Forearm Pain When Doing Lateral Raises? 11 Tips To Fix Issue
Forearm pain when performing lateral raises is a common issue that many weightlifters and fitness enthusiasts face. Lateral raises are a popular exercise that primarily targets the shoulders, but the movement also engages the muscles of the arms, particularly the forearms.
The forearm pain can range from mild discomfort to sharp pain, and it can significantly impact one’s ability to perform the exercise correctly.
In this blog, we’ll explore the possible causes of forearm pain during lateral raises, and suggest some strategies to prevent and manage this issue. So, if you’re someone who experiences forearm pain while doing lateral raises, keep reading to find out what might be causing it and how you can overcome it.
Forearm Pain When Doing Lateral Raises?
Forearm pain during lateral raises is a common issue that can occur due to a variety of factors. One of the primary causes is the use of a tight grip, as holding onto the weight too tightly can put excessive strain on the muscles and tendons, leading to pain and discomfort. Another common cause is excessive wrist flexion, which can put the muscles and tendons under considerable stress. Similarly, using weights that are too heavy can also cause problems, as the muscles may not be strong enough to support the load. Poor form during the exercise can also contribute to the pain, particularly if the elbows are not kept slightly bent and the movement is not controlled. Weak grip strength, forearm fatigue, and locking elbows can also lead to discomfort and pain in the forearms during lateral raises. Additionally, tension in the ligaments, tendons, or muscles due to lack of warm-up or previous injury can also be a cause. To prevent forearm pain during lateral raises, it’s essential to maintain proper form, gradually increase weight, and ensure adequate warm-up and stretching before exercising. Strengthening the grip through exercises such as farmers’ walks can also help alleviate forearm pain during lateral raises.
Let’s now look in more detail at why you might feel forearm pain when doing lateral raises and what you can do to prevent it from happening…
1. What type of pain?
When experiencing forearm pain during lateral raises, it’s important to determine the type of pain you are experiencing, as it can provide clues to the underlying cause of the discomfort. Different types of pain can indicate different issues, and understanding the cause can help you address the problem effectively. For example, dull, achy pain may be a sign of muscle fatigue or overuse, whereas sharp, shooting pain may indicate a more severe injury, such as a pulled muscle or tendon.
If the pain is accompanied by swelling, redness, or tenderness, it could be a sign of inflammation or damage to the tendons or ligaments. Determining the type of pain and its location in the forearm can also provide insight into the specific muscles or tendons that are affected. Once you have determined the type of pain, you can take appropriate measures to address the issue, such as adjusting your form, reducing the weight, or resting and allowing your muscles to recover.
Ignoring the pain or pushing through it can exacerbate the problem and lead to more severe injuries, so it’s important to listen to your body and address any discomfort as soon as possible.
2. Tight grip
Having a tight grip during lateral raises can cause pain in the forearms due to the excessive strain it places on the muscles and tendons. When you grip the weights tightly, the forearm muscles contract, creating tension in the tendons and ligaments that attach to the wrist and hand. This tension can become compounded as you perform the lateral raises, especially if you’re using heavy weights, and can lead to fatigue, discomfort, and pain.
The muscles in the forearm that control grip strength are also relatively small, and overuse or overloading them can lead to micro-tears in the muscle fibres, further contributing to pain and discomfort. Additionally, gripping the weights too tightly can limit blood flow to the muscles and tendons, depriving them of the oxygen and nutrients they need to function correctly, which can exacerbate pain and slow the healing process.
To prevent pain in the forearms during lateral raises, it’s important to maintain a relaxed grip and focus on contracting the shoulder muscles rather than gripping the weights tightly. If you find yourself gripping too tightly, consider using wrist straps or lighter weights to reduce the strain on your forearms.
3. Wrist flexion
Wrist flexion can cause pain in the forearms during lateral raises due to the excessive strain it places on the muscles and tendons in the wrist and forearm. When you flex your wrist during the exercise, it places a significant load on the flexor muscles of the forearm, including the flexor carpi radialis, flexor carpi ulnaris, and palmaris longus muscles. These muscles originate in the forearm and attach to the wrist and hand, allowing you to flex your wrist and grip objects. However, when they are overloaded during lateral raises, they can become fatigued and sore, leading to pain and discomfort.
Additionally, excessive wrist flexion can also lead to compression of the median nerve, which runs through the carpal tunnel in the wrist and can cause pain and numbness in the forearm and hand. To prevent wrist flexion-related forearm pain during lateral raises, it’s important to maintain a neutral wrist position throughout the movement and avoid excessive bending or flexion.
You can also use wrist wraps or support to help stabilize the wrist and reduce the load on the muscles and tendons. Finally, strengthening the muscles of the forearm, particularly the extensor muscles, can help balance out the load on the flexor muscles and reduce the risk of injury and pain.
4. Too heavy
Using a weight that’s too heavy during lateral raises can cause pain in the forearms due to the excessive strain it places on the muscles and tendons in the forearm. When you use a weight that is too heavy, the muscles in the forearm must work harder to support the load, leading to increased tension in the tendons and ligaments. This can cause fatigue and pain in the forearm muscles, particularly if you are unable to maintain proper form or control throughout the movement.
Additionally, using a weight that’s too heavy can also increase the risk of injury, as the muscles and tendons may not be strong enough to handle the load, leading to strains or tears. To prevent forearm pain during lateral raises due to heavy weights, it’s important to gradually increase the weight and ensure that you can maintain proper form and control throughout the exercise.
If you experience pain or discomfort in the forearms, consider reducing the weight and focusing on technique until you can perform the exercise without pain. It’s also important to take adequate rest and recovery time between workouts, as overuse can contribute to pain and injury.
5. Strengthen grip
Strengthening your grip by improving the ability of the muscles and tendons in the forearm to handle the load of the weights. There are several exercises that can be used to strengthen the grip, including wrist curls, reverse wrist curls, grip squeezes, and farmer’s walks. Wrist curls involve holding a weight in your hand and curling your wrist upward and downward, while reverse wrist curls involve curling your wrist in the opposite direction.
Grip squeezes involve squeezing a grip strengthener or a tennis ball with your hand, while farmer’s walks involve holding heavy weights and walking for a set distance or time. Incorporating these exercises into your workout routine can help improve grip strength considerably.
Finally, incorporating mobility exercises into your routine can help improve flexibility and reduce tension which will further reduce the risk of pain and injury.
6. Locking elbows
When you lock your elbows, you transfer the weight of the dumbbells from the shoulder muscles to the forearm muscles, putting them under increased tension and strain. Locking your elbows can also cause you to use compensatory movements, such as gripping the weights too tightly or flexing your wrists excessively, which can further increase the strain on the muscles and tendons.
It’s important to focus on maintaining proper form and control throughout the movement, by focusing on engaging the shoulder muscles rather than relying on the forearm muscles, and avoiding the temptation to lock your elbows at the top of the movement.
When doing the exercise make sure you focus on maintaining a slight bend in the elbow and engaging the shoulder muscles throughout the movement.
7. Ligament, tendons or pulled muscles
Ligaments, tendons, or pulled muscles can cause forearm pain when performing lateral raises due to the anatomical structures and biomechanics involved in the exercise. Lateral raises are a shoulder isolation exercise that involves abduction of the arm away from the body. However, during the movement, the forearm muscles, tendons, and ligaments also play a role in stabilizing the wrist and hand. When the weight is lifted in a lateral raise, the muscles and tendons of the forearm are under tension, which can cause strains or sprains if they are not properly warmed up or are already weak or injured.
Several ligaments in the forearm may be susceptible to injury when performing lateral raises. One example is the radial collateral ligament, which is located on the lateral side of the elbow joint and helps to stabilize the joint during movements such as lateral raises. Another example is the ulnar collateral ligament, which is also located at the elbow joint and provides medial stability during forearm movements.
Additionally, the annular ligament, which surrounds the head of the radius bone and allows it to rotate during forearm movements, can also become sprained or strained during lateral raises. These ligaments are all important for maintaining stability and proper movement at the elbow joint, and injury to any of them can cause pain and discomfort in the forearm during lateral raises.
The tendons in the forearm can also be susceptible to injury during lateral raises. One example is the common extensor tendon, which attaches to the lateral epicondyle of the humerus and is responsible for extension of the wrist and fingers. This tendon can become strained or inflamed due to repetitive use or overuse, causing pain and discomfort in the forearm during lateral raises. Another example is the brachioradialis tendon, which attaches to the radial styloid process and is involved in flexion of the elbow joint.
Strain or sprain of this tendon can also lead to pain and discomfort during lateral raises, as the exercise involves movement at the elbow joint. Finally, the biceps tendon, which attaches to the radial tuberosity and is involved in supination of the forearm, can also become strained or sprained during lateral raises due to the tension placed on the tendon during the exercise. Injury to any of these tendons can cause pain and discomfort in the forearm during lateral raises, and it is important to warm up adequately and use proper form to prevent injury.
The muscles in the forearm that are involved in wrist and hand movements can also become strained or sprained during lateral raises. One example is the extensor carpi radialis muscle, which is responsible for extending the wrist and abducting the hand. This muscle can become strained or injured due to repetitive use or overuse during lateral raises, causing pain and discomfort in the forearm. Another example is the brachioradialis muscle, which is involved in flexion of the elbow joint and is also recruited during lateral raises to help stabilize the arm.
Strain or sprain of this muscle can also lead to pain and discomfort in the forearm during lateral raises. Additionally, the supinator muscle, which is responsible for supination of the forearm, can become strained or sprained during lateral raises due to the tension placed on the muscle during the exercise. Injury to any of these muscles can cause pain and discomfort in the forearm during lateral raises, and it is important to warm up adequately and use proper form to prevent injury.
8. Not warming up and tension
A warm-up helps to increase blood flow and temperature in the muscles, preparing them for the upcoming exercise. Without proper warm-up, the muscles may not be adequately prepared for the stress placed on them during lateral raises, increasing the risk of injury. Tight muscles can also contribute to forearm pain during lateral raises.
When the muscles in the forearm are tight, they may not have the flexibility to properly move during the exercise, leading to strains or sprains. Additionally, tight muscles can also compress nerves in the forearm, causing pain and discomfort. Common muscles that may become tight during lateral raises include the extensor carpi radialis, brachioradialis, and supinator muscles, all of which play a role in stabilizing the forearm during the exercise.
Stretching before and after exercise can help to alleviate tightness and prevent injury. Overall, it is important to properly warm up and maintain flexibility in the forearm muscles to prevent pain and injury during lateral raises.
9. Previous injury
An injury such as a sprain or strain can weaken the tendons, ligaments, or muscles in the forearm, making them more susceptible to further injury during exercise. Scar tissue can also form during the healing process, which can limit mobility and flexibility in the affected area, increasing the risk of injury during movements such as lateral raises. In addition, compensatory movements can occur as a result of the injury, leading to altered mechanics and stress on different areas of the forearm, causing further pain and discomfort.
It is important to properly rehabilitate and fully heal from a previous injury before resuming exercise to prevent further damage. A healthcare professional may recommend specific exercises or modifications to prevent further injury and promote healing. Additionally, it is important to listen to your body and stop the exercise if pain or discomfort is experienced. It may also be helpful to start with lighter weights and gradually increase as strength and stability improves.
10. Lack control
A lack of control, particularly during the eccentric (lowering) phase of lateral raises, can contribute to forearm pain. During the eccentric phase, the muscles are lengthening while still under tension, and it is important to maintain control to prevent injury. If the weight is lowered too quickly or with excessive force, it can place stress on the tendons, ligaments, and muscles in the forearm, causing pain and discomfort. Additionally, if the weight is not lowered in a controlled manner, it can result in excessive momentum, leading to altered mechanics and an increased risk of injury.
It is important to focus on maintaining control during both the concentric and eccentric phases of the exercise and to use an appropriate weight that allows for proper form and control. Gradually increasing weight and incorporating eccentric strengthening exercises can also help to improve control and prevent injury.
The amount of volume, or the number of sets and reps, performed during lateral raises can contribute to forearm pain. Performing too many sets or reps can lead to overuse and fatigue of the muscles in the forearm, increasing the risk of injury. Additionally, performing lateral raises too frequently without adequate rest and recovery can also contribute to overuse injuries. Overuse injuries such as tendinitis or muscle strains can cause pain and discomfort in the forearm, making it difficult to perform the exercise.
It is important to gradually increase the volume of lateral raises to prevent overuse injuries and allow for proper recovery. Proper rest and recovery between workouts can also help to prevent injury and promote healing. Additionally, incorporating exercises that target different muscles in the shoulder and upper back can help to reduce the amount of stress placed on the forearm during lateral raises, further reducing the risk of injury.
Do lateral raises work forearms?
Yes, lateral raises can help to work and strengthen the forearms. It is one of the best exercises for strengthening the shoulder muscles while simultaneously working the forearms as well. Lateral raises involve lifting weights from your sides up until they are parallel with your shoulders and then slowly lower them back down. This movement helps to increase muscular endurance in the arms and also helps to build strength in the forearms. Do this exercise with a light weight and as many repetitions as possible for best results.
Why do I get pain in my forearms when I lift?
Pain in the forearms when lifting weights can be caused by a number of factors. These include overuse injuries, tendonitis, and improper technique. Overuse injuries occur when muscles and tendons are worked too hard or too frequently without proper rest and recovery time. Tendonitis is inflammation of the tendons, which can be caused by repetitive motions or incorrect technique. Improper technique can also cause pain in the forearms, as it puts extra stress on muscles and joints. To prevent pain in the forearms when lifting weights, make sure to take breaks between sets and use the correct form while performing exercises. Additionally, using lighter weights may help alleviate strain on the arms until the proper technique is mastered.
Can you overtrain forearms?
Yes, you can overtrain your forearms if you work them too hard or too often. The muscles in your forearms are small and fatigue quickly, so it’s important to give them adequate rest between strengthening sessions. Aim to work your forearms a maximum of two times per week, making sure that you’re mixing up the exercises and giving yourself plenty of time for recovery. Furthermore, make sure to use proper form when doing exercises that involve your forearms – this will help avoid injury and ensure you’re targeting the right muscles. Finally, don’t forget to stretch before and after any forearm workout routine to help reduce soreness and promote recovery. In short, stick to a moderate schedule and be aware of your body’s limits to avoid overtraining your forearms.
Why do lateral raises hurt my arms?
Lateral raises are an excellent exercise for building strength and definition in the shoulder muscles. However, if done improperly or with too much weight, they can cause pain and discomfort in your arms. Improper form is one of the most common causes of arm pain during lateral raises. If you’re lifting too heavy or not engaging your core properly, it can cause imbalances throughout the entire body, leading to pain and discomfort in your arms. Additionally, performing too many repetitions with heavy weight can lead to tissue fatigue and soreness. Finally, improper warm-up or stretching prior to lifting can also contribute to arm pain during lateral raises. To avoid this problem, make sure you use light weights at first and focus on proper form, gradually increasing the weight as you get stronger. Additionally, make sure to take time for a proper warm-up and cool down with stretching to reduce your risk of injury. If you follow these guidelines, you should be able to enjoy the benefits of lateral raises without any arm pain or discomfort.
Does forearm tendonitis go away?
In many cases, yes. Forearm tendonitis can be treated with rest, ice, and other conservative treatments. Depending on the severity of your injury, you may need to take a break from activities that involve repetitive motions or strain your forearm muscles. Over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help reduce inflammation and pain. Physical therapy exercises may also be recommended to help strengthen and stretch your forearm muscles, which can reduce the risk of injury or recurrent tendonitis. In more severe cases, corticosteroid injections may be needed to reduce inflammation and help speed up the healing process. With proper treatment, most people with forearm tendonitis will experience full recovery. However, it is important to note that if you suspect you have forearm tendonitis, make sure to seek medical advice from a health professional as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment can help reduce the likelihood of further injury or complications.
Forearm pain during lateral raises is a common issue that can arise from a variety of causes. It is important to address the underlying factors such as improper form, tight grip, excessive weight, lack of control, and high volume in order to prevent injury and discomfort. Additionally, stretching before and after exercise and gradually increasing the amount of volume can help to reduce the risk of forearm pain.
Taking the time to properly warm up, use appropriate weights, and focus on proper form can also help to reduce forearm pain and improve exercise performance. With these tips in mind, you should be able to perform lateral raises without worrying about forearm pain.
Do your forearms hurt when doing lateral raises and have these tips helped? Let me know in the comments section below.
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