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Barbell Forearm Splints

chloroflexus

Level 3 Valued Member
I haven't been able to find any good information on this, so I thought it was probable someone here had experienced this.

I started a lifting program about a year ago that does about 12 hard sets per focus area. I do 4-6 reps until I have the weight mastered, and then I up the weight and start over until I can master 6 reps. After a few months, I noticed my forearms hurt while doing curls on a straight bar but not hammer curls with dumbells. So I bought a curl bar and that helped for a bit, but then the pain came back. It feels like shin splints, which I suffered from playing basketball growing up, but it's along the edge of the ulna about a third of the way up from the elbow.

To try to help it, I started doing higher reps, 10-12, at lower weights. I have also intermittently done some forearm curls with a bar to try to increase my forearm strength. It seems to help, but I am still having some pain.

When I played basketball, there often wasn't a choice. If I didn't practice, I didn't play, so I grunted through shin splints. Sometimes, taping would enable me to get through practice; however overall, it was just time and suffering through it that eventually got rid of them. Is the approch here similar? Does anyone have a similar experience and was able to get through it? I know there's the common thing to rest until it's better, and I guess I can eventually get there, but I'd rather modify or do something else until I can get through this. The pain has become more tolerable, to the point of being able to do curls at lower weights, but if I try to do some some movements involving forearms, it will still hurt.

Thanks!
 

watchnerd

Level 8 Valued Member
I noticed my forearms hurt while doing curls on a straight bar but not hammer curls with dumbells.

So why not just do hammer curls?

Or whatever else is comfortable?

There are a few curl varieties that are less comfortable for me -- I don't do those.

Because there are so many curl varieties to choose from, and I'm not a bodybuilder trying to sculpt to the nth degree, I just pick whatever is comfortable.

I don't even do the same curl types in any given workout.

I set the timer and just do whatever random curl type I feel like that day and do 2-3 sets of rep outs.

Last workout I did concentration DB curls. Before that I did EZ bar. Before that barbell. Before that incline hammer curls. Etc.
 

jayjo

Level 5 Valued Member
I had to quit doing curls and pullups altogether from elbow tendonitis pain. But when I do KB Cleans I get an arm pump.
Try some Cuffs from Mark Bell Slingshot company.
 

Ap0c

Level 5 Valued Member
I can get forearm splints when I work my 1-arm pushups. In that case, it really matters how I am aligning my forearm with the connection to whatever I am pushing (e.g. in a bench press it is common to advise vertical forearms at the bottom). I don't know if there is an analogous fix for your curling technique.

However, I do also notice that symptoms seem proportional to how quickly I let tension dissipate in the tricep. If I gradually ease the tension by coming through the top 10-20% of the lift very slowly, and then even being careful to shift weight off the limb slowly when I am done with the set, this seems to not produce symptoms. I've had similar experiences with different irritated areas like hip flexors at the top of a squat, and some erector muscles in deadlift variations.

Mine's never really gone away, so I just don't focus on 1-arm pushups any more. Other pushing variations don't seem to bother it as much. If you can find a variation that doesn't hurt so much, I would just invest in that.
 

Ege

Level 6 Valued Member
I do use bands to do finger extension exercise (Stolen from S&S book by pride) every time I do sth that challenges my grip, and I do wrist stretches regularly. I believe those keep my forearms, wrist, elbow, issue free. But did not suffer from any serious injury. The only body part that for some reason I do preventive exercises to my best knowledge.
 

Boris Bachmann

Level 7 Valued Member
Make sure your shoulder girdle mobility is reasonable and that you're stretching out/doing some mobility work for your forearms. Until things resolve, avoid doing the things that hurt or at least severely curtail your volume on them. After at least a few weeks, test the waters a little, but don't overdo it and, as long as things seem improved, slowly build back on those exercises.

I've had elbow issues from time to time. I don't do a lot of bicep work, but pull-ups/chins can aggravate them if I'm not careful.
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Team Leader Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Sinister
However, I do also notice that symptoms seem proportional to how quickly I let tension dissipate in the tricep. If I gradually ease the tension by coming through the top 10-20% of the lift very slowly, and then even being careful to shift weight off the limb slowly when I am done with the set, this seems to not produce symptoms. I've had similar experiences with different irritated areas like hip flexors at the top of a squat, and some erector muscles in deadlift variations.

Really interesting observation. I wonder if a tendon expert might be able to explain what's going on there. I totally understand what you mean, and have experienced it.

Also, as a side note, people who have keen observation skills like this and are creative in their approach to training can often continue to train in many situations where others know not what to do, other than "rest". The cumulative results of being able to maintain the continuity of the training process (i.e. finding a way to keep training without making the problem worse) are significant.
 

watchnerd

Level 8 Valued Member
Really interesting observation. I wonder if a tendon expert might be able to explain what's going on there. I totally understand what you mean, and have experienced it.

Also, as a side note, people who have keen observation skills like this and are creative in their approach to training can often continue to train in many situations where others know not what to do, other than "rest". The cumulative results of being able to maintain the continuity of the training process (i.e. finding a way to keep training without making the problem worse) are significant.

Me, too.

I think it's due to an agonist / antagonist interaction between the triceps and the role of the biceps as the opposing stabilizer that prevents elbow hyperextension / dislocation.

Counterintuitively, I get less issues after snatches and jerks when I do curls after.

Like Klokov. ;)

 
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Sam Goldner

Level 5 Valued Member
Sorry I’m late getting to this; @Anna C, thanks for roping me in.

Remember, this is just internet advice
Generally, it sounds like you overworked one/some of your forearm flexors. Their path down the arm is from the ulna side of the elbow towards the wrist (you can see/feel them bulge if you flex your wrist with the palm up. They also help flex the elbow when you keep the palm turned up…like when doing traditional bicep curls. Changing which way your palm is pointing alters which muscles in your forearm are helping; brachioradialis when using a neutral grip, some of the forearm extensors when using a palm down grip.

Transitioning to low load/high volume curls with palms up is a good idea. Pair that with neutral and palm down curls using your traditional loading scheme. That should help stimulate the irritated muscles/tendons while allowing them to build back up. A nice forearm stretch a few times throughout the day should also be beneficial. Another thing to consider is changing your programming; it’s possible you’re doing more work for those muscles than you think and accidentally overdoing it.

@chloroflexus, PM me if you want for a more detailed chat, but that probably covers most of it.
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Team Leader Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Sinister
@Sam Goldner, any thoughts on this related observation? @Ap0c and I were curious as to whether this has a logical explanation....

However, I do also notice that symptoms seem proportional to how quickly I let tension dissipate in the tricep. If I gradually ease the tension by coming through the top 10-20% of the lift very slowly, and then even being careful to shift weight off the limb slowly when I am done with the set, this seems to not produce symptoms. I've had similar experiences with different irritated areas like hip flexors at the top of a squat, and some erector muscles in deadlift variations.
 

Sam Goldner

Level 5 Valued Member
@Sam Goldner, any thoughts on this related observation? @Ap0c and I were curious as to whether this has a logical explanation....
Sorry I missed that.

Don’t know for sure, but my initial thought is it’s most likely causing those muscles to not need to stabilize as much or as rapidly and therefore not need to produce as much force. Slowing down the movement removes the potential for a rapid, ballisticish contraction of surrounding and supporting muscles. Strongfirst like’s to discuss ”irradiation;” think of it as maybe removing some of that.
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Team Leader Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Sinister
Sorry I missed that.

Don’t know for sure, but my initial thought is it’s most likely causing those muscles to not need to stabilize as much or as rapidly and therefore not need to produce as much force. Slowing down the movement removes the potential for a rapid, ballisticish contraction of surrounding and supporting muscles. Strongfirst like’s to discuss ”irradiation;” think of it as maybe removing some of that.
Makes sense! Thanks.
 
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