Forearms Hurt Doing Barbell Curls? Answers Here
If you’re like most of us, then building up your biceps with classic barbell curls is a staple in your fitness routine.
But if you’re experiencing any kind of forearm pain while doing it – whether that’s just general soreness or something more serious – then you might be wondering what the issue is.
Don’t worry, forearm pain caused by barbell curls is quite common and there are ways to address the issue so that you can keep hitting those gains in comfort!
In this blog post, we’ll explore why your forearms may hurt when doing barbell curls and how best to treat and prevent such pain going forward. So let’s get started!
Forearms hurt doing Barbell Curls?
The first step in addressing any kind of forearm pain when doing barbell curls is to check your form and technique. Are you gripping the bar too tightly? Is the grip width right for your body type? Are you keeping your wrist neutral while curling, or are you letting your wrists move as you lift? All these factors can contribute to forearm pain. It could be that the barbell is too far away from your body or that you’re curling too heavy for your current strength level. It’s important to ensure that you use a weight which allows you to feel tension in the muscle but not so much pressure on your joints and tendons. It could be that you’ve developed tendonitis or a similar injury due to overuse. Forearms are often weaker than the rest of our upper body muscles, so when we don’t train them regularly they can become prone to such injuries. If this is the case, then it’s important to give your forearms an extra workout on their own, or maybe they just need a little time to catch up strength-wise. Alternatively, it could be that you’re not performing the full range of motion (ROM) with your barbell curls or are having issues because of tight muscles in the area. Warming up your muscles before any kind of exercise is crucial, and it’s especially important when doing barbell curls. It could also be the case that you’re just feeling the after-effects of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) from a previous workout. This kind of soreness is quite common and should subside with time.
Forearm pain from barbell curls is normally an easy fix, so don’t get discouraged. The key is to take a step back and assess the situation before jumping into any drastic measures.
New to barbell curls?
If barbell curls are something that is new to you, then it’s inevitable that the strain on your forearms and hands is going to be a little intense at first.
The new stimulus can be a shock to your body, so take it easy and give yourself time to get used to the movements.
Forearm strength often lags behind bicep strength, so it’s important to take things slowly when introducing new exercises and movements into your routine. Start with lighter weights and as you get used to the movement patterns, gradually increase the weight and focus on your form.
It can also be helpful to take a few days off between arm workouts or switch up the exercises slightly each time to give your muscles a chance to recover properly. And don’t forget to pay attention to your posture, grip and hand placement when curling!
If you haven’t trained your arms before, your forearms will naturally feel tired and sore as your muscles adjust to the new movement patterns. This is normal and should dissipate with time.
It’s also important to pay attention to your grip when doing barbell curls. If you’re gripping the bar too tightly, you’ll be putting additional strain on your forearm muscles and tendons. Try to relax your grip as much as possible while still holding the bar securely.
The best way to do this is to focus on keeping your wrists neutral while curling, and to spread your fingers apart slightly. This will allow you to perform the exercises with more control, and also reduce the amount of pressure on your forearms.
If you try to hold on to the bar too firmly, your arms will tire quickly and being unable to reap the full benefits of this exercise. Furthermore, it can also increase your chances of injury.
Therefore, keep in mind that having a firm grip is important but don’t overdo it! If you can feel that your forearms are tight and tense while holding the barbell, then release your grip slightly until the tension eases.
When curling with a barbell, it’s also important to pay attention to your grip width. The wider the grip, the more strain on your forearms.
You should try to use a grip that is comfortable and feels natural, as this will minimize the strain on your forearms. Remember, the goal is to isolate your bicep muscles as much as possible and minimize forearm involvement.
It’s also important to make sure that your grip width is consistent with the width of your shoulders. If it’s too wide, you won’t be able to get a full range of motion, which can further increase the strain on your forearms.
Whereas, if you hold the bar with a narrow grip, it can cause excessive strain on your wrists, while also feeling unnatural and uncomfortable. Wrist pain is a common issue for many lifters, so if you find yourself experiencing any discomfort, take a step back and evaluate your form.
When curling, you should also pay attention to the movement of your wrists. Whenever there’s wrist flexion or extension during the curl, it takes away from the exercise, as it shifts the focus onto your forearms instead of your biceps.
To prevent this from happening and to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your curls, it’s important to keep your wrists in a neutral position throughout the entire range of motion. This will help keep the focus on your biceps and minimize the amount of strain placed on your wrists and forearms.
If you feel like your wrists are bending during the curl, take a step back and focus on keeping them as straight as possible. This will also help you maintain good form and you’ll be able to avoid any unnecessary injuries.
When you experience any type of wrist flexion or extension, it is likely an indication that the weight you are attempting to lift is too heavy for your current strength.
So, reduce the weight and focus on keeping those wrists neutral when curling.
Form and technique
These are key when it comes to avoiding forearm pain while doing barbell curls. Forearms naturally become sore and tired from this exercise, especially if your forearm strength is lacking but paying attention to your form and technique can really make a difference.
Make sure your elbows are tucked into your sides and the bar is close to your body. Ensure that you keep your wrists in a neutral position and grip the bar correctly for your body type.
You should brace the body while curling the barbell, but the only movement should be coming from the elbow joint.
Remember, you should be isolating your biceps as much as possible and keeping the strain off your forearms. So, focus on proper form and technique to reduce the chance of any discomfort or injury.
There should be no swinging, jerking or using momentum during the curl and you should always use a weight which feels challenging but not too heavy. Once you have these fundamentals down, you will be able to reap the full benefits of this exercise without any additional forearm pain.
Barbell too far away
If the barbell is too far away from your body, this can also cause discomfort in your forearms. This happens when you grip the bar with a wide grip, which can put extra strain on your wrists and forearms.
To remedy this, try to keep the bar as close to your body as possible, while also ensuring that you maintain a consistent grip width.
You should also make sure to keep your elbows tucked in and your wrists neutral throughout the entire range of motion.
If you notice that your elbows aren’t snugly tucked into the sides of your body, or if your biceps are not horizontal and distanced from your torso, this may be an indicator that the barbell is too far away and as a result, you’re placing additional strain on your forearms having to work harder to stabilise the weight.
This once again is a sign that you’re trying to curl a weight that’s too heavy for you. Reduce the weight and work on your form once again.
Curling too heavy
It’s easy to get carried away when lifting weights and sometimes go a bit too heavy. Forearm pain is usually an indication that you’re trying to curl a weight that’s too heavy for you.
If your wrists are bending while curling, or if you can’t keep the barbell close to your body, you will most likely need to reduce the weight.
Form and technique are key when it comes to this exercise, so focus on keeping your wrists in a neutral position, elbows tucked into your sides and the barbell close to your body.
Make sure you are in full control of the barbell at all times and that you also aren’t rushing the movement.
To ensure your bicep curls are done properly, it is essential to maintain a neutral wrist position as often as possible. When the weight becomes too heavy for you, it can be tempting for your wrists to unintentionally flex and move towards your body – but that’s not what we’re aiming for here.
Keeping those arms and wrists in check will result in maximum performance on this exercise!
It’s important to remember that some tension in your forearms is normal when doing bicep curls. Forearm muscles are working to stabilise the weight throughout the movement.
However, if you find that your forearms feel overworked or sore after completing your sets, it’s important to take note of this and adjust the weight accordingly.
If you are looking to curl a weight that is heavy for you, then you might be tense even before you begin the movement in anticipation.
As you prepare to lift the barbell, make sure that your body is relaxed and not overly rigid. If there is tension in your hands or shoulders, ease off of the weight until it feels more comfortable.
Tension can transfer from your arms to other parts of your body, so it’s important to maintain a relaxed state throughout the entire range of motion.
There needs to be a little tension before you lift to prepare your body for action, but not too much that it starts to hurt or put you off of the exercise altogether.
If you’re feeling a sharp, shooting pain on the outer side of your forearm then it could be that you have forearm Splints.
Forearm splints are similar to shin splints and they occur when muscles become overly tight due to excessive use, which can lead to inflammation and pain in the tendons.
Forearm splints can be very painful and should not be ignored as they can lead to more serious injuries if not treated.
The best way to treat forearm Splints is with rest and ice, followed by gentle stretching and strengthening exercises to help regain mobility in the forearm muscles. You may also need to create an exercise program that focuses on balance, as forearm Splints are usually caused by imbalances in the forearm muscles.
To reduce the pain caused by forearm Splints, try to avoid any overuse of the same muscle group and take regular breaks in between sets.
If you are experiencing forearm pain that is more than just muscle soreness, then it could be that you have forearm Tendonitis, Golfers or Tennis Elbow.
Tendonitis – Forearm Tendonitis occurs when the forearm muscles become overly tight due to overuse. This can lead to inflammation and pain in the forearm tendons. Forearm Tendonitis can be treated with rest and ice, followed by gentle stretching and strengthening exercises to help regain mobility in the forearm muscles.
Golfers/Tennis Elbow – Forearm pain that originates from Golfers or Tennis elbow can be caused by repetitive motions during your workouts, especially when it comes to forearm exercises. To avoid forearm injuries you should use proper form and technique while exercising and ensure that the forearm muscles are not under too much strain at any given time.
These injuries are caused by overuse and repetitive motions, so if you have been curling heavy weights for a long period of time then it can put strain on these tendons and cause inflammation.
The best way to treat forearm Tendonitis, Golfers or Tennis elbow is to rest for a few days and give curls a break. Ice can also help with inflammation, as well as taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication for a few days.
You should know that the pain you experience with forearm Tendonitis, Golfers or Tennis elbow is different to the soreness of muscular pain. Forearm injuries will often be accompanied by swelling or bruising, as well as a sharp or burning sensation.
It is important to take the necessary steps to rest and treat forearm injuries, as failure to do so can lead to more serious problems if left untreated.
If it seems like your forearms are the weak link when it comes to curls, then you should focus on strengthening them. Forearm exercises should be incorporated into your routine, like wrist curls and reverse wrist curls.
You can also use forearm grips during your workouts to add extra resistance and focus on forearm muscles. Forearm grips are a great way to increase strength and prevent Forearm injuries as they act as a cushion between the barbell and your forearm.
The forearm houses multiple muscles, such as pronator teres, flexor carpi radialis longus, palmaris longus, flexor carpi ulnaris and finally the flexor digitorum superficialis. All these muscles originate primarily from the humerus’ medial epicondyle.
All these Forearm muscles work together to perform various Forearm motions and should be trained together.
It’s important to remember that forearms are like any other muscle group, and they need to be worked out with proper form and technique in order to see any gains. Forearm muscles should be worked out just as much, if not more than larger muscle groups, as forearms are often the weak link when it comes to big lifts.
Range of motion
If you are experiencing forearm pain when curling and you have checked your form and technique, it could be that you are not using a full range of motion (ROM) when performing the exercise. When curling, make sure you are using a full ROM and that your forearm muscles are actively engaged throughout the entire movement.
If you are still experiencing forearm pain even though you are using a full ROM, it could be that you have muscle imbalances in your forearms. Forearm muscle imbalances can occur when one forearm muscle is weaker than the other and it causes them to become tight and painful.
Take time to train your forearms, so that all the forearm muscles are evenly worked out and strengthened. This will help you to use a full ROM and ensure that your forearms are performing optimally during your workouts.
If you are not able to curl with a full ROM or your forearm muscles tire out quickly, then it could be that you haven’t warmed up adequately before the exercise. Forearm muscles that are not warm can cause stiffness and tightness, which can lead to forearm pain when using full ROM.
Take time to warm up your muscles before doing any kind of forearm exercises, by doing some light stretching for a few minutes.
When you do curls using an ez bar, the load on your forearm muscles is more balanced, thus reducing strain and alleviating some of the tension.
The ez bar is slightly curved due to its angled grips, which can help take some pressure off the forearm muscles and make it easier to curl the weight.
It is important to use an ez bar with a comfortable grip width, as this will help you to keep your forearm muscles in a neutral position and prevent any injuries.
The way the bar is angled also helps reduce strain on your wrists, which is especially important if you have weak wrists and forearm muscles.
If you have ROM issues, the EZ bar can be really helpful as your wrists aren’t under as much strain when curling with the EZ bar.
I find curling with an EZ bar so much more comfortable on my wrists, due to the way the handles are contoured.
If you are experiencing forearm pain when curling, it is important to check your form and technique first. Forearm muscles can easily become strained if you are gripping the bar too tightly, or curling with a weight that is too heavy.
It is important to use a comfortable grip width when curling and to ensure that you are using a full range of motion. Forearm muscle imbalances can also cause pain, so it is important to ensure that all your forearm muscles are worked out evenly.
Make sure there’s no wrist flexion or extension when curling and consider switching to an EZ bar if you have weak wrists or ROM issues. Warm up your muscles and take time to stretch before curling to ensure that your forearm muscles are not stiff and tight.
If all else fails, consult with a professional to get an accurate diagnosis. Taking care of your forearms can help you avoid pain and injuries in the long run.
Have your forearms hurt when doing barbell curls? Let me know in the comments below!