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Pain in My Forearms When I Do Bicep Curling

author image James Connell
James Connell is a nutritionist who has been writing about his field since 2003. He has authored material for Quest Vitamins and various health publications, now advising clients at his private clinic in Wales. Connell has a Bachelor of Science in applied human nutrition from the University of Wales.
Pain in My Forearms When I Do Bicep Curling
Good form is essential to avoiding injury

There are a number of reasons why you might experience pain in your forearms during or after biceps curls. If you work out with weights, experiencing a burn as you approach fatigue, and occasionally feeling sore the following day, are a matter of course. However, injuries caused by resistance training are relatively common, and you should consult your physician if you have pain that is intense or persists.

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Forearm Recruitment During Curls

Although biceps curls are considered an isolation exercise for the biceps, your forearms are also involved in the movement. If you only experience pain during the last few reps of each set, it could be the result of your forearms fatiguing before your biceps. Experiment with different curl variations, such as concentration curls or cable curls, to find a movement that allows you to really feel the contraction in your biceps. You might also benefit from strengthening your forearms with some specific exercises for the muscle group, such as wrist curls and reverse wrist curls.

Elbow Structure and Wrist Position

Depending on the structure of your elbows, you may be anatomically predisposed to pain in your wrists and lower forearms when performing biceps curls with a barbell.This is especially likely if you are a woman. If there is a significant angle at your elbow between your forearm and upper arm, when your arms are hanging relaxed, barbell curls will place excessive stress on your wrists. Use an E-Z bar instead of a straight bar when performing barbell curls, or replace the exercise with a dumbbell variation.

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

Delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS, is the soreness that you begin to feel 12 to 48 hours after an intense workout. Soreness in your forearms, following a strenuous bout of biceps training, is caused by micro-damage to the muscles and is not usually cause for concern. However, you should avoid training your biceps or forearms again until the DOMS has subsided. Massage and stretching exercises for the forearms can hep to alleviate the pain associated with DOMS.


Pain in your forearms can also signal an injury in the area. It is important to learn the difference between soreness and a legitimate injury. Common injuries of the forearms include strains, sprains and tears. If the pain you experience in your forearms during biceps curls is sudden or severe, stop training immediately and seek medical advice. Warming up your forearms with some light sets and stretches, before starting your main workout, can help you avoid injury.

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  • "Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding"; Robert Kennedy; 2008
  • "Strength Training Anatomy"; Frederic Delavier; 2010
  • "The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding"; Arnold Schwarzenegger; 1998
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