Bicep Tendon Tear – Workout Secrets From Fitness Experts To Avoid Torn Biceps

Fitness is something that motivates each and everyone of us. We want to exceed the limits of what we can do. But sometimes because of our carelessness we may damage our body.

Bicep Tendon Tear is one of some injuries that may happen if you don’t do your workout properly and will take time to recover.

But not to worry too much as this blog is about helping you go through it. And help you understand what it is? how does someone get a torn bicep? and any other question that comes in your mind.


Further in the post, you will see opinions from real life victims of bicep tendon tear.

Moreover, 7 FITNESS EXPERTS have shared some great tips for you to avoid bicep tendon tear.

Okay let’s Start:

To know about it first we need to know what a tendon is. A tendon is a band of fibrous tissues. Having both the property of being tough and flexible. Being flexible so that it can withstand tension. The tendon connects our bone to the muscle.

Skeletal muscles are responsible to move our bones thus enabling us to perform different actions. These actions being walking, running, jumping etc. So when our muscle contracts the tendon pulls the bone causing it to perform a movement. In scientific term you can say that the Tendon is a tissue that transmit the force of muscle contraction to the bone.

So a Bicep tendon tear is something that happens when you damage the tendon of your bicep.

Scary stuff isn't it.


What is Bicep Anatomy?

We have two bicep muscle. One for each arm. A bicep muscle has two heads. For the same reason it is called bicep as “Bi” means two.

Our bicep muscle begins at the shoulder. This one head begin as two separate pieces that later merges into a single one midway between our upper arm. And then attaches itself to the forearm just below the elbow.

So now you can guess that Tendons connects the bicep to both shoulder and forearm.

Let’s now take a look at its types:

1: Bicep Tendon Connected to the Shoulder

As the part of Bicep connected to the shoulder has two separate heads of its own.

  • Long Head: This head of both the biceps is connected to the top of your shoulder socket with the help of you guessed right the tendon.
  • Short Head: There is a finger like protrusion on your shoulder blade called coracoid process. The short head of the bicep is connected to this protrusion via tendon. 

2: Bicep Tendon Connected to the Elbow

This end is connected to the forearm(just below the elbow). The larger forearm bone is with what the tendon attach itself with.


bicep anatomy - bicep tendon tear

Location of Bicep Tendon Tear

For each bicep there are three tendons. Two of these tendons are at the shoulder while one is at the just below the elbow at the forearm.

Here's the deal:

A tear can happen at two places:

1. At the Shoulder: 

Bicep tendon tear at shoulder is very common. The shoulder and bicep are connected by two tendons. So any damage, inflammation or irritation to the tendon may cause a tear. 

2. At the Elbow: 

At the elbow there is only one tendon. This tendon is also called Distal Bicep Tendon. The injury to this tendon is not so common. But may happen if any improper workout is done. 


bicep tendon tear locations

Types of Bicep Tendon Tear

So damage to your tendon are not all of the same types. By severity of the injury it can be divided into the following three types.

Partial Bicep Tear

In this type the tendon gets torn but not completely separates from the bone. This happens at both the elbow and shoulder. There are many reasons for a Partial Tear but Mainly it happens because of

  • Just like a worn out rope if the bicep muscles are overused throughout the years without proper care may result in a partial tear of the tendon.
  • Trying to lift an heavyweight suddenly is also a cause for this type of tear.
  • Accidents are also a cause for this type of tear e.g., if you fall on an outstretched arm.

Complete Bicep Tear

This is the last stage of Bicep Rupture as the tendon completely torned. Sometimes if you overuse this it disconnects itself from the bone. A surgery is required to repair a completely torn bicep muscle. This happens when the tendon becomes weaker throughout the years. And no proper care is given. Or may happen because of a sudden trauma or fall.

Bicep Tendinitis or Bicep Tendonitis

It is more of an inflammation than a tear. It may cause a pain at shoulder or elbow and can be healed by using ice packs or anti-inflammatory agents and resting the muscles for a week or two.


Main Causes of Bicep Tendon Tear

How does a person suffers from bicep tendon tear? This question may be in your mind right now. So many things or actions may cause this injury. In the following list is the common causes for tearing of bicep tendon.

Here they are:

Age: As person gets older his tendons become weaker than before. So any elderly person over stressing his muscles may end up causing his tendon to tear.

Overhead Lifting: Suddenly trying to lift a heavy weight that you are not accustomed to may cause the tendon to tear.

Sports: Some sports like swimming, skipping rope and tennis where there is a repetitive overhead motion of arm.

Corticosteroid Medicine: These medicines cause the muscles and tendons weakness.

Smoking tobacco: The occasional puff is also cause of the tear. The nicotine has a bad effect on the nutritions in bicep tendon.

Accidents: Sudden trauma to the forearm or bicep may cause the tendon to tear. For example falling on an outstretched arm.

See this torn bicep infographic for more detail.

Torn Bicep Symptoms

By only feeling pain you cannot tell for sure if it’s a bicep tendon tear or just a stiff shoulder.

But not to worry as this section is all about the symptoms. Here is a list of symptoms of torn bicep tendon.

  • pop or snap sound is heard.
  • If you have a Popeye Muscle because of the gap created by the absence of tendon.
  • Full bicep muscle pain, distal bicep tendon pain or more precisely pain in front if the shoulder or elbow.
  • Visible bruises, swelling of forearm or elbow and bicep tendon strain.
  • Weakness in bending of elbow or while flexing the bicep.
  • Pain while pulling, pushing or any overhead activity.
  • Pain and weakness while trying to twist the forearm.
  • A severe and Sharp pain while trying to move the arm.

So now after it's clear what a bicep tendon tear is, its time to see what experts have to say about this.



Jessie Pavelka about bicep tendon tear

Jessie Pavelka

Jessie Pavelka is internationally recognised as a Fitness and Wellbeing Expert and Specialist in Extreme Weight Loss.

"4 Top Tips To Avoid Bicep Tears:
Coming from a person who has endured the rate of a bicep tear, here are some great ways to avoid or manage bicep tears:  
1- always, ALWAYS warm up before training.  Make sure you are starting your workout with dynamic stretching and elongation and contraction of the muscle.  
2- make sure during your exercises you are in control of the movement and weight.  Keep your form and technique alive during the entire workout.  Swinging, jerking or slamming weights is a sure way to injure or tear your bicep
3- finish your training with some static stretching and myofascial release.  
4- make sure your body is well fueled and hydrated.  Feeding our body with the right nutrients to help repair, strengthen and lubricate it's movements is key.  
Hope this helps 
Six Pack Shortcuts about Bicep Tendon Tear

Six Pack Shortcuts

Six Pack Shortcuts is led by head trainers Clark Shao, Jonny Catanzano, and Henry Tran. They’re the #1 most subscribed trainers on YouTube, and once you check their videos out you’ll see why.

" To prevent a biceps tendon rupture, individuals should:

Warm Up Thoroughly….

Maintain proper strength in the shoulder, elbow, and forearm.

Keep Your Shoulders and Posture Healthy. The Long Head of your Biceps attaches in your shoulder and shoulder health plays a large role in the health of this tendon.
Warm Up Thoroughly.

Use special care when performing activities, such as lowering a heavy item to the ground.

Avoid smoking; it introduces carbon monoxide into the body and leaves less oxygen for the muscles to grow and heal.

Avoid steroid use, as it weakens muscles and tendons.

Avoid repetitive overhead lifting and general overuse of the shoulder, such as performing forceful pushing or pulling activities, or lifting objects that are simply too heavy. Lifting more than 150 pounds can be dangerous for older adults. "


chris ryan explaining bicep tendon tear

Chris Ryan

Chris Ryan is a passionate entrepreneur in the health and fitness fields, a former Division I athlete and top fitness model who regularly appears in numerous magazines ranging from Men's Fitness to Men's Journal.

"1. Loosen up pre/post workout. 
2. Warm-up properly: start out light and avoid going too heavy too quickly on any exercise, but especially w/ accessory work with the biceps. 
3. No need for crazy heavy loads. Moderate to light loads focused on maximal tension and muscle engagement work best to get strong toned arms. Don't worry about doing 65lb curls w/ the dumbbells--grab the 20-30lb'ers and work on the eccentric portion of the lifts as well as static holds and tempo changes to get crazy strong.
4. Don't overtrain. Your biceps don't need to be worked everyday for hours on end. They are accessory muscles and should be treated as such. If you want great looking arms, hit the triceps more as they cover more of your arms.
5. Work the supporting muscles more like the triceps and the posterior muscles like the traps and rhomboids more often to offer support to the bicep muscles. "
paul explaining torn biceps

Paul Reaper Banasiak

Muay Thai Athlete - 9x Champion, 2x World Champion and 2015 Team USA member, 4x American Muay Thai National Champion; Currently 4-0 in Thailand

"I would recommend many of the recovery methods presented as I put them to work when it is already too late. 
Tip 1: Posture - I believe the catalyst to my injury was my posture. The rounded shoulders, overactive pecs and anterior delts and consistent pounding on the shoulder created a recipe for disaster. Posture is a form of prehab, keeping the body aligned in proper position outside of training is crucial as we have to stay rounded within our line of work to protect our chin. Sit up, shoulders down and back, it'll leave you feeling more energized and confident. 
Tip 2: Good Nutrition - A high sugar intake would keep a constant stream of inflammation in my joints, once I cut out sugar and began to focus my nutrition on more anti-inflammatory foods such as coconut oil, salmon, avocados etc. I saw a tremendous difference in recovery time and discomfort. 
Tip 3: Post Training Complex - As mentioned above, we constantly press, sit in a rounded posture, train in a rounded posture and pound on the bag & pads for hours on end. Strengthening the muscles which create the antagonistic motion - pulling. Spend more time on pulls - strict pull ups, rows, proper deadlifts etc. and create a stretch complex that you use everyday after training, use a lacrosse ball to roll out the knots in the "hard to get to" spots within the shoulder and arm. 
I hope this quick write up helps!"
jeremy scott explaining torn biceps

Jeremy Scott

Jeremy is currently a ReebokOne & FitFluential Ambassador and Content Contributor Expert. As well as being a PROLAB/MRI Sponsored Athlete.

" Just off the top of my head for most muscle health

- mix up the grips 

- proper form on all lifts

- keep the tissue healthy 

- always properly warm up, stretch, mobility drills 

- keep the shoulders healthy 

- keep the back strong and have great posture 

- eat well - manage fatigue and program smart with proper rest "

Scott ladiler avoid bicep tendon tear

Scott Laidler

Scott has worked in the health and fitness industry for a decade. His experience includes delivering training services in three continents, and working with military service personnel, paralympic athletes, to the highest level of Hollywood actors.

" 1. Train your biceps thoroughly by utilizing isometric training alongside traditional full and partial range of motion exercises to prepare the bicep for a range of different applications. 

2. Don't over-train the muscle group, your biceps can take quite a pound in your everyday life, so making sure that they are fully recovered before you train them again is always wise. 

3. Be careful when taking on new calisthenics exercises such as muscle ups and hand stands, every muscle involved should be systematically conditioned before jumping in at the deep end.

4. Take steps outside of the gym to ensure fully recovery, this means adequate nutrition, sleep and even recovery therapies such as ice baths and massage. "
scott herman about bicep tendon tear

Scott Herman

As an aspiring entrepreneur, Scott Herman constantly finds himself surrounded by not only success but new opportunities. He is also an accomplished athlete and enjoys sports such as wrestling, soccer, running cross country, boxing and kickboxing.

" Always train with FULL RANGE OF MOTION, especially with biceps. That means FULL LOCKOUT on every repetition. this will help strengthen your muscle and tendons to help avoid future injuries. You can’t expect your distal bicep tendon to handle a full lock-out under a heavy load if you always avoid that part of the movement! "

The experts have explained it completely (we have "Fitness Expert" badge to appreciate them for their helpful expertise).  Now that you know how to avoid torn biceps, here is something for you from sufferers of bicep tendon tear.

Bicep Tendon Tear Fitness Expert Badge

" For what its worth, I am recovering from a bicep tendon tear the other way: it tore at the elbow and the biceps retracted toward the shoulder. Injury was August 11, outpatient surgery two weeks later, and I am almost back to normal now. 
Best of luck, 
Rick "

Rick A, Climber, Colorado

"I did mine last year. Very painful for a few days, especially the actual incident. I visited a leading area ortho doc who was totally useless,and clueless.

Usually you will hear talk of pop-eye syndrome if it's what I have.I didn't see it in the beginning,but much later it was quite evident.My left bicep is noticeable shorter than the undamaged right,the top having shuffled toward the elbow.

We went to Moab shortly afterward,and my climbing sucked.I was freaked about any hard pulling,but on later reflection,there may not have been any further damage to be done.I have led to 10d since,which was about my limit most years so it can be overcome.Some excellent climbers have it,one I know climbs 13's.

Hope this helps with your bicep tendon tear, good luck."

Tomcat, Trad Climber, Chatham N.H.

" I've seen guys come back from this just fine if they just take time to heal. If you try to push you'll just extend healing time and likely cause damage.

Probably look like you have some guns from just one side dont ya

The worst bicep tendon tear i ever saw/heard was a guy that you could tell was juicing hard and was on the bench. About mid way through an extension his distal pec anchor snapped so hard it literally sounded like a broken bone or something. He cracked a couple ribs on that side when the bar came down. He had about 300 or so on the bar and I remember looking over after i heard the snap and seeing the bar his his chest and practically crease his whole side. When they reattached it they had to DIG into his pec from the armpit to locate the end." 


What's the bottom line?

Well.. the experts have pretty much explained every thing that is essential to prevent bicep tendon tear.


If you are unlucky enough to get your bicep tendon ruptured. Here is what you can do for torn bicep treatment and bicep tear surgery.

Furthermore, if you have suffered from bicep tendon injury or you have any tips to avoid torn biceps you can COMMENT we will include your experience in the post so that your experience might help others.

Moreover, please SHARE if you think it was useful! to spread awareness and help others learn and avoid about bicep tendon tear.



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