Working Out with Biceps Tendonitis (DON’T SKIP BICEPS!)

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Biceps tendonitis is one of the most common gym injuries that can keep you from working out. The ironic part about this injury is however that it is likely not your biceps workouts and exercises that are causing the problem in the first place. In this video, I show you the real cause of biceps tendonitis and give you hope to be able to continue your biceps workouts despite dealing with this issue.

The anatomy of the biceps is an important place to start when discussing the issue of biceps tendonitis. There are two heads to the biceps; one is the short head which attaches to the coracoid process in the shoulder and the other is the long head which attaches to the top of the glenoid or socket of the shoulder.

When there isn’t adequate strength in the rotator cuff muscles, the head of the humerus migrates upward in the socket any time you perform any overhead lifting exercise. Don’t get confused with the term overhead either. It is possible to be descending through a rep as in the bottom of a pullup and have your upper arm travel up over your head. The important idea is that once the arm travels past shoulder height you are potentially going to have a problem if you have an unbalanced rotator cuff.

When this happens without adequate strength in the cuff you will have your humeral head migrate too far upwards. This can cause pinching and impingement of the structures that sit just above the humeral head and just below the acromion or roof of the shoulder joint. The tendon of the long head of the biceps gets jammed against the roof of the joint and winds up getting pinched.

When you repeat this process over and over (as you would with any series of sets and repetitions in exercises that place the arm overhead) you will get an eventual breakdown and fraying of the tendon. The first stage of this is usually seen in an inflamed biceps tendon which results in biceps tendonitis. The irony again is that traditional biceps curls are likely not to aggravate the condition. In fact, by stimulating blood flow to the muscle, you may actually help the situation to speed healing by including curls rather than avoiding them when this hits.

What you will want to modify however is the amount of overhead pressing, bench pressing or even the position of your arms during squatting. All of these exercises are much more likely to bother a bad shoulder once it is already inflamed or they are causing the pain in the first place. Make adaptations to your training to continue to workout without having to skip arm day all together.

For a complete workout program that places a high priority on controlling pain while maximizing your gains, be sure to head to and get the ATHLEAN-X Training System. See how working around pain and training smart can not only keep the gains coming but for a long time by training like an athlete.

For more videos on how to build big biceps without getting biceps tendonitis, be sure to subscribe to our channel here on youtube at


Daniel Brunner says:

I triggered some bad biceps tendinitis by trying to increase shoulder flexibility for back squats. It got a bit better after some physical therapy but immediately after I stopped it got much worse and is clicking in many directions. I just want to get back to working out!

strongspeed says:

i've had problems during bench press with this- not right at the shoulder but about 2 inch down the arm

Primanshu says:

Can bicep tendonitis be healed completely? Its stopping me from hitting the gym :(( it really sucks. Would it heal completely?

Greg Nixon says:

Thanks for the video. Being in the gym always ends the same way after 3 months for me: shoulder pain that lasts about 2 months, and all my gains evaporate. I can’t do anything that involves my left shoulder – pushups, benching with a bar or dumbbells, machines, nothing.

Logan Jackson says:

I'd like to know how to train shoulders with bicep tendonitis /and labrum tear . Please . Thanks. I can't do laterals or pressing never have been able to. If u don't make the video for me do it for everyone out there with the same issue I'm sure I can't be the only one

Chad Penton says:

Jeff, you may never see this but…

This is exactly the issue I am having. I have been having issues with my shoulder/supra and infraspinatus for months and have been going to physio. I was feeling good and decided to lift weights, light, for the first time 2 days ago in a very long time and my biceps long head tendon was just burning. I cannot find relief or get back to lifting. Do you think I should stick with the physio even though I feel it'll take forever, or would you suggest a cortisone shot? I would love to hear back for you. Thanks, bro.

Barish Tugrul says:

This video perfectly explains why freestyle swimming can potentially lead to biceps tendonitis, which is my current case! Thanks a lot!

stomna sacmata says:

damn i literally have the pain when doing pull ups chin ups bench and squat lol why i didnt see this video sooner

TGrant42 says:

I have bicep tendonitis . It’s a persistent problem and I’ve found that it’s not going away. Anybody able to link any other videos from Jeff or any others for how best to treat it? Thank you!

Jace Bell says:

I think my sqaut form is what helped cause this problem? How would you suggest I place the bar for less problems to be able to continue squatting

Jamie says:

Can someone please help me out, is Bicep tendonitis the same as shoulder impingement? Because I have it, but can't distinguish between the terms, and therefore specify the treatment. Thanks

William says:

Hurt mine doing crossover cables for chest. Only had 20lbs on each side too.

DMC says:

My pain is near the bicep connected to the forearm

MT KILLA says:

I have distal bicep tendonitis. Its not painful when working out but its a burn like dumbbell raises. I dont feel the burn on my actual bicep so im confused because my form is good i keep my shoulders back and elbow still yet i get the same result. People been telling me to lift lighter weights but i can handle what im lifting rn. Any help?

Varun Cariappa says:

Man you are phenomenal ,no one has given such a positive approach to the problem , I have been suffering tendonitis and bursitis from 2 years the pain keep s coming back ,so yes there is no point completely stop working out, ur shoulder will just get more weaker and more pain in the end , thank you

Mikayla McLaughlin says:

All of the rotator cuff exercises that I try tend to bother my bicep tendonitis even more with the repetitive movements. Any suggestions on some rotator cuff exercises that don't pinch the bicep tendon repeatedly?

Ronbo Nick says:

Thank You Jeff I needed this

Ian Cassady says:

Was lacking in shoulder this week but it happens every once in a while, nice to know how to help it and how to strengthen that muscle


I am having like a light problem, with it,what about trening should we train ?

RobinHood says:

So I have a bicep strain right now. It is because of my shoulders???

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