. This can lead to injuries such as strains, tears, and even joint dislocation.

Any kind of leaning backwards or forwards, flaring elbows, tension in shoulders, rounded shoulders or too heavy a weight can lead to bad form.

To fix this – Make sure that you are using good form when doing bicep curls. This means maintaining a neutral spine, keeping your elbows close to your sides, and not swinging the weights. You should also be using a full range of motion, meaning that your elbow joint should go through a complete range of motion when doing the exercise.

You have a major imbalance

If you have a major imbalance between your biceps and your triceps, this can put strain on your rotator cuff muscles. This is because the rotator cuff muscles work to stabilize the shoulder joint and if they are weak, they won’t be able to do their job properly.

Furthermore, if your rotator cuff muscles are not strong enough, you might start using other muscles to help when doing bicep curls. This can result in imbalances, injuries and cause postural problems.

This also applies if you have an imbalance on one side of the body. We all favour one side over another, but if the imbalance is too big, it can put unnecessary strain on the rotator cuff muscles.

To fix this – Make sure you are strengthening your rotator cuff muscles with exercises such as external rotation, internal rotation, and shoulder shrugs. You should also be stretching these muscles to maintain flexibility. In addition, focus on exercises that target the triceps muscle such as tricep dips and overhead extensions. This will help to create a more balanced upper body.

Are bicep curls bad for the rotator cuff?

You have restricted ROM

When you have limited movement in your shoulder joints, it puts pressure on the rotator cuff muscles. This is because these muscles work to stabilize the shoulder joint and if they are not able to move through a full range of motion, they can become strained.

Furthermore, if your range of motion is restricted, you might start using other muscles to help when doing bicep curls. This can result in imbalances, and injuries as well as cause postural problems.

You may have a restricted range of motion due to an injury or maybe it’s something you were born with. Either way, it’s well worth working on improving your ROM to help you get the most out of bicep curls and other exercises.

To fix this – You should focus on exercises that help to improve your range of motion such as shoulder mobility drills, foam rolling, and stretching.

Related: Why Do I Get Thumb Pain Doing Dumbbell Curls? 

Final thoughts…

Bicep curls are a great exercise for building strength in the upper body. However, there are a few things you need to be aware of in order to avoid putting strain on your rotator cuff muscles.

Make sure you have good form, focus on strengthening your rotator cuff muscles and work on improving your range of motion. By doing these things, you can help to avoid injuries and ensure that you are getting the most out of the exercise.

Have you experienced this problem when doing curls? Let us know how these tips worked for you in the comments below!

If you enjoy sport and use CBD to help with your recovery in between gruelling workouts, then you are in the right place. Here at Sport CBDs, we train hard and recover the best way possible…

We have regular workouts (check out the YouTube channel), CBD news and CBD products to help you gain that edge! 

If you wanted to check out the reputable CBD we have on offer here at the site, then please head to the Sport CBDs Store (CLICK HERE). We also do fitness clothing and yoga accessories too. 

Until next time, all the best…

Beginners Upper Body Kettlebell Workout

Lee

Founder – Sport CBDs

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