Located between the biceps muscle and the elbow, the brachialis muscle is important for bending the elbow joint isometrically. As the key muscle directing this action, the brachialis is frequently involved in sports- or exercise-related injuries in which arm flexibility is extensively used, such as tennis or pullups. As a result, brachialis tendonitis commonly afflicts physically active individuals, especially those who engage in repetitive, vigorous movements involving the arm.
Also referred to as "tennis elbow," brachialis tendonitis is a sometimes-recurring problem that requires exercises to reduce the stiffness and pain associated with flareups. Symptoms include concentrated elbow pain, inability to flex the elbow comfortably, swelling around or directly above the elbow, and inflammation. Treatment depends on the severity of symptoms. If extreme brachialis tendonitis is left untreated, carpal tunnel syndrome or bursitis may occur, which require cortisone shots and physical therapy.
Avoiding Brachialis Tendonitis
Because this muscle is routinely used while playing sports or engaging in other physically strenuous activities, regular exercise of the muscle is necessary to avoid straining or tearing the muscle. Simply bending the elbow is not enough to avert an incident of brachialis tendonitis. Specific resistance exercises that target arm tendons are important in preventing this muscle from weakening in between sessions of physical activity.
Barbell curls can train the brachialis muscle. While performing this exercise, keep your back straight and raise the barbell slowly, concentrating on flexing your elbows using a controlled and even movement. The weight of the barbell should correlate with the strength of your arm muscles, as anything too light will not supplement muscle health and anything too heavy may damage the muscle.
Dumbbell Hammer Curls
Dumbbell hammer curls are similar to barbell curls, but exercise a different area of the biceps muscle because you curl the dumbbell toward your shoulder rather than your chest. Keeping your back straight, hold a dumbbell in each hand near the side of your thigh, with your palms facing your thighs. Then, slowly raise the dumbbells, by flexing your elbows, until the dumbbells touch your shoulder. Don’t allow your elbow to leave your side; press the elbow against your body so that only the brachialis muscle is lifting the dumbbells. Perform several dumbbell hammer curls by alternating arms until the muscle feels tight but not painful.
- American College of Sports Medicine Resources for the Personal Trainer, 2007
- Bodybuilding Anatomy; Nick Evans; 2007
- Strength Training Anatomy; Frederic Delavier; 2006